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Utilities face a host of rapid changes in a what used to be a staid business: new business models, changing supply and demand forecasts, new distributed architectures, new types of resources, new participants in the power grid that they don’t control…yet they still must maintain a highly reliable power grid that operates within fairly narrow parameters.

Meanwhile, difficult questions remain to be solved, about how we’re going to manage our grid power transition, who the winners and losers will be, what destination we’re headed for, what role consumers and “prosumers” will play in the future, and what our reasons are for executing transition the way we do.

We tackle all of these issues in this wide-ranging, very geeky conversation about the “blocks and squiggles” of the grid of the future. Grid power transition, the rebound effect, energy efficiency, utility business models, cutting-edge grid power management considerations, regulation and rate design, electric vehicles as distributed energy resources… they’re all here.

Geek rating: 10

Guest: Eric Gimon is an active researcher and policy adviser on the power sector transformation to a clean, reliable and affordable low-carbon future. His career path has spanned 15 years of researching quantum gravity and high energy physics at some of the world’s top research institutions, to work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley, to an AAAS fellowship with the Department of Energy, and finally to a personal transition to climate and energy policy. Eric is currently a Senior Fellow with Energy Innovation: an energy and environmental consulting NGO. His interests and writing cover everything from residential energy management systems to large grids and wholesale electricity markets.

On Twitter: : @EricGimon

On the Web: Eric’s writing on power sector transformation at Energy Innovation

Recording date: May 27, 2016

Air date: June 29, 2016


Eric Gimon, Greentech Media: “Texas Regulators Saved Customers Billions by Avoiding a Traditional Capacity Market” (June 10, 2016)

Eric Gimon, Greentech Media: “Is the Transmission Grid Ready for Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources?” (Apr 6, 2016)

Eric Gimon and Sonia Aggarwal, Greentech Media: “2016 Is the Year for Wholesale Power Market Reform” (Jan 27, 2016)

Eric Gimon and Michael O’Boyle, America’s Power Plan: “The Future of Demand Response” (Oct 23, 2015)

Eric Gimon and Sonia Aggarwal, America’s Power Plan: “Are Policymakers Driving Blind with Yesterday’s Cost Numbers?” (Jun 1, 2015)

Eric Gimon, Robbie Orvis, Sonia Aggarwal et al., America’s Power Plan: “What Can We Learn From Evolving Renewable Contracts and Grid Operations?” (Mar 23, 2015)

Tim Buckley, IEEFA: “15.5% Drop in China Coal Production Shows Transition Gaining Speed” (Jun 13, 2016)

Chris Nelder, James Newcomb, Garrett Fitzgerald, RMI: “Electric Vehicles as Distributed Energy Resources” (Jun 15, 2016)

Chris Nelder, RMI: “It’s Time to Plan for Electric Vehicles on the Grid” (Jun 15, 2016)

Chris Nelder, RMI: “EVs Charge Ahead with New Technologies and Business Models” (Jun 21, 2016)

Paul Denholm, Erik Ela, Brendan Kirby and Michael Milligan, NREL: “The Role of Energy Storage with Renewable Electricity Generation” (Jan 2010)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “Tesla’s SolarCity Eclipse” (Jun 21, 2016)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “The Tesla-SolarCity Vision Collision” (Jun 22, 2016)

Brad Plumer, Vox: “California is on the verge of closing its last nuclear plant. Is that really a good idea?” (Jun 21, 2016)

Amory Lovins, Forbes: “Closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Will Save Money And Carbon” (Jun 22, 2016)

Chris Nelder, Quartz: “The real reason to fight nuclear power has nothing to do with health risks” (Jun 17, 2013)

Chris Nelder, SmartPlanet: “Nuclear’s swan SONGS” (Jun 12, 2013)

Photo credit: By YellowForester – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,