Building tomorrow's electricity sector

Future of Electricity

In its third year of collaboration with the World Economic Forum on the Future of Electricity, Bain has focused on innovation and transformation of the electricity grid at the "grid edge," along the three trends of decentralization, digitalization and electrification. These trends encompass all major technologies, including distributed storage, distributed generation, smart meters, smart appliances and electric vehicles, that impact the electricity system. This year, the effort was led by Joe Scalise, head of Bain's Utilities & Alternative Energy practice for the Americas, and Joe Herger, a partner in Bain's Americas Utilities practice.

The findings of the 2017 research, The Future of Electricity: Transforming the Grid Edge, lay out how these three technology trends will drive the next wave of innovation and value in the electric sector. The combination of these grid edge trends are bringing disruption to the electricity industry and paving the way toward an energy system where traditional boundaries between producers, distributors and consumers are blurred, leading to both increased complexity and greater value. The role of the network is evolving beyond one way provision of electricity to a platform maximizing the value of all the resources to which it is connected.

The report identifies 12 recommendations for the public and private sector to overcome the key challenges in this electricity transformation and to hasten the adoption of grid edge technologies and the benefits they bring. The findings were presented in a closed door session at the Industry Governors' meeting during the Annual Meeting in Davos of the World Economic Forum in January.