Engerati – The Week In Energy

Published: Mon 15 Sep 2014
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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Jonathan Spencer Jones
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Businesses are constantly evolving and reinventing themselves to stay ahead in today’s competitive and fast changing environment? Why should utilities – which need to be run on a sound business basis, albeit in many cases with specific rules of engagement and a captive customer pool – be any different?

Some commentators have opined about the ‘death of the utility’. Engerati does not support that view. Neither does it support the view that utilities can continue unchanged but rather that they must adapt by offering new services. As an example we have shown how DTE Energy is constructing a solar canopy with electric vehicle charging stations for Ford at its Dearborn headquarters. [DTE Energy To Build Solar Array For Ford - A Possible Blueprint For Commercial Sustainable Energy] DTE Energy will operate the facility under a 20-year agreement.

Microgrids are another opportunity and Central Hudson has recently put forward the proposal to build, own and operate microgrids for customers. [Are Microgrids The Route To The Utility Of The Future?] In the same piece, another proposal gathering momentum is that utilities could outsource their uniquely skilled workforce to microgrid operations. Private operators are unlikely to have the skills to manage and maintain these systems, or to handle the business aspects.

Such opportunities will vary according to location and another opportunity open to utilities is the off-grid market. Glencore’s Raglan Mine in the north of Quebec has installed what is Canada’s first large wind and energy storage system. [Canada Gets its First Large Wind and Energy Storage System]

The opportunities are there, and those that grasp them will be well on the way to securing their future businesses.

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