An Unstoppable US Energy Transition

In an article for Public Utilities Fortnightly, Guidehouse says industry forces are propelling progress, but a new administration could accelerate the pace

An intensifying focus on decarbonization, resiliency, technology, and customer preference is driving the energy transition globally, including across the US. However, as the country prepares for a new president, the pace of the transition has the potential to pick up.

In an article for Public Utilities Fortnightly, Jan Vrins, leader of Guidehouse’s global Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment, says while the energy transition’s drivers are unstoppable, the federal government also plays a major role in game changers that could further accelerate the pace of the energy transition.

“Federal investment and support for game changers to reach market parity and scale has shown significant impact in the past, for example with solar and wind technologies and storage,” he said.

This time around, potential game changers include new energy infrastructure investments, offshore wind, renewable gas, and integrated distributed energy resources (iDER).

“Under a Biden administration, the clean energy system is expected to transform faster with a push toward 100% clean energy generation, zero emission vehicles, and more efficient buildings and industrial operations,” Vrins said. “But many of these goals can only be achieved with the production of renewable gas at scale and the innovative integration of gas and electricity networks, so we at Guidehouse expect a significant amount of focus and investment into these areas.”

Pathways forward under the Biden administration are expected to include a commitment of $400 billion toward clean energy and innovation over 10 years. Vrins said achieving Biden’s significant clean energy goals will require:

  • Advanced clean energy policy thinking
  • Cross sector governance and collaboration
  • Innovative energy regulation and business models
  • Holistic, regional, system design of the energy infrastructure of the future, including all energy carriers (electrons and molecules)
  • People and skill development, including training and reallocation of the US workforce
  • Public-private partnerships, supported by regulatory, business, and financial models that will unlock the vast available capital

To position for success, Guidehouse recommends utilities launch or continue with the following no-regrets strategies:

  • Define a low carbon trajectory with clear and concrete milestones toward 2025 and 2050
  • Accelerate the design and implementation of our future energy system
  • Work together with best-in-class partners to tackle the complexity of the challenges ahead
Read the Public Utilities Fortnightly Article

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