Preparing for these changes will not be easy for Australia’s utilities. They already face challenges unlike those in many other markets - including transporting electricity over vast distances and with varied interconnectivity between states. Between now and 2021, they’ll have to tackle the increasing impact of less revenue from grid-connected customers, more complex DER to manage, increased regulatory scrutiny on costs and mounting political pressure around affordability. Finding intelligent new ways to tap the value of the grid, grow new revenue and drive productivity will be vital to survival.
Cashing in on grid defection
Utility networks around the world are looking for opportunities for horizontal moves into new areas of the energy value chain such as directly offering new energy products to consumers, or even entering the EV market. So, what will be the best bets for Oceania energy players to reshape their businesses to withstand growing grid defection?
The good news is that there are many exciting opportunities for agile network players to capture value by positioning as a future platform to connect energy supply and demand.
A connected, digitized grid also has the potential to become a platform for apps offered by third party providers. These apps could include services to manage the appliances in a connected home, charge EVs or conduct peer-to-peer transactions to trade solar energy with neighbors. Utilities may not develop or run these services but instead host the platform (ie. the digital grid) on which they are held – similar to the way that today’s technology giants host apps via smart phones and devices.
But competition in this space will be fierce. The jury is out as to whether behind the meter services will be an attractive segment for Oceania utilities in the current environment.