I'm in Eugene, Oregon today to give the keynote presentation at the conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Eugene Water and Electricity Board. The gist of my message is that as impressive as progress has been in the past century it will pale in comparison to what is coming in the next two decades.
One of the big challenges facing the utility industry is the idea that they will need to unlearn their ideas of what the utility grid of the future looks like as well as the role their customers will play in the creation of energy in the near future.
To this end, take a look at the image above. It is the "microgrid dream house." This vision hasn't yet been achieved but if you study emerging technologies as I do, it is clear solar cells, micro wind turbines, fuel cells, insulation, batteries and smart meters are all going to continue to improve.
Personally, I believe they are going to continue to improve to the point where many people will opt to disconnect from the grid because they can safely, cheaply and sustainably produce and store their own electricity.