Renewable energy is rapidly changing the electric grid, and utilities need to adapt or face still greater disruption in their industry, according to a new report. Two directions now appear likely to offer opportunities for growth, the report says.
One is to move toward electric infrastructure as a platform for new applications that other companies can develop, such as renewable energy storage. The other direction is for the utility itself to expand into new growth areas like electric vehicle charging stations.
Either way, says report co-author Dan Cross-Call of the Rocky Mountain Institute, utilities that sit back and continue with business as usual could fall behind. Traditional utility growth models, he says, are not future-proof. “Demand for electricity has become flat or declining in many places,” he says. “So the historical expectation that sales increase is no longer the case.”