Our energy systems have been developed over many decades, with decisions regarding its shape and technology mix being made by politicians, government officials and senior industry leaders.

Great benefits for consumers have been delivered by this approach which has persisted through and beyond the introduction of wholesale and retail markets across many sectors.

Energy is a highly capital-intensive business with powerful incumbents and areas of natural monopoly. It is likely that a top-down approach will continue to have a role to play, but there are powerful signs emerging that the voice of the energy consumer will start to be heard ever more loudly.

Energy consumers have been relatively passive users of the products and services provided by the industry. For their cars, they can choose a petrol or diesel but both come from oil. For heating, the choice is gas, electricity or oil, but in most cases the availability and overwhelming economic differences make the decision for them.

The pressing need to decarbonise our energy system to mitigate climate change has brought an array of new technologies to market, with rapidly changing economics providing consumers with real choices.

Consumer pull in areas such as electric cars, distributed energy conversion, smart homes, and energy storage may finally allow the customer to be king in energy.

To support this, the energy industry will need an entirely new approach; an ability to innovate quickly to provide new products and services, to invest in infrastructure to support changing customer tastes, and to continually integrate a complex and fast-moving energy system.

The challenges these changes will bring will provide exciting opportunities for our engineers working in the energy sector. They will need to learn how to continue to provide vital public services in a dynamic customer driven environment.


ITN screening

The IET has again partnered with ITN Productions partners to produce an online programme exploring the challenges, achievements and future of the sector.

The IET works vigorously to inspire, inform and influence members, engineers and technicians and this is brought to life through the programme.

The 2017 programme will be launched at the IET President’s Address and form part of an extensive communications campaign featuring IET members, industry partners, government partners, as well as relevant journalists, writers and bloggers.

For more information on the programme or to tell your story please contact Simon Shelley, Head of Industry News at


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