Phil New, our chief executive, will be speaking in the first plenary session at the British Institute of Energy Economics conference, ‘Consumers at the Heart of the Energy System?’
Energy consumers in the industrial age have typically been passive actors. Both businesses and household consumers have flicked switches, or started engines without wanting to know much about where their energy comes from, provided that it is available when they want it and it doesn’t cost too much. But this characteristic of energy use is changing and may be about to change dramatically. With the emergence of advanced technology, ‘smart’ consumers can potentially make more informed choices about when and how much energy they use and ultimately become ‘prosumers’ – energy producers and storers – themselves. But will consumers embrace new approaches to energy, what wider benefits could be delivered, and how can any challenges be met?
This session will look at how consumers’ relationship with energy is changing, how this might evolve in the future, and what can be learnt from the experiences of other countries and market sectors. It will assess what consumers stand to gain or lose from playing a more active role in the energy system, and how far they will actually engage.
Phil has also written a series of articles for the World Economic Forum on putting consumers at the heart of the energy system.