BIG MACs & TOP TEN LISTS
A leading industry newsletter put out their top ten list of predictions for the utility industry. In no particular order these are:
Regulators and utilities will (continue to) reform business models.
States will lead the clean energy transition.
Federal policy uncertainty is likely to persist.
Utilities continue to push rate design reform.
Distributed Energy Resources proliferation is forcing utility adaptation and policy fights.
Energy storage is maturing into a viable grid-scale resource.
Organized markets are in flux — and nuclear plants are at risk.
Renewables are at grid parity and will continue to grow.
Natural gas growth will continue and could even accelerate.
Coal power could get a second lease on life.
Change takes time—particularly in the utility industry. The industry itself causes the slow churn toward innovation, but rightfully so…utilities have to deal with governments, lobbyists, state regulators, federal regulators, citizen groups, activists, analysts, Wall Street and most importantly…shareholders. The industry is invisible to the consumer—until the lights go out. Unlike other industries, Utilities are the original “Just-In-Time” format. You know right away whether the lights are on or not. Utilities take their fiduciary responsibility very seriously. Equally so, they take their duty as a Public Servant very seriously. When you really think about it, in times of tragic storms, do the unregulated suppliers to your local utility send trucks and people into the community to help during and after a natural disaster? Nope. It’s your local utility: the guys and gals who climb up those poles to fix downed wires, the executives and engineers and sales people and executive assistants who staff emergency outreach centers.
Yes, the list presents BIG issues facing the industry…but like all things, the industry will get through it. Think about generation: nuclear, fossil, wind, solar, hydro, etc. In other countries where base load supply (nuclear and fossil) was shut down completely and who are now dependent on alternative generation (wind, solar, bio-mass, etc.) who is ultimately paying for that? Then take a look at their tax structures for the individual citizen.
When it comes to the list above, a little bit of everything is a good thing. It’s kind of like what you eat. If you only eat processed, fast foods and drink sugary drinks, well, your health will be at risk. BUT, if you balance your diet (and yes, that can even include a Big Mac or two), then your system will be balanced. All things in moderation.
Think about it. What can we do, or better yet, what do we want the industry to bring to us to enable all to have an equal share of this ecosystem?