This piece was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of electroindustry.
Kevin J. Cosgriff, NEMA President and CEO
As highlighted in this issue, where and how we get our power is changing. We still rely on large power plants, but rooftop solar panels, wind farms, and other sources are emerging in the market. Members of the NEMA Utility Products & Systems Division expect that this model of more distributed generation closer to where power is consumed—along the edge of the network, rather than central power plants—is the evolving norm.
Over the past decade, several utilities and commissions across the United States invested in new grid technologies, tools, and techniques to accommodate these resources and to modernize the electrical grid. While such efforts promise substantial benefits for utilities, customers, and society as a whole in the long term, they come with a big price tag that can, at least in the short term, increase rates.
NEMA recognizes the importance of sharing the grid modernization experience gained by early-adopter utilities and jurisdictions. Throughout this issue of electroindustry, we have scratched the surface of grid modernization. We have defined grid modernization broadly, from technologies, tools, and techniques to applications like upgrading the existing grid and the experience of grid users.
While most utilities are enthusiastic about undertaking modernization projects, the need for cost recovery of such investments has prompted some jurisdictions to revisit their existing regulatory models and consider alternatives. For more on this, I direct you to the NEMA report Reviewing the Business Case and Cost Recovery for Grid Modernization Investments.
Throughout 2019, we will take a systems approach to the industry by focusing in turn on one of each of our seven Divisions. I encourage NEMA Members to submit articles related to these broad topics listed below, and I urge our supply chain partners to take advantage of our advertising opportunities.