1. Energy Management
The demand for greater and immediate insight into energy use is set to continue, as the increasing convergence of data proves its worth to a greater number of commercial energy users. Manufacturing and industrial sectors, the traditional leaders of energy management, will find themselves joined by diverse industries as new standards are set for reporting and management.
With cybersecurity becoming an ever-more familiar part of everyday life, anxiety will grow and diversity as corporations evaluate their risk alongside threats to suppliers and networks. Growing familiarity is likely to move discussions increasingly from technology to management and bring a greater understanding of the types of attacks that can disrupt service on multiple levels, from data security to infrastructure.
No surprise that instability in global affairs will continue to impact the world energy complex after 2018 saw oil markets reach four-year highs and the S&P 500 index continue its longest ever rally. The heightened complexity of the geopolitical climate in recent years will be on the mind of many commentators heading into 2019, a year that will include the culmination of Brexit and the third year of Donald Trump’s presidency.
4. Increased Compliance
Compliance will be high in the minds of UK companies heading into 2019, as a number of mandatory schemes bed in or reach deadline.
5. Open Energy
There is great potential for the energy sector to follow the lead of the banking sector and introduce reforms that radically decrease its complexity. A recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses illustrated how the Open Energy discussion is currently centred on SME and consumer markets. 2019 should see this discussion open up to the more archaic and larger commercial users. However, data and standardised exchange mechanisms to real change and it’s likely that a shift in regulation and legislation will come first to power the change.
6. Diversification of Energy Technology
The deployment of technology to assist with energy procurement and management will increase in companies of all sizes, as consumer-level innovations factor into the commercial sector. As it does, the conversation around it will become more sophisticated. Offerings including integrated platforms, technology or service as a service will continue to offer different benefits to businesses although clearer routes to convergence and a Smart future will emerge.
7. Increasing emergence of Demand Response
2019 is likely to see the rapid expansion of Demand Side Response as incentivisation reaches smaller companies and the technology surrounding it develops a new level of automation. The potential to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and provide a company with recurring revenue as they reduce demand during low-frequency events and allow access to their generated assets during peak times will be transformative for the energy complex.
8. Renewable energy consolidating CSR
As the last of the Millennial generation near 20, the need for companies to place CSR at the heart of their culture will become ever more essential. Sustainability will become the core goal for many businesses, vital to attract and retain stakeholders at every level of a business, with energy use and efficiency at the heart of it. The upward trend of consumers preferring sustainable products and causes will become standardised as Millennials take the majority of management positions.
9. Energy storage
The technology and understanding of energy storage will continue to develop as the technology becomes more viable and attractive for smaller businesses. The routes to energy, particularly through renewable means, will diversify and will receive a far greater level of media attention. Energy storage will become the stable basis for the majority of new energy technologies from now on.
It’s a term that’s unlikely to leave the energy industry anytime soon. Over a year after Europe’s first blockchain project designed to stabilise the power grid, 2019 will see the discussion over blockchain technology’s role in the energy network alive and well. The question is whether 2019 is the year that Blockchain can tip from theory to positive disruption, while considerable expectation remains, and how the energy sector can successfully decentralise at the same time as vastly improving transactional quality.
Chris Maclean is the CEO and co-Founder of Open Energy Market