Given the fact that the annual revenue of the electric utility industry in the United States is only around 2% to 3% of our country’s GDP, it is favorably “out of proportion” for our industry that six out of the top 50 companies selected for the MIT Technology Review Top 50 are players in our industry.
The editors at the MIT Technology Review evaluated companies based on their level of technological innovation in combination with the effectiveness of each company's business model.
The drivers for the editors’ utility industry related selections centered around involvement utility utilization of big data and analytics, and distributed energy resources (DERs) such as wind, solar, and electric vehicles.
Here are the highlights:
Rank 12 out of 50: First Solar
Why: Making advances in cadmium telluride cells; building three of the five largest solar projects in the U.S.
$2.9 billion: estimated 2017 revenue
Rank 15 out of 50: Vestas Wind Systems
Why: Vestas Wind Systems overtook General Electric to become the biggest U.S. installer of new wind power last year and is investing in energy storage.
14: consecutive number of profitable quarters
Rank 31 out of 50: Tesla
Why: Autopilot accidents, car maintenance problems, and concerns about its solar strategy and ability to produce enough cars have hurt, but cofounder Elon Musk continues to take big bets. Battery cell production has begun at his giant Nevada “gigafactory.”
400,000 plus: number of preorders for its lower-cost Model 3
Rank 34 out of 50: M-KOPA
Why: Its pay-as-you-go solar power model works well in its African target market, and the company is expanding sales with local communications leader Safaricom.
500,000: number of homes connected as of this spring.
Rank 40 out of 50: General Electric
Why: Moving to incorporate AI into its businesses as it focuses on technological innovation in wind and renewable energy, data-driven services, and other business lines.
400: As part of building its AI workforce, 400 GE employees have now completed GE’s certification program for data analytics, along with an additional 50 GE scientists who have moved into digital analytics jobs as part of efforts to set up on line programs to teach machine learning.
Rank 46 out of 50: Daimler
Why: Delivering the first run of its short-haul all-electric truck this year while working on vehicle connectivity and autonomous driving for cars.
200 kilometers: range of its lithium-battery-powered eTruck
The full MIT Technology Review article is available at this link.