In the final instalment of this series, we discuss how emerging clean energy technologies are disrupting US energy consumption
In Part 1 of this series, we focused on changes in the ‘upstream’ portion of the clean electricity value chain, exploring the potential for technologies like wind and solar to accelerate their existing growth rates. In Part 2, we unpicked the emerging ‘midstream’ in clean power that’s using storage and hydrogen technologies to make renewables more flexible and reliable.
Here, in Part 3, we look at how energy users in the ’downstream’ segment (industrial, commercial and residential customers) are changing the way they buy and use energy. We describe how falling technology costs and accelerating government policies are creating new opportunities for companies at the cutting edge of shifts in US energy demand.
- A potential re-ordering of the relationship between energy producers and consumers presents numerous opportunities for equipment suppliers, infrastructure providers and new market entrants.
- Technological advances are enabling consumers to take charge of their energy use. Early adopters are demonstrating the bottom-line benefits of wrestling control away from incumbent energy producers.
- With this push from consumers, the US energy system could shift rapidly towards higher rates of efficiency, electrification and independence from fossil fuels. But the potential won’t be realized without substantial hardware and software upgrades to US power networks.
- Consumers can be an important catalyst for innovation – if regulators let them. Regional and state agencies should resist their pressure to restrict the higher levels that distributed generation enables.