Orchestration in the Energy Cloud
Mackinnon Lawrence is a research director leading Navigant Research’s Energy Technologies and Utility Transformations programs. Jan Vrins is the global Energy practice leader at Navigant.
As utilities stare down multiple threats to core business and revenue streams, innovation has emerged as a key area of focus. Multiple new energy opportunities to grow customer and shareholder value are emerging.
In a survey for Public Utility Fortnightly's recent State & Future of the Power Industry report (July 2017), "market new energy and products and services" and "radically improve ability to innovate" were among the top-ranked transformations utilities should develop to prepare for sustained growth through 2030.
Utilities have innovated for decades in their traditional core business. But how best to pursue these new energy opportunities, and more importantly, embrace agile innovation principles to capture new value streams, remains a difficult challenge for a utility model that was originally designed to deliver universal access to electricity across the country.
Today, the economies-of-scale, steel-in-the ground, one-way delivery model is fading. In its place, a highly distributed, networked, dynamic, and more virtual energy ecosystem, in some respects, is emerging. In this new ecosystem, performance and choice command a premium.
At Navigant, we call this the Energy Cloud. Within the Energy Cloud, clean, distributed, intelligent, and mobile energy will dominate, while safe, reliable, and affordable power remains an ongoing requirement.