It will be common for businesses to supply their own energy by 2020, according to research.
A survey by Vlerick Business School’s Energy Centre in partnership with KPMG found more than a third of energy executives in Europe believe it will be a common occurrence for customers to go off grid by 2020. This will be driven by the rapid development of batteries and electric vehicles.
The research surveyed executives from distribution system operators in 24 countries on the changes they predict in the industry over the next five years.
Nearly all respondents (98 per cent) thought the trend towards more decentralised electricity generation would continue.
Executives also expected the industry to move faster, with respondents predicting big changes in innovation (86 per cent), investment programmes (85 per cent) and asset management (75 per cent) over the next five years.
Nearly all respondents (94 per cent) expected important regulatory changes, but only 50 per cent thought regulatory commissions had a good understanding of the complexity and challenges the industry faced. Nearly half of those surveyed (45 per cent) also managed natural gas networks (39 per cent), telecommunication networks (21 per cent), or water networks (15 per cent), as well as electricity.
Some 72 per cent of respondents thought distribution system operators would become more service-focused than asset-oriented. And 69 per cent also believed more collaboration among was required with half thinking that mergers and acquisitions was the most beneficial way to do this.
“Decentralised and renewable electricity as well as customers becoming self-suppliers will change the power sector like never before,” said Daniel Dobbeni, chairman of Vlerick’s Energy Centre. “Industry actors must therefore quickly acquire new knowledge and experiences. We believe that dedicated education, networking and research will support distribution system operators in achieving their ambitious objectives.”