The top 4 challenges facing utilities next year

What to watch in 2014, from demand growth to distributed generation.

The challenges may vary by region, market and utility model, but four major issues loom large for electric utilities in 2014: a changing resource mix, the rise of distributed generation, the shift toward energy efficiency and weak -- in some cases, negative -- demand growth.

Demand growth has been falling steadily for years on improved efficiency and, more recently, increased distributed generation. The Energy Information Administration expects demand to increase nationally by only 0.9% a year on average through 2040.

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