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The future of the electric utility industry: Opportunities for power engineering education

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1 Author(s)
Montoya, A.H. ; Western Area Power Adm., Lakewood, CO

Opportunities for power engineering education in the future will largely depend on the future of the electric utility industry. The industry is currently in a transition, from organizational structures that arose in the midst of an industrial age, to completely new structures. In a post-industrial future, the constitution of these new electric utility industry structures will be determined by societal, technological, institutional and environmental drivers. These drivers are shaping the electric utility industry such that in the future, the homogeneous vertically integrated natural monopoly of the past could give way to segmentation and specialization. The new structures will allow innovation to flourish, will require considerable breadth of knowledge to coordinate activities and will require specialized technical knowledge. This environment will create opportunities for power engineering education as innovation drives the need for research, specialization drives a need for power engineering specialists, and segmentation creates a need for generalists with broad skill sets. This paper discusses the drivers behind change in the electric utility industry, suggests segmentation and specialization as an alternative to the traditional vertically integrated natural monopoly, and explores the opportunities that an innovative, segmented and specialized industry could present for power engineering education.

Published in:

Power and Energy Society General Meeting - Conversion and Delivery of Electrical Energy in the 21st Century, 2008 IEEE

Date of Conference:

20-24 July 2008

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