How will new energy technologies, such as smart homes and autonomous vehicles, change our lives in the future? What do customers really want from their energy suppliers? What’s the biggest change the industry will face in the next 50 years?
These were just some of the questions addressed by the panel at the FutureTech event.
FutureTech was hosted by the Young Professional’s Network at the Energy Institute, a professional body for the energy sector. Held at London’s Rich Mix community arts hub, the event saw Shell’s Roger Hunter join Shetal Edwards from EDF Blue Lab, EDF’s energy innovation accelerator, and Laura Sandys from Challenging Ideas, a consultancy specialising in the energy sector.
The panellists acknowledged that the energy system is changing. As demand for energy grows and technological advances create new possibilities, energy companies are seeing a shift in how they work and the services they provide.
“Energy consumers are best placed to tell us what they want,” said Hunter. Sandys and Edwards agreed, noting that by understanding customer needs and concerns, energy companies can explore technologies to address them. The growth of smart homes, improved energy storage and in-car fuel payments demonstrate part of this trend.
The conversation also touched upon challenges such as how to deal with growing energy demand and the need to curb emissions.
But with these challenges also come exciting opportunities. “This year I hailed my first autonomous vehicle. I was in Las Vegas, I hailed it on my phone and it took me up and down the Strip. Autonomous vehicles are really happening and I think that five years ago we just wouldn’t have said that,” concluded Hunter. “The speed of change now is increasing and it’s incredible.”