The energy realm is experiencing deep transformations.
Integrated players are witnessing the renewal of their models under the influence of digitalisation, while their market positions are also threatened by new entrants, be they renewable electricity producers, alternative suppliers, aggregators or independent storage operators. For all players, the energy mix is swiftly changing and this new diversity impacts even rather classical segments, such as transportation, which is opening up to electricity, natural gas and hydrogen.
Fossil fuel suppliers (natural gas, coal, oil...) are benefitting from the globalization of their markets. Those remain however all too often influenced by political factors, with high levels of price uncertainty and volatility. In addition, the legitimacy of these players has to be relentlessly proclaimed and strengthened towards the public, in the face of the soaring renewable sector. In turn, opportunities to diversify into these new renewable fields can be grasped in this new world, as examplified by the fast-growing area of biomass supply.
Investors are seeking reassurance about the robustness of business models, when it comes to brownfield assets, and are in parallel thoroughly interested in innovative players, for example those stemming from the arena of Smart Grids.
Consumers are on the lookout for efficient, affordable and environmentally-friendly energy sources which, by the same token, would originate possibly from their surroundings and not from a remote continent or country. They wish to take over their consumption, which should be optimised not only for themselves, but also at the local level (other buildings, industrial park where they belong, district or regional level...). Hydrogen is a serious candidate to become a mainstream energy source, but it remains to be proven that hydrogen can be produced on a large scale, at an affordable cost and in a sustainable way.
Eventually, States, supranational entities and regulators have to reconcile sometimes conflicting objectives, such as reasonable prices over time, the security of supply and the much-needed decarbonation of the economy.