2019 energy outlook: Verv chief executive Peter Davies


The key challenge for 2019 and beyond will be regulation keeping pace with innovation, writes Verv chief executive, Peter Davies. He thinks 2019 is about joining the dots between learning and actually doing.

Innovation outpacing regulation has often been the case in the energy sector. But now more than ever, the consequences of it falling behind could be catastrophic.

With the dangers of climate change having been made more poignant than ever in the latest IPCC report, and with ever-increasing distributed renewable resources, as well as the increased uptake of EV, battery charging and new technologies, the energy system has no choice but to embrace new and disruptive technology in order to withstand a fast-changing landscape.

While regulators and policy makers have demonstrated their willingness to embrace new technologies, with programmes like the Ofgem sandbox offering regulatory flexibility to companies in order to explore new and challenger technologies, the crucial step will be how quickly they can take their learnings and implement change.

That said, with their ears wide open, there has never been a more exciting time to shake up the energy market and shape the future. 2018 was about embracing new technology and proving the appetite for it, 2019 will be about connecting the dots between the best of it in order to form a cohesive structure that regulation can accompany in order to ensure consumers are not just kept safe, but instead put at the front and centre.

The intertwining relationship between decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation will be explored in more depth in 2019 with blockchain playing a big part. Just as importantly though, a fourth “d” for democratisation will be added to this trio.

Long-existing business models continue to be disrupted in all industries and we are starting to see this trickle into energy with major players beginning to realise that new services and choices need to be offered to consumers, and at lower prices. Consumers have long been billed by kWh of electricity and confused by their energy bills. I believe we will see significant steps towards changing how consumers engage with their energy in 2019. 

One thing is for sure, granular energy data that can be unlocked through technology like IoT and artificial intelligence will be key to unearthing new energy services that span everything from energy management, to peer-to-peer renewable energy trading, to DSR and far far beyond. 

According to the World Economic Forum, the world produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and 90% of all data has been produced in the last two years. 

Data holds the key to the future, if the digitalised energy system is to genuinely work seamlessly and put the consumer at its heart. 

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