The electric power grid and the industry is continuing to evolve with major trends happening in 2019 and beyond.
Nuclear Power remains relatively flat and continues to decline. More utilities are shutting down nuclear units due to continued maintenance costs for operations with more utilities decreasing its large dependence on nuclear generation. This trend will likely continue in future years.
Coal Power continues to decline with continued increasing operating costs and clean air regulations. More utilities continue to either shut down coal units or convert them to natural gas generation. With the natural gas prices remaining low, this trend will continue in 2019 and future years.
Natural Gas Power continues to increase with low gas prices and faster return on investment when constructing or purchasing gas plants. Natural Gas remains a large part of utilities' generation mix and continues to increase as long as gas prices remain low. This trend will continue in 2019 and future years.
Hydro Electric Power remains relatively flat despite increases in operational costs. Hydro is still a large percentage for some utilities' power portfolios and will continue in 2019 and beyond.
Renewable Power continues to rise at a rapid rate for all utilities due to tax incentives and society's positive outlook for protecting the environment by utilizing greener and cleaner power. Some utilities are proposing 100% carbon free generation by as early as 2040. As the prices of implementing wind, solar, and energy storage decline, this makes them more attractive. Wind, Solar and Energy Storage continue to rise with some utilities and states making them a large portion of their power portfolio. Renewable generation will continue to rise in 2019 and future years as it becomes more efficient with declining costs for installation. With the increases in funding for SMART Grid, Grid Modernization, and SCADA upgrades for all substation and collector station projects, helps pave the way for renewable energy.
Cybersecurity Protection will continue to rise due to increased threats facing the utility industry with enemy state actors and other acts of terrorism turning to cyberspace for disrupting critical infrastructure. Utilities and governments will continue increased spending for cyber protection in future years due to many more internet and Ethernet connected devices expected, thereby, creating a greater cyberattack surface.