The Future of Energy – a summary

I’ll wrap up this series by saying where I think these trends – the Internet of Things, decarbonisation, structural change , cloud and social media – will take the energy industry:

• The Internet of Things will suffer from hype, standards issues and commercial mis-fires – but it’s going to happen, and it will help us live better, more meaningful, rewarding and secure lives. Energy is at the heart of this vision.

• Once trust has been earned between consumer and energy supplier, smart devices in the home and infrastructure will enable a more decentralised, resilient and adaptive energy market for the nation.

• Together with greater attention to customer engagement, the intelligent energy industry will allow the frayed relationships between suppliers and consumers to heal.

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• The shift from a centralised to a decentralised model will require overall guiding principles and frameworks to ensure access, coverage and fairness.

• Cloud platforms and tools will develop to the level where a utility company could exist solely in the cloud – making the barrier to market entry close to zero.

• Existing energy companies will have to adapt or they will lose out to nimbler SMEs exploiting the cloud to achieve the economies of scale enjoyed by their larger competitors.

• The agile energy company will use social media to create a community focused energy business. The days of one-size-fits-all are coming to an end.

Clearly, this isn’t all going to happen overnight. The cultural and behavioural challenges are as big, if not bigger, than the technical ones. But after years of stagnation, the appetite for change has never been greater, and the prospects for success have never been brighter. That’s great news for an industry that has been in real danger of becoming, like its familiar fuels, fossilised. We don’t have to be stuck in the past – if we get stuck into the future.

 

Photo credit epSos.de on Flickr.

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