Shaking Up the Grid: The Electric Utility Trends of 2017

12 December 2018 / in Company News

Renewable energy has been an often discussed topic in the electric utility industry for many years now. With threats of global climate change and rising pollution levels looming, many have been looking to cleaner sources of energy generation. But with the new energy and environmental policies of the Trump administration, there are questions as to where clean energies may be headed in the near future. In this article, we hope to shed some light on what current trends show for the future of this industry, and the electric utility industry as a whole.

In 2016, renewable energies, such as solar and wind power, grew to a level competitive with fossil fuels and gas. And while some are skeptical if this growth will continue with the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. But many agree that renewables are still going to continue to grow in 2017. The reason is simple, prices for renewable will still be low enough to be attractive. Even with the uncertainty of changes in the future renewable energies are still cheaper than oil and coal power in many parts of the country, a benefit which is aided by tax incentives still in place. However, while it is safe to assume growth will continue, there is still uncertainty as to how much it will see, and how quickly. This paired with potential opportunities for the coal and natural gas industries and concerns about the competitiveness of cleantech innovation raise some cause for worry.

Perhaps the biggest uncertainty in regards to electric utilities is the future of coal. Fossil fuels have been having a rough time in the past few years thanks to environmental regulations and lower costs of energy alternatives such as renewables and natural gas. This has lead to the closing of a large number coal plants. However, the ones remains could be about to see an upswing in a big way. If the Clean Power Plan is repealed, this could give coal power a chance for growth unbidden by the stifling regulation of the past decade. The opportunity may have negative consequences on the environment, but would certainly be a boon to fossil fuel energy.

But even with all this confusion, one thing most agree on is that natural gas will continue its dominance in the electric utility industry. For many years now, the low costs and easy production of natural gas have allowed it to set the standard for energy. Even with all the uncertainties of the Trump administration, this is not set to change anytime soon, giving natural gas continued opportunities for growth.

Change does seem on the horizon for the electrical utility industry. While nothing is for certain at the moment, opportunities and challenges appear to be arising for most major forms of energy, particularly coal power. It will be very interesting and exciting to see where these developments lead for this industry in the coming years, and the direction the country will go depending on the regulations put into effect.

Sources:
-http://www.utilitydive.com/news/10-trends-shaping-the-electric-utility-industry-in-2017/434541/
-https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/energy-and-resources/articles/renewable-energy-outlook.html
-https://www.brookings.edu/research/patenting-invention-clean-energy-innovation-trends-and-priorities-for-the-trump-administration-and-congress

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