Energy ties many aspects of our modern life together. It drives economic growth and influences our standards of living. But in the coming years, the energy market will undergo a number of changes that will bring more uncertainty to the marketplace.

As the market continues to evolve to meet consumer demand, this brings a lot of opportunity for new innovation. Here are four trends to watch out for in the energy industry:

1. Renewable energy

Our reliance on conventional forms of energy has been shifting for years as companies continue to diversify to new types.

In 2015, only 13 percent of electricity in the U.S. came from renewable energy sources. By 2017, this figure had risen to nearly 20 percent.

The slow shift toward renewable energy is also evident in the electric-vehicle industry, which will make up 35 percent of all new car sales in the next 20 years. This is a sign that the habits and preferences of consumers are changing.

2. Smart electricity grid

Many people have probably heard of the electricity grid but they may not know exactly what it does. The grid refers to the network of transmission lines that deliver electricity from the power plant to homes and businesses. It’s what charges your laptop and turns on the lights in your home.

Smart grids have sensors that gather and transmit data so they can automatically adjust electricity flows. Here are just a few benefits of smart electricity grids:

  • They transmit energy more efficiently
  • They make it easier to manage variations in consumption
  • They restore electricity more quickly after power outages
  • They reduce peak demand which in turn lowers electricity rates

You can expect smart electricity grid hardware to pick up significantly in 2018 and the coming years.

3. An aging utility workforce

According to an assessment from the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 percent of natural gas and electric utility employees are preparing to retire in the next five years.

This is worrisome because every time a longtime employee leaves, the company loses the valuable knowledge that person has gained over the years of employment.

This could create a skills gap in the energy industry that could be difficult to overcome. Utility companies will need to begin aggressively recruiting new employees to avoid this situation.

4. Energy storage devices

Energy storage devices will be the vehicle that truly allows renewable energy to take off. That’s because renewable energy sources have been held back due to the lack of storage systems.

Without a way to store energy, we’re still stuck relying on traditional sources of energy to get by. Energy storage allows us to store energy without continually having to maintain a balance between supply and demand.

Energy storage is a growing area for solar manufacturers because it maximizes the capacity for wind and solar energy. Essentially, energy storage devices can be seen as warehouses for the electricity industry.

According to many industry reports, the battery based storage capacity will grow up to 45GW in the next five years.

The energy industry continues to evolve at a pace that can be hard to keep up with. That’s why many businesses find it beneficial to work with an energy broker.

A qualified energy broker will stay on top of changes in the marketplace so that you don’t have to. They will negotiate with the supplier on your behalf in order to secure the most competitive utility rates.

And finding the right broker doesn’t have to be difficult. Broker Online Exchange partners with some of the top energy brokers in the country.

We can connect you to an energy broker that understands your industry and can help you strategically find the right plan and supplier for your business. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.