Pace of change is causing significant disruption
Jan Vrins is managing director and leader of Navigant’s global energy practice.
We spoke with several utility industry executives at EEI's Annual Convention in San Diego. Despite specific and diverse perspectives, serving customers across the United States and Canada, they all agree: our industry is changing, and the pace of change is causing significant disruption.
Customers are becoming more demanding. They want new and different energy products and services. They want power from clean-energy sources and more resiliency. They want to save energy, and yes, they also still want lower bills and reduced energy costs.
And then there are all the technological advances in wind, solar, storage, electric vehicles, smart-grid sensors and devices, artificial intelligence, big data, drones, and robotics that are changing the way we produce, deliver, and use electricity. Technology is having an impact on our business. It's changing the generation mix to more gas and renewables. It's making our power grid smarter, with more data available to utilities and their customers. Our grid now must be able to manage intermittent renewables and distributed-energy resources, and utilities are the integrators (and orchestrators), delivering more value to their customers, making it all work and optimizing every single part of it, to keep the overall cost down.
All of this is changing our energy markets, regulatory frameworks and rules, and business models that were developed for a past that no longer exists. The future is here, our industry has changed forever. We discussed the electrification of everything, steel for fuel, the future of gas, new business models, changing regulation, innovation, and black swans. Here's what they shared with us — really interesting topics and conversations!
Four Thought-Leaders: Thoughts on Our Future: