Mar 1, 2018

Regulatory and policy uncertainty biggest concern in power industry

Ben Geman, author of Generate
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Data: Utility Dive survey of approximately 700 self-identified utility employees conducted in Dec. 2017; Chart: Axios Visuals

The publication Utility Dive is out with its big, detailed annual survey of utility employees on the state of the power industry.

Why it's useful: The survey arrives at a time of upheaval in power markets thanks to the rise of new renewables and distributed tech and changes in White House policy. Overall, the survey finds regulatory and policy uncertainty is the biggest concern (40%) of utility professionals.

Here's just one example: The chart above looks at responses to a question on how and whether the government should seek to cut power sector carbon emissions.

  • The precise wording of the questions on what to do with the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (which Trump's EPA is seeking to scuttle) are on page 79.

Demand: The report also notes that a substantial number of respondents — though not a majority — predict a return of rising power demand after years of stagnation or declines.

  • "While most (45%) expect their overall load to remain stagnant, this year more utility professionals expect to see overall growth in load (39%), rather than shrinking load (15%)," it states.

Cybersecurity fears rising: "This year, 81% of utility professionals listed cybersecurity as either important or very important."

  • That's up from 72% in the prior survey. In earlier years, cybersecurity was only fifth or sixth among top concerns.

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