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Energy Currents
A Blog by Enerdynamics

Imagining the Future Energy World

by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator

Unlike the Star Wars movies that begin “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” the true story of the future energy world may best be introduced as “Very soon right in your own neighborhood…”

Let’s Envision a Future That is Coming to the Energy World Quickly:

  • Robust distributed energy resource (DER) technologies installed behind customer meters are readily available and are economic compared to purchasing energy supply.
  • Gas and electric grids are fully digitized and power sometimes flows from the substation to the meter as it does today, but at other times it flows from the customer premises back through the distribution substation and onto the transmission system.
  • Consumers wanting higher levels of reliability than the standard grid offers may join microgrids that can function when connected to and when isolated from the larger grid.  Energy companies may also create microgrids to serve remote communities or provide higher levels of service in vulnerable areas.
  • The gas grid is well on its way to become decarbonized by delivering a fuel consisting of a natural gas mix and an increasing amount of hydrogen generated by excess renewable power.
  • The gas and electric grids have become networks that not only deliver gas molecules and electrons but also provide integrated communications capabilities and data management. 
  • The value of grid and consumer data has become greater than the value of molecules and electrons.
  • Electric usage surges with electrification of transportation, building heating, and industrial processes.
  • The norm of the utility providing gas and electric supply has become a thing of the past as customers can now purchase from retail service providers, community groups, or can generate their own power.
  • Homes are designed to provide easy control of energy usage and to allow consumers to become suppliers of services to the grid. Customers who choose to participate transition from consumers to prosumers who sometimes provide supply and other times purchase it.
  • Combining solar with low-cost battery storage allows customers to choose to disconnect themselves from the grid entirely, but most decide to stay connected to have access to various benefits of grid connectivity.
  • Many new service providers enter the market and design new service amenities that are no longer focused on just buying gas or electricity.
  • Each meter has its own unique hourly energy price associated with the value of energy at that specific point on the grid, and blockchain technologies coupled with revised regulations allow customers to trade energy services with each other through easy-to-use apps.
  • Finally, utility distribution companies no longer have dominance in providing energy services. Instead many consumers look to companies like Tesla, Amazon, Google, or energy service providers such as Direct Energy or Shell Energy Services for their energy needs.
  • But the utility distribution companies still provide and maintain a safe reliable platform necessary to delivery the variety of services available.

As this new world unfolds, energy company employees are key to driving the transition. They must continually update their skills while energy companies must strive to provide appropriate learning resources.

Want to dig deeper into what the future may hold for the energy business? Enerdynamics’ live seminar Future of the Utility is an excellent opportunity for groups small or large to get a better understanding of what the utility business can expect in terms of evolving customers, changing technology, revised regulation, new business models, and growing opportunities. Call 866-765-5432 ext. 700 or email for details.


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