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Projecting beyond Renewable Energy


A number of investors and utilities continue to be skeptical about deploying technologies that rely on renewable energy. However, feedback from discussions at the recent Energy Symposium held at the Harvard Business School, reveals the markets are approaching a period of significant change in relation to its perception of renewable energy.
 
During the previous decade, current energy market players perceived renewable-energy as a new idea that was yet to gain a strong foothold in the market. Wind and Solar energies were at the forefront of renewable energy. Investors viewed renewable-energy as a risky venture that needed to be approached only if the profits far outweighed the risk. Several utilities exercised caution in adopting renewable energy as their primary source of energy source.
 
The trend is gradually changing as several investors in equity are diverting their resources from conventional energy sources and investing a lot more in renewable energy. There seem to be a lot of interest in energy storage as future innovations are being channeled in this direction. The focus now is on how to combine several sources of renewable energy.
 
The energy symposium comprised several panels which include “Investing in Energy – Private Equity and Debt”, ”Starting an Energy Venture” and “Energy Storage and the Modern Grid”. The discussion also centered on the using Blockchain as a means to carry out energy transactions. Other areas discussed an involved response to the threat of water scarcity and its impact on investments needed to push innovations in renewable energy. 
 
The general consensus among panelists was acceptance of renewable energy as a fast-evolving sector, with the focus shifting towards the next big thing in the energy sector and how to incorporate these into business models. On the other hand, Utilities are researching ways to combine a significant amount of renewable energy with energy storage as a means of achieving this.
 
Institutions are not being left out as they are spending a large chunk of their time trying to get to grips with the industry. Their focus is on how to make a profit from massive projects by employing the same structure used when investing in infrastructure.
 
Members of the audience who were interested in investing in renewable energy were advised to look beyond the solar and wind technologies as these had already gained a strong foothold in the market. The opening discussion of the conference centered on the growing electrical energy sector. 
 
The assumption was that consumers would in the near future be interested in knowing more about their electricity consumption. Energy companies and utilities should be ready for such engagement. This would require that utilities and regulators accept and adapt to these demands, which would create new business avenues for the electrical energy sector.
 
The conclusion was that while they would be a change in the business model adopted by utilities, electric utilities would still function in a manner similar to its current mode of operation as electricity consumers would not be migrating from the electrical grid soon.