The electric energy industry knows it's in for disruption with technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, demand response, dynamic pricing and energy storage evolving more rapidly than utilities can catch up.
But it's also a challenge for disruptive companies to determine what the winning strategies will be and how to implement them. The world's most innovative energy companies will adapt and evolve in the next few years and how they do could tell us who creates the household energy companies of the next generation.
Solar is winning, but that's not enough
Over the past five years, the solar industry has shown it's winning the long-term battle over fossil fuels, driven by rapidly falling costs. Today's solar industry is building projects for as low as 6 cents per kW-hr and one of the only questions is how fast the industry will grow?
But being a low cost provider isn't enough anymore in the solar industry. Solar energy is still an intermittent energy source that can't be turned off and on, like a natural gas plant, so it's not currently a great base load source of energy. Add-on services like energy storage, demand response, and intelligent integration into the larger energy infrastructure are needed to develop the grid of the future.
Why the future of energy is key for investors
There's no question that energy is changing and smarter, cleaner, energy sources are driving that change. But companies are still trying to feel out what that future looks like and what capabilities are needed.
Right now, it looks like solar, energy storage, demand response, and a broad information system are going to be keys to the future of energy. The companies amassing those technologies today will be the ones to watch for decades to come.
Source: The Motley Fool
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