Car manufacturers, are defined as new players, they have already started looking at ways to supply households with energy. Data mining could give companies like Google insight into how and where we consume energy. This data might be used to promote tailored products and services.
Soon consumers and businesses are beginning to realise they can source their own energy (i.e. solar panels, wind farms, etc.) and will no longer need to connect to the existing power grid. By 2030, households could exchange more electricity via private networks than is transported over the centralised electricity grid network.
The organisation of this industry is changing and unexpected partnerships between companies that operate in different fields arise. By 2030 electricity could be provided by a business, a multinational or the water company.
Turning to regulation, Prof. Meeus considers that developing a European energy market is trivial. So far all the discussions have been on whether electricity would come from a neighbour country, North Africa or the North Sea. But the more ardent question is who will be transporting this energy.
Prof Leonardo Meeus who is currently in the UK comments: " The energy sector is likely to face more changes in the next 10 years than in the past 100. If we only look back at the past five years, no one could have predicted the changes we see today. The sector as well as the relationship dynamics are changing dramatically (i.e. relationship with the customer, the impact of renewables, you name it – it is all changing). If we look at Vienna we have seen a recent merger between the electricity network and the natural gas supplier, as well as telecoms provider and the heating district networks. Australia for example has run different energy scenarios and is expecting a third of its consumers to leave the energy grid. The speed of change we are experiencing today is so fast that we need very good training and smart ways of making people think how to react to these changes.’’
Recently, The Elia Group, one of Europe's top five system operators, joined forces with Vlerick Business School to establish a Chair to look closely at the future of the energy landscape, and more specifically the impact on electricity grids.
In the near future, the grid operators’ sector will have to face major changes resulting from developments in the field of technology, regulation and market organisation. The Chair will be in place for a five-year period.
JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)