Making predictions is a risky activity. Making predictions in the utility industry can be perilous. History is filled with missed or prematurely exuberant pronouncements of the future of utilities and energy. For example, in the late 20th century, many predicted that the world’s oil supply had reached peak production and would become scarce. Instead, shale gas and oil are in abundance. In the 1990s, people predicted that fuel cells and hydrogen would dominate the landscape by 2010, another illustration that predictions can fail to reach their promise.
Notwithstanding the peril, some clear utility trends are emerging on the horizon. They are likely to form the foundation of the industry’s future. One can argue about the pace, or even the direction of these trends, but one cannot argue that they will not happen in the next 10 years or so.