In the global power industry, renewable energy continues to emerge strongly, allowing new entrants to compete against larger, established electric utilities. Independent power producers (IPPs) are changing the business construct around electricity distribution, raising the question of how the traditional market driven by major utilities will evolve, especially regarding their generation portfolio, resiliency, and handling of outages.

Power generation has traditionally been an open market but reflecting the scale and costs that existed in the past, nuclear and coal often prevailed because they generated lots of electricity at a lower cost. Traditional models also depended heavily on transmission systems requiring large centralized generators to move power.

Today, renewable energy is front and center, fundamentally changing how we generate and distribute power. Renewables are being generated at costs less than or equal to conventional generation, allowing them to reach grid parity and trigger change within traditional utility business models. 

IPPs–municipalities, aggregators, “clusters,” and the like–are creating their own energy networks at greater scale, with renewable energy at the core. They aren’t seeking to do anything different from previously, which is to secure a satisfactory return on their shareholders’ investment. What IPPs have demonstrated is an ability to maximize returns by combining the right people and skillsets and being able to adapt quickly.