Tech Turmoil Ahead
Mark A. Gabriel is the Administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration. Gabriel authored an award-winning book titled, “Visions for a Sustainable Future” in 2008.
The electric industry is facing yet another new technology movement that is changing the face of the sector. It may mean the ultimate unravelling of the energy world as it has been known.
In a traditional utility SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), the industry has in recent years been focused on traditional worries.
Those include the strength of regulated businesses; the weakness of the economy, resulting in declining electric demand; the opportunities presented by new forms of electric generation and the threat of regulations such as the Clean Power Plan.
An argument can be made that none of these represent long-term impacts on the electricity business and are, in fact, mirages reflecting a bright, glorious past of the most critical industry in the global economy.
A true SWOT analysis would revolve around several currently disconnected but rapidly advancing societal changes that will create a reimagining of the energy enterprise. These changes take the form of alterations in the economic universe that will spread rapidly outward.
Today, these look like bitcoin, Alexa, Nest and Panasonic. Tomorrow, their platforms and offspring may represent most of the electric enterprise in the world.