Challenges facing the Electricity Industry

Transition to electricity generation by renewable energy sources is posing not only new opportunities as well as challenges to the electricity industry. The workshop will discuss obstacles for renewable-energy development in different countries.


Electricity industry has been in transition since the early 1990s. In the first two decades, the transition focused on restructuring the industry through ownership reform (via commercialisation and corporatisation), structural reform (via unbundling and creating an electricity market), and regulatory reform. Since the early 2000s, development of renewable sources of electricity generation has been gaining greater momentum across developed and developing countries, initially driven by energy security concerns, and increasingly by a growing desire to reduce electricity production- and consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions, and by technological advances. Rapid expansion of renewable sources of electricity generation presents some serious, and sometimes even disruptive, challenges for the industry and its key players.

Challenges have been recognized in the following aspects of the electricity transition into the 21st century, especially for all the traditional utility companies – those that engage in generation and distribution, and/or those in transmission and distribution, and not only those affected by renewable generation:

1.The existing electricity system, current policies for the industry and the challenges the industry and the society face – it requires a brief discussion of the industry structure and policies that provide an institutional structure within which utilities operate, and that present specific challenges, which can be political, economic or technical.

2.Economic transformation in the electricity industry – who invests and who pays – countries have different renewable policies that pose different challenges to the electricity industry and also provide different incentive structures for the utilities to work out their strategies in managing this transition.

3.Technical demands – integration of renewables requires technological transformation in generation, grids, storage and demand-side managements.

4.Public policy – public demand for and acceptance of electricity transition, and the pressures government faces in managing this transition.

In the two-day workshop organized by KAS RECAP, experts in the electricity industry from eight countries namely Australia, Britain, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Sweden will discuss these challenges in the countries and provide a comparison, given they are large and small, developed and developing countries, countries with and without resources. An edited book and a journal are expected to be produced at the end of the workshop.

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Hong Kong


  • Prof. Andreas Oberheitmann
    • Professor of German-Sino School for Business and Technology of FOM University of Applied Science
  • Prof. Yi-Chong Xu
    • Professor of Griffith University
  • Dr. Peter Hefele
    • Director KAS RECAP


Challenges for Electricity Industry in an Age of Renewable Energies
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Renewables and Electricity Transition to the 21st Century