Results of primary research conducted among 200 energy leaders by DNV GL (formerly DNV KEMA, GL and Garrad Hassan) announced during the recent Utility of the Future Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., reveal that utilities seem largely accepting of an energy future characterized by increasingly distributed forms of energy generation and storage and that they are taking action to ready themselves and shape the outcomes.
Utilities were asked, “What is the most significant challenge facing the utility industry over the next five years?”
“We’re seeing a significant shift in the power sector today, prompted in part by changes in policy around clean energy and by new technical capabilities,” said Hugo van Nispen, executive vice president of global energy advisory at DNV GL. “The survey results confirm this observation. This shift will have significant implications for how we produce and deliver power in years to come and will most likely disrupt existing business models.”
The survey, conducted from April to May 2014, found that a majority in the industry appear to be preparing to acclimate to potentially disruptive forces, particularly through adoption of new technologies.
“We’re seeing significant potential to innovate,” Van Nispen said, “however, changing technology creates challenges and utilities will likely need regulatory support to adapt.”
According to the report, “The key policy issues on the minds of many are the impact of net metering and distributed generation interconnection, greenhouse gas (GHG) and emissions control and the evolution of the competitive retail markets. Together, over 78% of respondents believe these policy or regulatory advances will have the greatest impact on the industry’s evolution by 2020.”
The “Utility of the Future Pulse Survey” provides a baseline for measuring change in energy industry attitudes. DNV GL plans to conduct a similar annual study tied to its Utility of the Future Leadership Forums. The results are revealed first and discussed by participants in the annual forum and continue on Twitter via #UofFPulseSurvey.