The power to transform
U.S. power and utilities sector's role in cleantech deployment
Beyond the attention of many observers, America’s clean energy transformation is already well underway, thanks in large part to massive investments by the electric power industry. Utilities have picked up where many venture firms and other investors left off — at the point where technologies already proven in a laboratory setting are ready to be deployed in the market. In 2010, regulated utilities generated an estimated 16.9 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable-based power generation, while unregulated utility-owned generation assets and independently owned generation assets contributed another 122.3 TWh to the U.S. electricity supply. Utilities are the largest investors in smart grid infrastructure, with more than $8 billion in projects in the works, and the industry has contributed both directly and indirectly to the adoption of energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and energy storage technologies.
These investments, which have all transpired in the absence of a federal price on carbon, have helped push clean technologies into new territory. This paper draws on Deloitte’s extensive work with the nation’s top power and utility companies in detailing their investments in major cleantech segments. We take a look at the policies, regulations and other drivers behind these advances. And we highlight some leading practices worth emulating in the coming months and years.