Top five trends for utilities industry to watch in 2020

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Research firm Deloitte has released its 2020 Power and Utilities Industry Outlook which explores paths to transformation by energy providers in the US.

Scott Smith, Deloitte’s US Power & Utilities Leader, said the top five trends to watch in 2020 for the electric power industry, include:

  • Power and utility companies are likely to raise the bar on climate change goals

Companies across industries are assessing their environmental, social and governance commitments and in 2020 utilities will continue to raise the bar on carbon emissions reduction goals.

2020 US renewable energy market trends

  • Rising state renewable portfolio standards and corporate carbon reduction goals are spurring new opportunities for utilities to create value from distributed energy resources.
  • Utilities will explore new transactive business models, for example using blockchain, to incentivise customer participation and boost grid flexibility.
  • The participation of utilities in smart city programmes will increase as they seek to create value for their customers, communities and shareholders, as well as avoid losing opportunities to nontraditional suppliers.
  • Utilities will increase their investments in electric vehicles charging infrastructure and analytical solutions to better integrate EVs and grid demand response strategies.

2019 trends

  1. Natural gas dominated the US power generation mix – 44% against wind and solar which accounted for 12% of the US’ total energy capacity.
  2. Cyber risk, scrutiny from regulators, natural disasters—will continue into the new decade.
  3. Utilities’ multiyear pattern of record-breaking capital expenditures continued as firms invested in upgrading ageing infrastructure, digitisation and in securing the grid against natural and manmade disasters.
  4. The rush to deploy battery storage at grid-scale and behind-the-meter surged as battery costs fell sharply.
  5. The federal government continued to roll back environmental rules such as the Clean Power Plan, while many state and local governments reinforced their support for clean energy.
  6. Coordination with electric utilities has been identified by consumers as their top enabler in moving to clean energy resources.

The full report is available for download here

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.