Navigant Research Blog

Can Energy Management Software be the Link for Customer Engagement and Compliance?

— November 24, 2015

Electric utilities and energy providers are preparing for a new energy reality—a transformation driven by climate change risks, rapid growth in distributed energy resources, and the proliferation of data across the energy value chain. Navigant Research has outlined this energy industry transformation as the development of the energy cloud. The evolution of how, when, and where we consume energy is not just a threat to utilities, but also an opportunity. Recent market developments suggest utilities are recognizing the value of energy management software for customer engagement that can direct consumption changes to meet their peak demand and efficiency goals. Navigant Research suggests the coming year will hold substantial growth in electric utility and energy provider investment of energy management software to drive greater customer engagement for energy efficiency savings and satisfaction.

Recent Developments

On November 3, Comverge announced a partnership with Apogee Interactive, Inc. Comverge stated that “When this solution is implemented in conjunction with Comverge’s number-one ranked demand response offerings, utilities can achieve unmatched cost-effectiveness by utilizing a single thermostat and engagement portal to drive both energy savings and peak reduction and can better engage customers by offering them increased control and visibility into their energy consumption.”

On November 13, GridPoint announced it has been acquired by TFC Utilities, a Washington, D.C.-based startup aiming to support regulated utilities in the process of modernizing strategy and procedures in light of industry transformation. The Company’s press release explained that “TFC Utilities’ business model is to transform regulated utilities with a commercial and regulatory construct that drives mass adoption of clean, low cost energy producing and energy saving technologies. The GridPoint acquisition represents TFC Utilities’ commitment to behind the meter technologies that directly benefit customers while also modernizing and enhancing the efficiency of the electric power system.”

A Tool for Compliance

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a fact sheet on energy efficiency alongside the publication of the final ruling on 111(d), or the Clean Power Plan. The EPA explains that states leverage energy efficiency to meet their clean power goals across the different outlined compliance approaches. Even as politics surround the EPA’s authority to regulate on climate change, utilities and energy providers are demonstrating their commitments to energy efficiency not only as a tool for hedging the potential regulatory risk, but also as a means of supporting grid reliability and resiliency.

Navigant Research suggests that energy management software is becoming an increasingly vital tool for promoting energy efficiency programs, tracking reductions in consumption, and improving customer satisfaction. On November 12, Direct Energy announced the acquisition of Panoramic Power, a device-level energy management solution. Direct Energy explained its perspective in a news release, stating “The commercial industry trend is moving toward more centralized energy management solutions with a focus on automated energy data collection and reporting, which is why Direct Energy aims to seamlessly incorporate Panoramic Power’s technology and analytical expertise into what we offer our growing customer base.”

The cost-effective deployment of energy management software has been proving its business value to customers directly (check out the Navigant Research’s Building Energy Management Systems report for more information), and market activity shows strong indications that utilities want in the game. Looking ahead, there will be winners in the marketplace, and intelligent, easy-to-deploy devices may help accelerate interest from utilities. These recent developments are driving the Navigant Research expectation that even more momentum is developing from the acquisitions and partnerships between utilities and technology providers.


2014 U.S. Advanced Energy Market Reached Nearly $200 Billion

— June 15, 2015

Along with several colleagues, I recently completed work on the Advanced Energy Economy 2015 Market Report. This is the third year Navigant has produced the report, commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy, a national association of business leaders with the goal of making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. The group has grown rapidly under the leadership of Graham Richard, and effectively takes an inclusive approach to clean energy, transportation, buildings, and other key segments of the U.S. and global energy marketplace.

The annual report tallies revenue from electric vehicles, nuclear, biofuels, solar, and natural gas plants, along with demand response, smart parking systems, transmission, energy efficient lighting, and many others sectors. Today, the report encompasses a large portion of the Navigant Research library of data–spanning more than 60 market research reports and touching more than 80 different industries.

In 2014, the report concludes, the deployment of advanced energy technologies and services in the United States represented nearly a $200 billion market, and $1.3 trillion globally. That makes the global advanced energy market as big as the apparel and fashion industry worldwide, and almost 4 times the size of the semiconductor industry. In the United States, the market for advanced energy is bigger than the airline industry, equal to pharmaceuticals, and nearly as big as consumer electronics. U.S. advanced energy revenue grew 14% from 2013 to 2014–5 times faster than the U.S. economy overall.

Other findings worth highlighting include:

  • Building efficiency became the largest advanced energy sector, at $60 billion in 2014, led by residential energy efficient lighting ($9.7 billion).
  • The shale gas revolution in the United States has translated into an increase in sales of new generating equipment, with revenue from natural gas turbines up 48% year-over-year, to $6.4 billion.
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure continues to show strong growth, up 31% to 2014 revenue of $201.5 million. EV charging station revenue has risen 7-fold over the past 4 years.

The Growing Reach of the Energy Cloud

A number of the key trends covered in this report demonstrate the growing reach of the energy cloud. As detailed in Navigant Research’s recent white paper, The Energy Cloud, this term refers to the spread of intelligent networks of energy assets that are increasingly located onsite, commonly referred to as distributed energy resources (DER). These networks often come under fire from incumbent generators and grid operators for eating into utility revenue. Consumers, on the other hand, are benefiting from lower energy prices and a more reliable grid, thanks to the rapid proliferation of the cloud.

On the political side, the rapid growth of the advanced energy sector may offer policymakers a framework (backed up by plenty of data) that makes clean energy palatable to the diverse stakeholders looking for ways to comply with, and even profit from, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  It’s hard to argue against a $1.3 trillion market.


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