July 11, 2016

Taking Control of Your Energy Future: Observations from Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2016

By Edison Energy

The realm of energy consumption and management is becoming more complex — with the largest users facing challenges driven by a combination of fluctuating markets, changing policy and new technologies. At the same time, utilities are struggling to adapt to a fast-changing electrical grid packed with renewable energy.

This shift is something we encounter at Edison Energy every day. And at Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum last month, the sentiment was evident across panels, sessions and one-on-one conversations with conference attendees — during his keynote speech, GTM Research’s Grid Edge Director Steve Propper pointed out that almost every state in the country took some kind of policy action regarding distributed solar power last year. Propper also noted that more than half have active policy or regulatory agendas specifically addressing distributed energy-grid integration. That’s a lot of change taking place at once, even when compared to just a few years ago. The opportunities for large energy users to take control of their energy future have never been greater. But getting started down the right path is increasingly challenging.

During a panel I took part in, we discussed emerging opportunities and challenges facing the largest energy consumers — enterprises with operations in multiple locations operating in regulated and competitive markets, and where energy use and management is now considered a critical expense item that impacts growth and financial performance. The panel members all agreed that companies are looking for help in making the right energy investment choices — building the right energy contracting and physical infrastructure and analytics that will provide a platform to support their growth, and in managing and integrating these strategic energy assets across the enterprise.

The main takeaway from these three days at GTM? The more regulatory economists and utility engineers work to adapt the grid to a new energy future, the more large users need a strategic partner to help them navigate the changing landscape.