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Stimulating Electric Utility Innovation

By Phill Feltham

Calling utilities and regulators to move forward with new ideas

A significant regulatory barrier stands in the way of innovation in Canada’s gas and electric utility sectors. Current regulatory practices were designed for existing and relatively low-risk technologies rather than innovative new technologies and services. A new report entitled “Stimulating Innovation on Behalf of Canada’s Electricity and Natural Gas Consumers”, which was prepared for the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), discusses the current state of energy innovation.

Moreover, this paper provides recommendations for how utilities can collaborate on energy innovation, and what new regulatory mechanisms could incent innovation more effectively. The very nature of innovation is that it involves higher risks than the technologies currently in place. This issue’s Just the Facts provides some key points from this study.

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