Last week, HOMER Energy’s CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal brought his expertise in renewable and distributed energy to the Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC) in the Cayman Islands. During the two-day conference, Lilienthal served as a panelist for two important discussions: Islands and 100% Targets for Renewables and Renewables and the Business Model for Utilities. As we reported last month, other distinguished speakers at the conference were Sir Richard Branson and oceanographer Fabien Cousteau.
Islands and 100% Targets for Renewables
This panel looked at the ambitious energy targets some islands set — 100% renewables — and the opportunity for these to serve as a test bed for bringing large scale renewables to islands. The panel explored:
- How feasible is the goal of islands reaching a 100% renewable energy future, and what is the likelihood of doing so by mid-century?
- The challenges of integrating a variety of renewables into the energy mix
- The impact of island reliance on backup generation and energy storage on the economics of high penetration renewables and the relevance of lessons learned on islands to mainland grids
- The importance of political will and what this needs to translate into policy and financial incentives
- The need to stimulate the growth of all renewable technologies to provide the mix needed to cover the full range of needs
- Whether we are focusing enough on energy efficiency measures at the national and regional level for islands
Renewables and the Business Model for Utilities
This panel was a collaborative discussion on the role and positioning of utilities in a diversified energy sector. The discussion explored:
- The future direction for utilities and how their markets are affected by advances in technology
- What technological advancement means for utility business strategies
- The changing market landscape and points of focus along the value chain, including emerging roles
- What a “blueprint” for the future might look like across the region, or whether there is a range of models that will develop and how these might vary from island to island
- What does the transition from “old business model” to “new” look like? What is the balancing act required?
- How utilities respond to disruption in the market, addressing their strategies for customer behavior, competition, the production service model, distribution channels, and government regulation