Professor: Power needs will require new models
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Maintaining an adequate supply of electricity across the nation's power grid in coming decades will require new models for the generation, transmission, distribution and consumption of electricity, a Carnegie Mellon University professor said yesterday.
Citing the growing complexity of the electricity industry in the face of deregulation, increasing consumption and concerns for pollution, Marija Ilic called for "novel engineering, regulatory and financial solutions for providing energy service."
Ms. Ilic, a professor in Engineering and public policy, electrical and computer engineering, was one of more than a dozen presenters in the first day of a two-day conference at CMU focused on how the electric industry can continue to meet consumer demand for the next 30 years. In her presentation, she offered a vision in which the current regulatory environment, based on scheduling supply to meet demand, is replaced by one in which both supply and demand have costs assigned to them, and in which well-informed consumers can make choices based on "trade-offs."
For example, she said that in time customers may be able to choose the level of reliability that they desire in their electric service.
While one customer may demand perpetually uninterrupted service, another may be willing to have occasional interruptions of service, if that means paying a cheaper price.
"If you pay 10 cents per kilowatt hour instead of 15 cents, that's a big difference," she said.
First Published March 14, 2007 12:00 am