Capturing value from disruption - Technology and innovation in an era of energy transformation

In the next 20 years, more innovation will occur in the utilities sector than occurred since the time of Thomas Edison. Whether companies enjoy the promise of this innovation depends on how they embrace the potential of new technology as the vanguard for industry evolution.

The pace of technology-driven change is accelerating well beyond the speed the power sector believed possible. No aspect of the value chain – from upstream generation, through grid and network operations to beyond-the-meter – is unaffected. The utilities sector will develop very different performance roles, technology landscapes, customer platforms and business models than served it over its first 100 years. From a scale-driven, centralised and standardised model, the sector is set to evolve to one that is digital, distributed and personalised.

In this report we look at the technologies that are likely to drive disruption and change in the utilities sector over the next 20 years and what they mean for incumbents and new players in the market. We analyse six scenarios that could arise from the fast pace of technological evolution. We paint a picture of how five possible future scenarios (among many possibilities) could unfold and affect utilities as technology evolution pushes forward. And we conclude with a look at what it will take to win in tomorrow’s market and, in particular, the need for utilities to think very differently about how to embrace innovation as a market enabler.