Experts at Rocky Mountain Institute are excited about the progress that has been made during the last year. Innovation in electricity is moving fast, and has some exciting moments still ahead. Here, they share not only these milestones for 2017, but the challenges that it could face.

For the past five years, Rocky Mountain Institute has been convening and supporting the Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab), a unique network of leaders and change agents from across the electricity industry representing a cross-section of the key stakeholders who are shaping the transformation of our electricity system. With utilities, regulators, distributed energy resource companies, energy consumers, advocates, and academic experts collaborating together, eLab really is a laboratory: a place to test new ideas and to explore new solutions.

We surveyed those eLab members about their most exciting opportunities -- and their critical challenges -- in 2017. Eight key issues emerged.

  1. Distributed energy resource (DER) valuation and rate design
  2. Electric vehicles as a grid asset
  3. Alternative capital planning
  4. Utility business models in vertically integrated states
  5. Distribution system operations and markets
  6. DER control schemes: Coordination or chaos?
  7. Customer engagement
  8. DERs for low- and moderate-income customers
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