Ed’s note: What will have our attention in 2021


One of our most-read stories thus far in December is Top 5 growth opportunities in the energy & environment industry for 2021. Naturally, my mind turned to where our focus for the next year will be and I wanted to share some of the topics we think will be of importance over the next 12 months.

The energy transition is, without a doubt, a key focus area in 2021, but it is so far reaching, that we have decided to consider the following as part of the transition – considering how each of these will contribute to the transition.

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Grid edge and beyond

Referring to the interface between utility and consumer – this also includes all the multitude of connected devices which are facilitating connections to buildings, homes, electric vehicles. Operations such as load balancing, generation flexibility, virtual power plants, integration of renewable energy and building performance management. In particular, we will consider the impact of the 2020 pandemic on grid edge investment and growth and share insights into what 2021 is likely to deliver.

Data democratisation

The question of who owns your data, who has access to it, how that access is to be facilitated and how to ensure seamless data integration into a variety of ecosystems is one of the considerations being brought to the fore by the European Commissions strategy for data. The strategy “will ensure that more data becomes available for use in the economy and society while keeping companies and individuals who generate the data in control.” What data will stakeholders in the energy ecosystem require and how will this be facilitated?


Not a new item on our list, but one that has been brought into the limelight this year as utilities have had to rethink how they work and embrace remote operations in a way they’ve never had to before.

From supply chains to the new normal of working from home – cybersecurity is one of those ‘I know it’s important but is it really’ topics that seem to veer from being (completely?) boring to alarmist and predicting the Apocolypse. We will, however, consider cybersecurity from the supply chain, from the perspective of network protection and highlight some clever ‘people first’ strategies that may be worth considering for your cybersecurity strategy.

Grid resilience

Resilience in the face of increasingly severe weather, wild fires or floods are not the only considerations. As DERs increase, the need for robust grids has never been as real. Our focus will be very much on the consequences of these contributing factors and what risk mitigation factors should be considered as a result.

We welcome your input [email us at editorial@smart-energy.com] into our focus areas and into other areas you feel would be worth considering. We’d also love to hear what your predictions for 2021 are as they related to the sector, the technologies of importance, the big ‘buzz’ for the year ahead and the critical elements we must remember which underpin the sector.

Get in touch, challenge our perspectives – or agree with them – and keep well.

Until next time,