by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, phone service meant one thing – the service delivered by my local Bell company through copper lines connected to my house. Ask any millennial what a Bell company is and they will probably look at you with a blank face. Arguably, kids born today will have the same look when their millennial parents talk to them about the electric and gas utility company.
With the growth of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, demand side management, and customer-owned storage; the potential growth of a substantial new load in electric vehicles; and third parties such as Apple, Google, and Tesla tinkering with ideas of offering customer-oriented energy services, new business and regulatory paradigms likely will arise. The old business models that have worked for the last 100 years likely will not be sufficient to maintain success in the future, and utilities that survive will be radically transformed. Here is a graphic that we use in some of our seminars to describe potential futures for utilities:
In times full of change, it is wise to consider multiple sources when formulating ideas on what the future might look like. Below we have gathered some good discussion from eminent industry thinkers. By reading these, you can start formulating your thoughts on what the future may look like for energy services.
- The Grid is at a Fork in the Road
- Will Distributed Energy End the Utility Natural Monopoly?
- Who Do You Want to Provide Your Energy Services in the Future?
- Back to the Future, What Role Will Utilities Play in 2030?
- How Should We Structure Performance-based Regulation of Utilities?
In reading these various perspectives, some key trends emerge. Future customers will expect very different services from what they get today, technologies will radically change the nature of electric generation and delivery, new players will be offering energy services directly to consumers, and entities that deliver services will make money in a different way from today’s cost-of-service utilities. We will continue exploring these trends in future blogs and in various Enerdynamics’ seminars.