By Robert Hickson 26/09/2016

The Economist magazine and EY (the consultancy firm formerly known as Ernst & Young) have been producing a range of videos recently about industries facing significant change. This one about alternative energy is well worth a look (15 minutes of your time).



The two key points I took away from it are:

“Big oil” is far from dead

“Disruption” (one of the latest over-used phrases) doesn’t mean the decline and death of established industries. The video shows how at least some oil and other energy companies are adapting to different types of energy production through using their core capabilities in new ways. Such as moving from building floating oil rigs to floating wind farms. And, by shifting from energy production to energy management systems.

We are seeing this in the transport sector too. While start-up and IT companies are creating new ways to travel by car, it may still be the standard car companies that actually deliver the products to the masses.

The key issue isn’t who is doing the “innovation” or “disruption” but how are we able to get new developments out into the world so that they can make a positive difference.


Community collaboration that works

It’s not all about the big energy boys. We are still in the early stages here of developing communities that collaborate as energy systems. Germany, and other northern European countries show how this can work in practice.

That farm or factory down the road may not be an evil polluter, but a key component in a local renewable energy system. Energy companies, local and central government agencies (including regulators) here will need to change their approach too. Some of these issues have already been flagged by the Royal Society of NZ. And touched on in the Radio NZ series on “Cities of Tomorrow“.


Featured image: Andrea Boldizsar  via Unsplash