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4 Things to Watch at this Year’s Future of Energy Summit

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On Monday, industry leaders, policymakers and bankers from around the world will gather in New York City for Bloomberg's Future of Energy Summit.  

The annual summit – which will feature a number of speakers including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Direct Energy President & CEO Badar Khan – serves as a forum to discuss some of the most pressing energy issues of today and the next decade. How energy companies will navigate markets and engage customers in the “age of plenty and competition,” will be top of mind.

Here are four key questions to be addressed at this year’s gathering.  

1. What are the implications of declining power prices? 

In the past decade, wholesale electricity prices have shed two-thirds of their value and show little sign of recovering.

In the short-term, lower power prices are certainly great news for consumers. But what does it mean for the long-term?

Just because energy prices have declined, does not mean bills won’t go up. One consequence of low prices is that power generation economics will lean increasingly on rising reliability charges. Furthermore, aging grid infrastructure and demand for more advanced metering programs will put upward pressure on transmission and distribution costs, which can be more than 30 percent of a customer’s monthly utility bill.

For procurement managers thinking about their future budgets, now is a great time to consider a longer term energy purchasing horizon. Flexible and customized procurement solutions that utilize real-time data and market monitoring – such as PowerPortfolio and GasPortfolio – can help you stay ahead of the curve and focus on managing your business.

2. What is the value of connected buildings?

Since 2010, building and home energy management technologies have received more than $1 billion in venture capital and private equity investments.

But how valuable are these technologies to building owners?

One technology that will be on full display at the summit is Panoramic Power. The technology now analyzes more than 5 billion data points per month and offers Wireless Electricity Monitoring for business end users. The wireless sensors clip directly onto circuit wires capture device level data in real-time and process the data in an analytics platform.

On a basic level, the technology – which is projected to save businesses 12 percent on energy and operational insights – allows operators to see how they can become more energy efficient, how their equipment is functioning and how they can improve their overall business operations.

3. What do businesses want from their energy provider?

Increasingly, business customers are looking to retail energy suppliers for clean energy solutions. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. clean power contracts last year were signed with non-utility buyers – from the Fortune 500 to the U.S. military.

Commercial solar installations topped one gigawatt for the fourth consecutive year and Direct Energy Business was proud to play a part in the trend.

We have helped launch a number of innovative solar projects with SolarCity, including: a groundbreaking 1.2 megawatt rooftop solar project with H-E-B in Weslaco, Texas; an innovative 13.6 megawatt remote solar project with Johns Hopkins University in Queen Anne's County, Maryland; and, most recently, a new plan to install solar power systems at Whole Foods Market locations across the United States.

4. How can businesses successfully embrace innovation?

Innovation is widely believed to be the key to sustainable and profitable growth. So, what decisions can managers make to help ensure their business is on the right path?

It’s an important question. That’s why I’m thrilled to host a dinner at the Future of Energy Summit with best-selling author and Harvard Business School professor Dr. Clayton Christensen to discuss how managers can sustain success by answering seven key questions.

This year’s summit looks to be a great one and we hope to see you there.

John Schultz is president of Direct Energy Business. In his role, he leads our North American commercial, industrial, and wholesale customer business. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSchultzDEB.  

Posted: April 03, 2016