2021 Utility Trends Ushering in the Energy Cloud

In an article for Energy Central, Guidehouse examines industry forces expected to shape the post-COVID power industry

2021 may prove to be a watershed moment for the utility industry’s evolution as it moves closer to the Energy Cloud and into the post-COVID era.

In an article for Energy Central, Mackinnon Lawrence, leader of Guidehouse Insights and director in Guidehouse’s Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment, said five key trends are expected to significantly impact the trajectory of the power industry this year:

  • A convergence of physical and cyber risks will accelerate efforts to improve resilience.
  • Utilities will find themselves increasingly under the ESG performance microscope.
  • “Green Recovery” is expected, but uncertainty related to the timing and scale of economic recovery will impede the return to normal.
  • A growing focus on integrated energy systems, electrification, and hydrogen initiatives will deepen decarbonization.
  • Consolidation will continue across the broader energy sector.

“Ultimately, we will likely see a more pronounced shift in 2021 away from a centralized, one-way, hub-and-spoke power grid to a far more distributed, two-way, and highly networked Energy Cloud,” he said. “In turn, this will usher in a cleaner and more equitable energy system among stakeholders (including the end consumer). For utilities, this means expanded opportunities to scale new and improved customer journeys across stakeholder platforms like transportation, smart cities, and integrated DER (iDER) networks that will form the backbone of our future energy economy.”

Lawrence added that utilities can and should lead the transition to a more virtual, cleaner, decentralized, and equitable energy future.

“Staying ahead of market shifts will be critical to delivering on this social contract,” he said. “Utilities will need to do so while managing an increase in unplanned costs as well as addressing multifaceted customer demands.”

Read the Energy Central Article

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