12 Dec Lessons Learned from the REV Connect ’17 Workshop
The REV Connect ’17 conference, held October 17, 2017 in New York City, brought together New York utility, technology, and government leaders to discuss how REV ideas can be developed and scaled. As part of the forum, conference attendees participated in an ideation workshop to brainstorm business models around specific energy topics. This eye-opening exercise allowed leaders to work through real-world problems together and better understand how others approach similar issues.
Here are the top 3 lessons learned from the workshop:
1) REV ideas are ripe for implementation. The workshop surfaced several distinct and timely REV ideas in the following categories: EV adoption and integration, building-to-grid, data services, energy storage, and affordable distributed energy resources (DER) for low and moderate-income customers. Cross-functional workshop teams discussed how some opportunities are technology-enabled and require infrastructure roll out to reach scale, while others are new business model approaches that foster customer engagement and DER adoption. A common thread and exciting sign of progress across all ideas was that technology readiness was not cited as a barrier; i.e., with the right market players in place, these ideas are ripe for implementation today.
2) Business model mapping exercise highlighted the need to embrace new stakeholder dynamics. When participants mapped how energy, money and other value drivers would flow between stakeholders for each REV idea raised, several things became clear. First, all of the business model maps showed more stakeholders and value drivers than what exists today. While business as usual is not an option to reach New York State’s energy goals, the upside benefit for embarking upon change is present. Second, each REV idea had its own unique business model map. Some ideas required active and interconnected participation by multiple market participant groups, while others could be implemented in a more streamlined hub and spokes relationship format. This showed the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration among market partners to get new business models off the ground.
3) Killer applications with clear value propositions can jumpstart the market. Akin to many startup opportunities, the key to getting REV opportunities off the ground may be to start with a targeted application that can lead to a big REV goal down the line. For example, workshop groups tackling energy storage discussed the opportunity to use a utility performance incentive for system efficiency as an immediate way to enhance the value proposition associated with energy storage, at the customer level. Multiple workshop groups proposed ways for utilities to securely transfer granular data on customer energy use to DER providers for a fee, enabling companies both to better target clean energy solutions to customer needs and to verify load reductions that are bid into markets. Aggregated up, in the long run, these types of solutions can also lead to a portfolio approach for grid optimization, which would provide tremendous value to other stakeholders.
What this workshop made clear is that the potential for collaboration in the marketplace is very real, as REV ideas with strong customer value propositions are ripe for implementation today. Each REV idea may support different partnership structures, but all will be driven in a way that plays to the market participant’s strength and aggregates expertise.
Although we will not always have the luxury of face to face discussions, the REV Connect portal will allow these conversations to continue, and REV opportunities to surface and mature. As John Rhodes, chair of the New York Public Service Commission and former CEO of NYSERDA, remarked at the conclusion of the conference, “We can do this.”