A Review of 2018 Durable Energy Trends
Durable energy trends, such as rapid advances in technology and evolving customer expectations and goals, shaped the energy landscape in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019.
Technological advances, such as artificial intelligence (AI), provide retail suppliers with predictive and analytic algorithms that can guide customers to make smarter energy decisions. Innovations in transportation, such as the electrification of vehicles, allow educational institutions or cities, for example, to reduce their carbon footprints. Additionally, the expansion of renewable resources via onsite and offsite implementation of renewable energy has also been top of mind for many businesses to meet aggressive sustainability goals.
There are many solutions that have entered the energy market that are based on some level of AI or that are enhanced by AI. At our parent company Exelon, our generation facilities are leveraging AI to better predict failure and optimize when to schedule maintenance. On the distribution side, utilities are using AI-based technology to better respond to storm-related outages.
For commercial energy managers, new solutions providing enhancements to utility bill review and auditing, and energy forecasting, are becoming available. Additionally, we are seeing some tools augment the role of the energy manager. No longer is the energy manager logging into one of a multitude of dashboards and searching for anomalies; now, they are being notified of an anomaly or an opportunity to create value for their organizations.
Constellation continues to look at AI innovations that will have an impact on customers’ energy costs and optimize the many tasks they perform on a regular basis.
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The Electrification of Transportation
Over the last decades, the transportation industry has experienced an increase in electric vehicles (EVs). Though still a small percentage of overall sales, EVs are becoming more common on U.S. roadways. This is important because the transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, accounting for almost 30% of total emissions in the United States.1
The benefits of electrification include zero tailpipe emissions, reduced dependence on fossil fuels and lower maintenance costs. In addition, the ability to store energy within batteries and transfer that energy for use in an emergency or market event offers significant benefit in terms of resiliency.
Despite the benefits, EV range, access to charging stations, vehicle brand options and cost all affect the adoption rate. Tax incentives and subsidies have helped propel much of the industry to date, but for mainstream adoption to occur, technological improvements must continue, especially as it relates to expensive batteries.
As EVs increase in popularity, electric demand will surge and require investments in electric generation and distribution for production to meet demand. This creates an opportunity for electric suppliers like Constellation and customers to identify new ways to procure electricity and power transportation for the future.
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The Expansion of Renewable Resources
Seventy-two percent of large U.S. energy users are actively pursuing renewable energy procurement.2 The prioritization of corporate social responsibility and investments in renewable energy continue to prompt companies to find new ways to make a more positive impact on the environment.
Some companies opt to produce their own power onsite, primarily via solar panels. The energy generated by an onsite project does not always feed into the local grid, but businesses can generally claim they are supporting renewable energy in some way.
For some businesses, onsite projects aren’t always feasible. Companies may not have the space or capital to pursue a new build on their own, which has led to the huge growth in offsite project options. This is considered a “front-of-the-meter generation system,” and the energy produced from the new renewable project benefits the local grid. To contribute to a large-scale project that greatly impacts the local grid, businesses use the aggregation method in which they use their collective purchasing power to invest in the renewable project.
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In 2019, we will continue to monitor the latest trends in energy that shape the energy landscape and that impact the customer experience. To stay apprised of the latest trends in energy, subscribe to our communications by visiting www.constellation.com/subscribe.