The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis requested a baseline analysis of the electric power sector. The electric baseline analysis in this report is focused on transmission, distribution, and storage (TDS) infrastructure. However, a complete picture of the country’s electric power system must also address the status of the generation and end-use infrastructure, which in turn influences the needs and future development of the TDS system, as well as the market and regulatory structure in which the system operates.

This Background section of the electric power sector baseline includes an overview of generation and end-use infrastructure (in addition to transmission, distribution, and storage) and of the institutional and regulatory environment shaping infrastructure decisions. We also address the macro-level trends that have the potential to transform the requirements of the TDS infrastructure, as well as evolving business models that may change how firms serving this sector meet those requirements. Subsequent sections will examine the transmission, distribution, and storage functions and infrastructure in more depth.

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