Power and renewables

Need for New Business Models is Top Challenge for Energy Industry, 2015 DNV GL Utility of the Future Pulse Survey Finds

Second annual survey reveals that a “need for new business models” emerges as top challenge for the energy industry while “interconnection of distributed generation” drops to third place for 2015.

  • More than a hundred North American industry professionals ranked top challenges and regulatory issues as well as their plans to adapt to a changing industry, including projected product offerings
  • Findings released today at DNV GL’s Utility of the Future Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

Burlington, Mass. (June 2, 2015) – DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts, revealed key findings and implications from its second annual Utility of the Future Pulse Survey at the Utility of the Future Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. today. DNV GL released the results of the report to the gathering of electric energy leaders including top policy, regulatory, business, academic, renewables and utility leaders from across North America.  

“Findings reveal stakeholders across the energy spectrum are looking to redefine business models,” said Jessica Harrison, Head of Section for Energy Strategy at DNV GL and lead author of the report. In the 2015 survey, over a third of respondents selected “the need for new business models” as the top challenge for the next five years, followed by a “lack of clarity in national and environmental policies” and “interconnection of distributed generation”  

This is a significant change since only two percent of 2014 respondents ranked new business models as the top challenge. The report notes that this shift is prompted in part by growth in distributed generation (DG) and adaptation to emissions regulations. According to Harrison: “Interconnection of DG – which ranked first in 2014 - likely moved down the list of top challenges because interconnection standards are quickly adapting,  and federal and state policies have moved to revise rules to clarify storage interconnection and fast-track DG.”  

Last year’s survey saw the industry taking a proactive approach towards DG and evolving policy around energy and the environment. This optimism persists – over forty percent of 2015 respondents say they plan a proactive strategy towards new entrants in the DG space. Over half said they plan to adopt new technology to improve operations or increase earnings. Energy storage, in particular, is expected to gain prominence by 2020 with 51 percent of respondents anticipating providing energy storage-related products or services by 2020, according to the survey.  

However, findings indicate a slight increase in defensive strategies in certain areas. “The percentage of respondents taking a defensive strategy towards new entrants in retail gas and electric supply increased from 3 percent to 13 percent. Likewise, the percentage doing so with DG increased from 12 percent to 20 percent,” the report states. Overall, the majority of respondents will retain an offensive strategy, but there was a notable increase in those taking a defensive position. 

“DNV GL invests 5% of its revenue in industry research toward a safe and sustainable energy future. As a result, we are pleased to provide these new insights, and to leverage these findings to further adapt our services and R&D efforts to serve our clients’ business needs,” said Carole Barbeau, Head of DNV GL’s Advisory Services, Americas. 

The full report including additional rankings is available at www.dnvgl.com/UofFPulseSurvey. Find more information about the Utility of the Future Leadership Forum at www.dnvgl.com/UofF2015 and join the conversation about Utility of the Future on Twitter using #UofF2015.    

Driven by its purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organisations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. DNV GL provides classification and technical assurance along with software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries. It also provides certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. DNV GL, whose origins go back to 1864, operates globally in more than 100 countries with its 16,000 professionals dedicated to helping their customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

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