Seeking a Balanced Definition of Sustainability: Observations from DNV KEMA 2012 Utility of the Future Forum

by Don McDonnell

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The word sustainability is derived from the Latin word sustinere, meaning “to hold up.” To any utility executive who has experienced the frustration of seeing proposed power plants and transmission lines delayed  by environmental impact reviews, it’s tempting to translate sustainability more as a “hold up” to energy plans than an “up holding” of them.   During the 5th Annual DNV KEMA Utility of the Future conference, this traditionally adversarial view of sustainability was set aside in favor of a holistic re-examination of what sustainability means for all utility stakeholders and society.

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