Get ready for a whole new energy market in 2017. This is the message from Oded Distel, Head of Israel NewTech. As we mark the end of 2016 and look to the future, Distel has some dramatic forecasts for the energy sector:
“The old model, which has been around for decades, of the electricity utility which brings energy ‘end to end’ from production to the customer, is on its way out, and the players are already redefining their roles in the market,” says Distel.
Israel NewTech is dedicated to supporting Israel’s cleantech – water and alternative energy – sectors, and part of its activity is engagement with the international community to see where the sectors are headed and what opportunities lie ahead for Israeli companies.
“A senior manager at a large German energy utility recently told me they now view their main value not in their energy factories and infrastructure, but rather in their consumer data and their relationship with their customers. This is a real paradigm shift in the industry,” says Distel.
This change in the energy sector reflects a general trend in which huge international players are extending into new territories and using their immense resources to enable what was not possible before. “In a world in which Google is making cars and Elon Musk’s Tesla is the second largest provider of solar energy in the U.S., the barriers about who does what are crashing down,” says Distel.
What should startups and companies active in the alternative energy arena focus on in 2017 in order to succeed? “Investors are looking for clear business models. Energy storage is a very hot arena now. A lot of energy markets want to go into renewable energy, but the lack of storage is a barrier, and managing the demand is a challenge. Companies which will be able to provide efficient solutions for energy storage and energy efficiency, with a clear business model, will be able to capture the attention of the investment community,” says Moran Buganim-Gold, Head the energy arena at Israel NewTech.
The new frontier for alternative energy in 2017 will be Africa, according to Buganim-Gold and Distel. “Alternative energy can be a real game-changer in the developing world, and today’s technology is what will make it possible. When someone can pay their solar energy bill through a mobile app, and alternative energy can circumvent even challenges of infrastructure, the sky’s the limit.”