The energy industry is in the midst of a dramatic transformation as it reevaluates and reconfigures the way that it generates, stores, and distributes electricity. Energy demand worldwide increases by 2% each year as our global culture becomes more energy-dependent. Meanwhile, mounting concern over CO2 emissions, fossil fuel usage, and sustainability have made necessary new technologies and renewable energy sources. This movement is shifting energy policies, business models, and distribution structures.
What will the energy landscape of the future look like? We’ve asked energy professionals to share their perspectives and forecasts.Electric grids are evolving rapidly, disrupted by regulatory changes, distributed generation, renewable portfolio standards, and evolving technology. Energy storage is uniquely positioned at the heart of all of this change. Download Greensmith Energy's White Paper to learn more about improving economics and demystifying energy storage systems.
Danielle Marquis leads the AM Conservation Group, Service Concepts, and GoodCents marketing teams. She is also the vice chair of education for the Association of Energy Services Professionals. We’re honored to share her insights here, in an effort to initiate forward-thinking conversation and serve as a catalyst for intelligent solutions.
Distributed Energy (DE): What will the energy landscape of the future look like?
Danielle Marquis (DM): We’ll see more integration between energy efficiency (EE), demand response (DR), and water conservation programs at the program design and implementation level. Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) will also be integrated into the grid to improve reliability and give customers more choice about where their energy comes from. This will ultimately make it easier for customers to participate in these programs and provide more savings, while incentivizing cleaner energy sources. We’ll see the end of program siloes.
DE: What are the indications that this is the direction the industry will take?
DM: Integrated Demand-Side Management (IDSM) has been gaining traction in select states for several years now. California, being a leader in DSM and a state dealing with drought conditions, is beginning to develop programs that include EE, DR, and water conservation. I anticipate other leading states following suit over time, especially those dealing with their own drought conditions, or even specific utilities where water billing is done through the electric or gas utility. Likewise, states like NY are leading the way in integrated DERs through the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative.
DE: What industry trends are you noticing?
DM: We’re seeing more of a focus on the customer experience and the use of DSM programs to strengthen the utility brand. Customers who participate in EE or DR programs often have a more favorable impression of the utility; this is good for the utility brand.
DE: What policy changes are needed to support this transition?
DM: State policies that incentivize EE and cleaner energy sources will help utilities continue to invest in these areas. Regulatory environments that allow the utility to focus on the customer when designing programs will also facilitate this transition.
DE: What technologies will facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources?
DM: From a customer perspective, we see smart home continuing to expand in the market, with these systems being a logical place for utilities to integrate and not only promote EE and DR programs, but also offer products for purchase with instant rebates and allow customers to select where their energy comes from.