I recently had the opportunity to attend the Deloitte Energy Conference in Washington, DC, a two-day event consisting of industry professionals who were brought together to discuss the ways technology is transforming the energy industry. After attending a series of keynotes and participating in panel discussions and breakout sessions, I have three disparate takeaways from the event:
Wind and Solar Continue to Penetrate the Market
We are progressively seeing a trend in wind and solar, notwithstanding the “shale gas revolution.” Grid parity continues to exist in an increasing number of states. Commercial and industrial customers are going to continue to find that wind and solar make financial sense, and assist in company’s sustainability goals.
There is a Growing Want for Energy Services that Meet Customer Needs
While speaking on a panel with Jennifer Pulliam, senior director of TXU Solutions for TXU Energy, we were in agreement that despite popular belief, customers are NOT interested in “kWh.” What they are interested in is energy “services” that meet their needs. This is evident to real customers, though for those of us within the industry, there is a different mindset. When we need to compete to win and keep customers every day, we must listen and understand customer needs and then provide simple solutions.
New Possibilities for Efficiency and Optimization at the Customer Level Await
I had the opportunity to attend a keynote presentation by Andrew MacAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT, on The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. His talk only confirmed my view that — after a long involvement with our evolving and more intelligent electricity grid — we are on the cusp of exponentially new possibilities for efficiency and optimization at the customer level. The time is now for companies to tap into these new efficiency, automation and distributed resources offerings.