U.S. utility executives see the rise of distributed energy resources as their biggest growth opportunity over the next five years, but aren’t sure how to incorporate it in their existing businesses, according to the 2015 edition of the annual Utility Dive survey.
Although David Roberts at Grist points out some methodological issues that make it tougher to attribute the results to the country’s entire utility industry, 31% of respondents identified distributed energy as their biggest emerging opportunity, compared to 23% for customer relationships (also enabled by distributed efficiency and renewables) and 14% or transmission. But 56% said they “see an opportunity, but aren’t sure how to build a business” around distributed energy, compared to 33% who were already developing the required business models.
Energy storage, energy efficiency, utility-scale renewables, and demand response topped the list of emerging technologies in which respondents thought their companies should invest more heavily, with scores ranging from 37 to 53%. At the bottom of the scale, 8% of executives expressed interest in carbon capture and storage, while 3% suggested coal gasification.