In roughly 200 blogs since January 1, 2020, ECC assessed the energy picture in the Carolinas, and certainly well beyond the Carolinas. Energy is a big subject, bigger than two states. That is probably the biggest lesson of the year for everyone when energy is considered. The Carolinas are no island.

2020, as with previous years, raised the awareness of climate change. 2020 ushered into eastern and southern coastal areas of the U.S. proof of the potency of climate change as a record year unfolded in tropical storms. Some regions were not battered once, but multiple times in the same storm season.

2020 demonstrated how much change can quickly happen in the energy system. It was no new technology or elected official that did it, either. COVID dramatically lowered the use of energy on a big scale, and something else. “Global greenhouse gas emissions plunged by roughly 2.4 billion tons this year, a 7% drop from 2019 … Daily global carbon emissions dropped by 17% during the peak of pandemic lockdowns in April.” (Source)

Technology waits in the wings for its stage-time. Hydrogen, and green hydrogen. Small nuclear, micro-reactors. More solar and wind. Research into wave energy. Geothermal deployment. New, smart meters to make homes energy sippers versus guzzlers. Electric vehicles.

Business is changing. Mergers, spin-offs, and massive transformations of business offerings are frequent. The sentiment of old logos and the good old days are being cast off in companies that see electric customer services changing fast. Companies have to adapt. What was just about “keeping the lights on” is now about pragmatic support of communities, impeccable financial acumen, and the ability to change in a heartbeat. Change bravely.

Proof is in front of us everyday that change can happen. Good change. Yet it does not happen on its own.

What holds change back? People. “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof,” said economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

People look at what they believe versus what is possible on a new path. Facts or not. The changes noted just in this short blog are true, but not easy for some people. On all these counts, though, change will happen in time because the business, environmental, governance, and stakeholder conditions to remain viable as-is are changing. Status quo is not the future. Timing is the variable.