A major market and social trend is emerging. Community Energy is evolving into a significant driver for change in the energy industry. What are the implications for traditional and new energy players?
Why now? What's changed?
At the beginning of the 21st century, a multitude of cities set about building sustainable communities, but many stalled. Now, aspirations for greener communities are seeing a
revival - not just in dense, urban areas, but also rural villages, campuses, and business parks.
Technologies in the areas of energy efficiency, energy conservation, and energy substitution empower the population at large to reduce its carbon footprint.
Economic benefit - such as job creation and deriving value that can be consumed directly by the community - is a primary objective. Technology advancements make it possible.
Awareness of the dangers of climate change, a growing distrust of public institutions, the “buy local” trend, and the sharing economy are all prompting citizens to push the energy agenda.
Our modelling suggests that Community Energy can have significant benefits—financial amongst others.
A primary objective is economic benefit
Affordable, clean energy for all is the basic economic value to be gained. Also important is the opportunity to generate jobs for the community, and keep any advantages related to the success of the program for the community’s benefit.
Communities have to engage all stakeholders
Communities need to involve, inform and motivate residents, business owners, state or municipal administrators, utilities, technology partners, financial institutions, and regulators, amongst others, if they are to build consensus that can be acted upon.
Communities are hampered by energy regulation
Regulation and the volatility of regulatory decisions is a major impediment for Community Energy programs. Many communities feel overwhelmed by the abundance of choices and ill-equipped to navigate this unknown territory.
Ease, integration, and scale matter
Communities want a holistic, integrated view that brings together multiple resources - electricity, gas and water, plus also heat and electric vehicles - for the benefit of the community. Today, communities believe that such an integrated view is not available.
Communities are becoming energy-savvy, but not experts
A lack of technology and business knowledge within communities has held them back, but competence is growing. Some communities are attracting experienced professionals who are working to define and realize a tailored energy strategy.
Information is essential to progress
Information enables a better understanding of the energy system, and its economic value. This increases transparency, or can be used to promote the concept. Continuous analysis of data helps identify areas for improvement and optimize operational efficiency.
Find out what community groups need to prioritize on their to-do lists!
Find out what we are working on in the Community Energy space, and what solutions are already out there!
Explore what role utilities can assume into the Community Energy scenario.
Even if the community only needs a limited technical solution that may prevent the utility from getting commercially involved, the utility supports the community as it evaluates different solutions.
By remaining part of the team, the utility is on hand to provide more sophisticated support, as the community’s needs evolve.
Community Energy service provider
The utility collaborates with communities to define a solution, then develops and delivers it. The utility could also work as a business partner: running; maintaining, and optimizing the solution.
This role presents utilities with diverse opportunities for economic growth but potentially requires intensive ongoing collaboration.
Community Energy platform provider
With a clear business case, ongoing funding, and a commitment to Community Energy, the utility assumes the role of optimizing the management of energy generated, stored and shared by the community.
It offers a range of potential solutions to respond to “classic” usage scenarios, likely delivered as a service.