2019, Predictions, IBM report predictions for utility industry

A new year brings with it a sense of renewal and opportunity, a feeling that anything is possible and that the trails and tribulations of the year passed are just that – in the past. Along with this sense of opportunity is a feeling of anticipation that better things are just around the corner. We spoke with a number of industry experts to get some of their insights into what 2019 may deliver. Here are some of their predictions for the year ahead:

Frauke Thies, executive director, smartEn

Generally I would say customer centricity and consumers playing a new role. If we look specifically at the year 2019 it will be the year when hopefully Europe has adopted its clean energy package, meaning we will see the implementation of a new market design and if that goes well, then we will finally see an overhaul in the change of incentive structures for system operators. We will hopefully see markets opening to decentralised resources, not just centralised generation but actually allowing storage and demand response. We will hopefully also see a framework for service providers to enter the system with fair conditions.

Phil Beecher, president & chief executive officer, Wi-SUN Alliance

We’re going to see far more standards based on interoperable technology. WiSUN has been supporting the idea of multi-service networks. So you don’t have a network just for smart metering or just for street lights; the network technology should be there for everything and you have different applications running on that platform.

Another thing that will happen in 2019 is going to be the integration of distribution automation with smart metering, an increase in edge computing in order to integrate renewables onto the grid and all of this relies on flexible communication.

Alexander Lewis-Jones, product manager, EV, Delta-ee

There is going to be increased consolidation. The trend of big utilities and oil companies getting in on the act. We have seen the likes of Total, Shell and BP doing so in various countries across the world. That’s an exciting trend.

There will be increased partnerships as well. So we may see an EDF or EON partnering with various charging partners in their countries. Looking at the new technology front, we need to start looking at others coming into play. Wireless technology is something that we seem to think is a long way off, but actually I think there will be a lot of innovative projects coming in 2019 that will focus on wireless, which will drive a lot of hype around that as well.

Sandra Trittin, co-founder and head of business development and marketing, Tiko Energy Solutions

I see two topics coming up. One is the topic of e-mobility. Electric cars are increasingly coming into the market, followed by the need for charging stations; and then it’s about how to balance the grid with all the charging stations and the cars being connected.

The other topic is security. We interconnect everything – we connect batteries, wind and solar farms and cars – but how do we connect it in a secure way? The topic of security will be, and has to be, more important for next year.

What we are seeing now and next year as well is more and more women coming into the industry, especially in leadership positions.

You can read more predictions in edition 1-2019 of Smart Energy International later this month, or read some of our past editions here

You can also watch our video on 2019 predictions here