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Energy Management in 2019: Which trends will be revealed as fads and which will turn into long-term solutions?

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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

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  • Jan 2, 2019 3:30 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-01 - Predictions & Trends, click here for more

As we forge into 2019 with many energy topics at the forefront of people's minds-- costs, trade, emissions, efficiency, policies, and more-- I think it'd be compelling to take this community's pulse on what 'hot topics' in energy management that we've heard about recently, and will likely hear about as the New Year takes hold, are going to stick around. 

Energy management, the practice of the power companies to ensure their available energy production meets demand in an economic and environmetal manner, has seen a number of topics grab headlines. Which have substance behind them? For example:

  • Nissan and EDF teamed up in 2018 to explore if electric car batteries that are no longer suitable for use in EVs can find a second life in stationary storage for a demand response platform. 
  • More outside the box, many started to speculate about the possibility for an EV fleet (when properly managed to be plugged in at given times) being turned into a sort of massive mobile energy storage network that would mitigate the need for building out stationary storage solutions. 
  • Smart home products, such as smart thermostats, have started to get attention from utility companies who see potential load-managing capabilities, in helping to prevent overload by sending/receiving pricing signals to residential customers. 
  • Residential customers have also seen an increasing availability to opt in to buying renewable energy from their utility by paying more on their power bill. 
  • Commercial and industrial customers have been pushing more into the idea of microgrids to present an energy management system that's more local, flexible, and resilient. 
  • And of course, everyone's favorite topic to pretend they understand better than they do: blockchain! Within the energy management field, blockchain is promised by some to bring decentralization, decarbonization, and more. 

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These are just a couple of the trends from the past year that stick out to me, and I'm confident we'll hear much from then in 2019. But my question is-- which of these are the real deal and which are just blowing smoke? Exciting studies and even venture capitalist funding is one thing, but where will the actual progress in energy management come in 2019? 

I could speculate, but I'd rather take the pulse of this valuable Energy Management community we have here to try and prognosticate. Do you have any inside knowledge, educated guesses, or predictions?

 

 

 

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