Preparing Your Workforce for the Future of The Energy Company
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
In our recent blog The Future of the Energy Company: Challenging but Exciting we wrote:
“Energy companies are on the precipice of disruption in their traditional ways of doing business. In some regions such as California, Hawaii, New York, and Germany the transition is already underway. In others, energy companies are working diligently to prepare for what they know is coming. The disruption has potential to be a negative force eating away at an ever-shrinking slice of the industry or to be an opportunity to reformulate an expanding new business model.”
So what does this mean for you as a training professional? You must figure out how to prepare your company’s workforce for a future that is increasingly digital, decentralized, low carbon, and customized. We represent the coming changes through the following infographic (click to download):
Let’s discuss what each of these key future utility trends means:
With the advent of smart meters, low-cost sensors, intelligent devices, and wide-spread communications systems, energy companies need to start thinking of themselves as technology companies rather than just energy companies. Utilities will require three areas of expertise – power or gas systems, communications systems, and data management. Skills sets must be developed for success in the areas of communications and data management while capabilities in delivery systems are maintained.
Electric grids were built based on the century-old paradigm of one-way flow from the transmission system through the distribution substation and distribution circuits to customers. With the rise of distributed energy resources (DERs) transmission and distribution system planning and operations will undergo significant changes to integrate renewables and DERs. This will include the need for planning and operations to evolve, but also for customer-facing employees to be prepared for new questions and demands from customers.
Even in states without strong policy encouraging utilities and generators to move to less carbon-intensive generation sources, simple economics are moving more and more companies to close or reduce run hours for coal and even gas units in favor of low-cost wind and solar resources. All grids must successfully integrate renewable energy resources. Everyone in planning and operations will need to be prepared for changing paradigms associated with variable renewable resources.
Customers are increasingly choosing to become more active energy consumers. This includes participation in demand side management programs, choosing to invest in rooftop solar and electric vehicles, and even choosing to install behind-the-meter electric storage. They are also being approached by retailers eager to sell smart home and internet-of-things technologies. While this effect may not be seen much yet in many regions, workforces need to be prepared for consumers who will soon desire to be active energy prosumers (both consumers and producers). They will look for energy companies who can help enable their use of the evolving technologies and service opportunities through offerings that are customized to their specific situation. Think Amazon-style service for energy offerings.
For energy companies to be successful, they will need to develop a new workforce with the skills to manage evolution to the future. All training professionals in the energy industry should be spending time ensuring that their programs are focused on preparing the workforce for tomorrow's energy business.
Interesting in providing a seminar that allows your workforce to become familiar with coming industry changes and to explore how they will impact their workgroup? Enerdynamics offers The Future of the Utility: Evolving Customers, Changing Technology, Revised Regulation, New Business Models, and Growing Opportunities, which can be customized to you specific company needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-765-5432 ext. 700.