2018 is considered to be a milestone year as far as the energy industry is concerned. There are a number of notable energy industry trends for investors to keep an eye on in 2018. Oil prices are on the rise, as is domestic production. Wind and solar energy continue to be the major contributors of new electricity production, both domestically and around the world, opening up a cleaner energy future. Furthermore, the revolution in self-driving and electric vehicles could mean a lesser burden on the oil sector. But these are not the only things players and stakeholders in the energy industry should keep a close watch on. Here is a roundup of four energy industry trends to create a spark in 2018:
Changing energy storage demand
The rapid reduction in the cost of batteries has revamped the way utilities and regulators look at electricity production. Distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar, energy storage and demand response can now provide consistent energy flow as needed at a much lower price. With the reduction in costs and the rapid rise of innovative storage solutions by companies in the energy industry, we’ll see supply and demand disaggregate. Now companies in the energy industry will not have to build enough power-generating capacity to supply the peak hours of the highest demand day. Instead, they’ll be able to build the lowest-cost generation to supply the grid, no matter the time of day.
Changes caused by digital technologies will bring benefits to all parts of the value chain from generation, to distribution, and retail; and will deepen to a point where they alter the DNA of utilities. Some companies are already redefining their identity from utility to a tech company, revamping their strategy, products, and business models fundamentally. Customers will see direct benefits from the digital revolution. More choice and tailored products, especially in terms of new services in mobility, smart home control, and decentralized energy system management.
Microgrids may not yet be common; however, they are one of the energy industry trends that are growing at a quick and steady rate. The global microgrid market was at $12 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a whopping $23 billion by 2021. Microgrids have become an ideal energy solution for consumers in disparate communities, ranging from lower-income areas to regions that experience serious weather threats, to people desiring an eco-friendlier lifestyle. Microgrids help in localization and help people to take greater control of their energy source by decreasing their dependency on companies in the energy industry.
We live in a “smart” age. Smart TVs, smartphones, and now, energy is at the forefront of smart technology. Consumers are adding smart thermostats to their homes at a rapid pace. This is likely a result of people’s evolving relationship with their energy usage: their attention is no longer just about consuming, but instead on the how and why of consuming. Smart thermostats are one of the easiest and most accessible technologies using which homeowner can use not only to understand their energy output but to reduce and save money in the long term as well.