The North American power and gas markets are undergoing an accelerating evolution driven by increasing regulation, new and emergent technologies, and a persistent surplus of natural gas brought about by the “shale revolution.” The transformation from a coal-centric power market to one reliant upon renewables and natural gas for baseload power generation has had profound operational and commercial implications for both the electricity and natural gas markets.
Much of the change that has emerged has been catalyzed by regulation at the federal, regional and state levels, including emissions/greenhouse gas regulation and renewable portfolio standards. These regulatory mandates have been largely answered by technology – cheaper and more efficient solar and wind generation, abundant sources of natural gas from long-reach lateral drilling and massive hydraulic fracturing, smart grid technologies that improve grid efficiency and reliability, and more efficient industrial and consumer appliances that reduce system load. In aggregate, these changes have had massive and ongoing impacts across the energy industry in the US, increasing complexity of operations and affecting the business models of many of its participants.
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Source: CTRM Center