This piece was originally published in the January/February 2020 issue of electroindustry.
Happy New Year!
I am pleased to welcome you to this issue of electroindustry devoted to “Changing Energy Markets.” The start of a new decade is a fitting time to consider how the dramatic shift in the energy market seen over the last 10 years is expected to evolve over the next 10 years.
Currently, there are one million e-vehicles on the road in the U.S. By 2030, that number could increase tenfold. The demand for energy storage is predicted to be 28 gigawatts by 2022, while it was only three gigawatts in 2016. Over the next five years, the total installed solar capacity may double, reaching 100 gigawatts by 2021. But in a world where generation and load must meet equilibrium, how we integrate these technologies will make all the difference.
Smart buildings, fleets of electric vehicles, digital cities, energy storage, distributed generation—these are no longer just great storylines in futurists’ musings. These technologies are here today, and they will play a key role in shaping our near-term and long-term futures for our economy and society.
So, what does all this mean for our industry?
NEMA Members’ technologies will drive increased electrification and lay the foundation for a flexible and digital electric grid. Our industry makes intelligent systems capable of securely connecting hardware to command and control software systems optimizing performance and reliability. But unless policymakers and regulators establish the right market incentives, utilities and customers may not adopt these modern technologies.
These technologies also will increasingly find their way into our factories, and their impact will not be limited to the equipment that we operate and the products that we produce. Our workforce must transform too. This comes at a time when we are already experiencing a big crew change. But whether you grew up with slide rules or smartphones, everyone from production workers to engineers to data scientists must be open to learning new skills to thrive in the decade to come.
This issue of electroindustry focuses on the future of energy markets—how they are changing and how we can plan for that change, from updating rate structures to maximize the value of distributed energy resources to strategies to match consumption to renewable characteristics. I hope you enjoy it.
A closing thought: Those who bet on the status quo risk being left behind. ei
Chairman, NEMA Board of Governors