Energy Journal – Utilities
Perspectives on the Utilities Industry 2018

The global electricity industry is wrestling with its legacy as it undergoes the most significant structural changes since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879. The forces of innovation and disruption led by technological advances and economic viability of several trends such as decentralized renewable energy, energy storage, digitalization/smartization of networks, electric vehicles, active policy making and regulation, and the influx of new market entrants in the power sector are the main drivers of the current transformation. The aforementioned dynamics in the industry pose both threats and opportunities to the incumbents, which require an agile approach and mindset to generate value.

We at Arthur D. Little are at the forefront of this transformation, assisting several clients to re-think and adapt their business model to be future ready; leading insights are presented in the 2018 Utilities Journal spanning a host of topics relevant to players across the value chain.

This year we begin with the future of batteries, as storage continues to evolve; we present our market and technology view within this transforming landscape. We also look at the prospects of energy storage for a grid operator and analyze the future role, drivers, and barriers to the adoption of energy storage in major markets. Invariably, the energy transition has led to regulators putting pressure on network operators to deliver sustainable outcomes - a huge cultural and operational shift that requires them to rethink their business model.

Next, we look at how the widespread adoption of renewable energy (distributed and utility scale), and the impending boom in energy storage and electric vehicles presents new opportunities and challenges alike for utilities across the globe. We also discuss various business models for utilities to exploit the growth in electric vehicles.

As the race for building fiber infrastructure accelerates globally, utilities are increasingly seen as new credible players. In the most convincing cases, utilities step in and play a complementary role in national fiber development. We detail how utilities position themselves for national fiber development, and how they can be engaged. We also explore the subsequent convergence of electrical utilities and the telecommunications industry.

Finally, we look at the role of aggregators in optimizing electricity generation and demand through virtual power plants in the provision of flexibility.

We truly hope you enjoy our perspective and insights on the wide range of topics addressed in this year’s Utilities Journal, and would be delighted to hear your thoughts and engage with you in a lively exchange.