Collaboration to Facilitate Research and Education in a Transitioning Electric Power Industry

Dennis Ray, Frank Wayno


The electric supply industry is in transition from its historical objectives, structure,ownership, operating practices, planning processes, and customer services. Since the transition hasno well-defined end-point, it may be thought of as ?end-less.? From this perspective, decision-makersaddressing challenges in the transition should focus on means and processes for finding solutionsin addition to identifying and evaluating possible solutions themselves. By putting greater relianceon collaborative research programs involving the ?triple helix? of industry, universities, andgovernment, synergies can be captured from multi-institution, multi-discipline collaboration forclarifying research needs, and for developing and implementing research plans to address thoseneeds. But collaboration requires attention to interpersonal dynamics among other principles ofeffective collaboration. In this paper, we give examples of collaborative research program structuresand of principles that can help make collaborative programs successful. A case study illustrates howthe collaboration principles can be applied. The paper concludes with comments about issues facingdeveloping countries in using collaborative research. In general, investments in research andeducation are needed along with investments in physical facilities such as ?poles and wires? by allcountries in order to transition each one?s electric power industry in the most beneficial way possiblefor their society.

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