ETS16: Welcome to the chaos

ETS16: Welcome to the chaos

Think about all the big changes happening in energy today, and how they really mark major disruptions in the space. A quick list includes:

  • The fact that President Obama just announced he will not be supporting the Keystone Pipeline.
  • The Clean Power Plan will impact thousands of utilities, jobs and trillions of dollars of market capital.
  • The fate of demand response lies in the hands of Justice Scalia et al at the US Supreme Court.
  • Over 60% of new generation in 2015 has come from renewable energy, and NASA reported that Antarctica had net gains in its icecaps.
  • With Chicago, New York and California/Hawaii, we now have the largest utility in the country, the most forward thinking utility in the country and the most solar and storage deployed in the country, respectively.

And we’re only getting started. All these changes—dizzying in scope—have three things in common: An intertwining of evolving business models, policies, and technologies. For example:

  • Business models: Uber and Lyft are beating taxis because they give customers more control. Energy customers are taking control whether we like it or not, and the shifting markets are adapting to a new consumer, and that is having a multiplier impact on grid economics.
  • Policy: “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose” —to the energy industry, where rulemaking is arduous and akin to herding wet cats, there is no room for poetry, but creative and novel rulemaking is changing the energy landscape across the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Europe.
  • Technology: In 1985 did your school, office, or other workplace have an IT department? Did they know what IT meant? Advances in technology will lead to millions of new jobs that haven’t even been thought of yet over the next 10 to 20 years, and these new skills will have to be developed, nurtured and integrated into curriculum, training, skills, and ultimately job descriptions.

It is kind of chaotic, as Robbie Wright, Vice President of Innovation at Direct Energy, noted at ETS@Chicago in July 2015:


We’re undergoing massive disruption, whether we know it or not, in the energy space and it’s delicious and chaotic.

– Robbie Wright, Vice President of Innovation at Direct Energy, ETS@chicago, July 2015

How to make sense of all this chaos out there? And harness it for positive change? Zpryme’s ETS16 event will explore “Transforming the Chaos,” by bringing in visionary leaders who are driving innovation amidst chaos. We are bringing great minds, institutions and doers to the table to discuss and debate what happens next with the influencers and decision makers who shape the next century of infrastructure that includes not just energy infrastructure, but water and transportation as well.

Over the next four months we will share our series of four articles on the T.E.C.H. solving the Chaos at ETS16. Namely:

  • Transformation: Overhauling business models, standards, regulatory, policy, funding opportunities.
  • Emergence: Emerging leaders and technologies from inside and outside the industry.
  • Convergence: Bringing it all together through new project participants, systems and infrastructure, national and international.
  • Humans: Ensuring the most vital part of energy and infrastructure remain at the forefront of the conversation.

Want to share your perspective? We are inviting you and everyone in the energy industry to participate in our first Chaos Index survey. We want to hear from you about how much all this industry change looks from your perspective. We’ll compile the information and share it at the opening of ETS16, and in report form. Take the survey here.

Chaotic times ahead. Exciting times ahead.

Tune in and follow us!