This briefing paper explores macro-trends in the energy industry that could be influential to the alliance during its next strategic plan (2025-2029). It is one of a series of four papers that NEEA staff and the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) have collaborated on to inform the Board about the potential impact of these trends and help enable it to assess risk, identify opportunities and guide the direction and goals of the alliance. These briefing papers are intentionally general in nature and not focused on NEEA or NEEA’s potential role in the region.
The purpose of this paper is to identify and understand the macro-trends that are expected to impact the Northwest energy sector over the next decade. These drivers include policy design, market trends, technology development, customer values and interests, regulatory approaches, system design, physical resource characteristics and customer load. The primary source of information underlying this landscape assessment is 67 interviews conducted with stakeholders throughout the Northwest and national energy industry between July 13 and August 13, 2021. These observations from across the region provide a wide spectrum of perspectives from different roles, inclinations and geographies. This paper chronicles the consistent themes that emerged from the conversations and acknowledges divergent views and opinions.