Can high-tech companies compete with mainline utlities for energy customers?
Want to really cut your electricity bill? Some might say to call your light-footed high-tech dealer. But others will simply rely on their mainline utilities.
Indeed, WGL Holdings and Southern Co. are now testing a battery storage system at a 1-megawatt solar array in Georgia. If it works, the device will harness solar electrons and integrate that power onto the grid when the sun is not shining.
Georgia may be known for its coal. But it also has a lot of sunshine. The takeaway: If Southern Co. — one of the country’s major coal-generating utilities — is investing in modern “distributed” generation, then other utilities and high tech enterprises will soon follow suit. But exactly who wins or what types of companies dominate this space is still uncertain.
In fact, key research is showing that revenues for traditional utilities in the next 10 years may fall by as much as 15 percent, or $48 billion over that time, says Accenture. That’s a direct result of new competitors moving in and taking business away from what have been monopolies, as well as greater costs tied to integrating variable sources like wind and solar energy onto the grid.