Prior to the 1970s, the U.S. electric power industry was technology driven. Engineers were trained to focus on specific technologies and work in specialized areas. However, dramatic changes began taking place in the 1970s, and an “energy crisis” ushered in a new era of tighter regulation. By the early 1990s, two decades of intense regulation were replaced by a new policy of promoting open access and competition.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, followed by several significant Notices of Proposed Rulemakings and Orders from the U.S. Federal Energy Commission, required utilities to compete for markets that were previously guaranteed. As a consequence, there were many mergers and acquisitions. Marketers with little or no power industry experience moved into positions of influence.
Engineering organizations were downsized, and the engineers who were left behind had to find ways to prevent power systems from becoming less reliable. Today the transition in industry structure is nearly complete. The U.S. electric power industry is no longer technology driven. It is public policy and market driven.
Just as utility companies have to change to survive in the new competitive environment, engineers who choose to work in the industry must learn a new set of skills and accommodate new disciplines. This book is intended to help educate new engineers for the new business environment. We explain how new methods for power systems operations and energy marketing relate to public policy, regulation, economics, and engineering science.
This book can serve as a textbook for an undergraduate elective course for engineering students. Alternatively, it can be used for the continuing education of industrial power engineers and energy industry employees.
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