F&ES 816b / 2015-2016

Electric Utilities: an Industry in Transition

Credits: 3

Spring 2016: Tu, 4:00-6:50, Sage 24
Spring OCI Listing    

The US electric utility industry is a $370 billion business with capital expenditures on the order of $100 billion per year to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­replace aging infrastructure, implement new technologies, and meet new regulatory requirements.  A reliable electricity infrastructure is essential for the US economy and the health and safety of its citizens.  The electric industry also has a significant impact on the environment.  In the US, electric power generation is responsible for about 40 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas.  Electric utilities in the U.S. are at a crossroads.  Technological innovations, improving economics, and regulatory incentives provide a transformational opportunity to implement demand-side resources and distributed energy technologies that will both lower emissions and improve service to customers.  Such significant changes could, however, disrupt existing utility business models and therefore may not be fully supported by incumbent utilities.  This course will focus on the issues, challenges, risks, and trade-offs associated with moving the US utility industry toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Throughout the course we will explore how utilities are regulated and how economic factors and regulatory policies influence outcomes and opportunities to align customer, environmental, and utility shareholder interests to craft win-win-win solutions. 
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