The pace of change toward a sustainable energy future is accelerating. Executives gathered at the KEMA Utility of the Future conference last month revealed communications, collaboration and innovation are key to how well utilities will fare in a fast-paced, always-on future.
A common theme touched on throughout the conference was that IT, data management and technology companies are beginning to enter a market historically considered the electric utilities’ domain. Ultimately, those market players that can connect with and engage utility customers quickly and simply will have the competitive advantage in an increasingly plugged-in, sustainable energy future.
Throughout the two-day exchange of ideas, experience and insight, the KEMA Utility of the Future conference participants found the utility industry at a point of historic transformation of how we value electricity, view the product, and extract value from the evolving energy system. Participants also found that the emerging smart grid is the enabling technology moving the utility to a 21st century business model – focused on innovation in customer interaction, products and services.
“Clearly the time for action is upon us,” said Hugo van Nispen, president and managing director of KEMA, Inc. “The momentum for change is evident on many fronts – from changes in climate policy, falling costs of grid and IT technology, advancing renewable penetration, rising fuel prices, and innovation in electric vehicles – all moving towards a sustainable energy future. How well utilities respond to the accelerating pace of change and adapt to the emerging energy future depends on how well we implement the smart grid today.”
KEMA’s second annual Utility of the Future executive conference: “Navigating energy sustainability” was held June 18 - 19, 2009 in Washington DC. A summary of key findings from the event will be forthcoming and available at www.kema.com/utility_future.