LOOKING INTO 2020
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- Feb 5, 2020 5:22 pm GMTJan 26, 2020 11:07 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Predictions & Trends - Special Issue - 01/2020, click here for more
For 2020? One should expect pretty much continuing trends of the last several years with the one possible wildcard, 2020 being an election year.
Over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in interest in the following, so we can expect more discussions about:
Natural gas and power
“Climate Change”, followed by Block Chain and “Coal-and-the-Power-Industry” remain the greatest expressed interest, albeit declining ones.
For example, regarding Climate Change: Forrester Research in their 2020 tech-related outlook mentions “In 2017, 52% of consumers said they actively consider company values when making a purchase”, and they expect that to rise to more than 55% this year. This can have a direct effect on electric utilities with customers having renewable options.
Indirectly, expect to hear more from all companies including your suppliers about renewables and climate change. This easily overlaps with the increased usage of natural gas especially given low expected natural gas prices, not to mention the cost advantage of natural gas over crude oil as a feedstock source as well:
Per DOE/EIA forecasts from their latest Annual Review:
WTI Crude Oil $/Bbl nominal
Nat Gas Henry Hub $/MMBTU nominal
Ratio Oil/ NatGas
As noted earlier though, 2020 being an Election Year, it’s a bit of a wildcard, as are promises made and ones implemented after 2020. Infrastructure spending comes to mind, especially T&D and effects on wildfire brush-clearing and cybersecurity.
It appears the power industry has not commanded the attention of candidates during election years as one might hope. Interestingly for every Presidential election year 2000 thru 2016, the following search terms have seen DECREASED interest compared to the prior election:
- “Artificial Intelligence” OR “AI” AND the “electric power industry”
- “Coal-powered” OR “coal-power plants”
- “Energy efficiency standards”
- “Electric power generation”
- “Nuclear power plant”
- “Power industry”
Suspicions are certain topics may be more important to distinct geographies and/or particular social-demographic segments versus a national basis. Six states and D.C. have recently increased their renewables portfolio standards; only Ohio has issued a decline. Also, several states (all on each coast) now have battery storage and offshore wind mandates.