It really is difficult to see how utility companies can survive without either an ultra-rapid transition to new business models, or acquisitions. The trouble is getting a utility company to turn rapidly is a bit like getting a colossal cruise liner to do the same, they are just not built for it. On the other hand, very often when a huge company buys a small nimble upstart, they don't know what to do with it, and the employees of said upstart get bored and frustrated and move on. It really is exciting to watch this energy transition. Being on the inside (recruiting for energy storage players at both utility and behind the meter scale) we see and hear a lot of what is going on, and where skills, talent and focus are being deployed. My money is many of the big utilities won't see out the course.
Despite large grid-scale deployment making up 84% of installed capacity, growth of behind-the-meter storage will likely dominate in the years to come. “If you are an energy retailer and a large number of your customers not only have PV but also have residential storage attached, then they are procuring less electricity from you. There's a threat to their future revenue streams, based on increasing levels of self-generation from their customers,” explained Goldie-Scot. But the threat does not stop with residential. “If you are a utility looking at your very valuable commercial and industrial (C&I) users, if they have greater behind-the-meter energy storage and on-site generation, once again, they are not only purchasing less electricity from you, but they are probably managing their electricity bill or their electricity demand in a smarter way to reduce thing like demand charges,” adds Goldie-Scot.