The utility industry has been the poster child for centralized intelligence and control for over a century. Even today the modern control center could serve as a prop in a James Bond flick where the bad guy is monitoring and controlling global events. But all that is changing, what with smart grid, greater distributed generation, cooperating microgrids, and enterprise-wide access to data. As the system gets smarter the smarts get distributed and there seems to be no limit to the evolution and dissolution of centralized intelligence and control. Or, is that really an overstatement?
From a system theoretical standpoint we know that not all assets are created equal. Take generation – you can't compare the impact of large baseload with small solar. Or events – a distribution fault doesn't compare with a transmission intertie outage. So the limit of fully distributed intelligence and control doesn't make sense unless distributed IT and telecom assets can be teamed and the tasks prioritized. And the orchestration of that process in itself requires some degree of centralization. (Your comments are also invited below.)