Innovative Leaders Will Carry the Global Energy Industry Forward
Written by Ted Konnerth, CEO of Egret Consulting
The energy industry is changing rapidly — with governmental regulations, consumer demand and environmental impacts that will continue to grow.
To change in a more sustainable and responsible manner, it is essential to both find and mentor innovative leaders who are both optimistic about the possibilities of alternative energies and realistic about how to achieve market success.
The energy leaders of today and the future succeed through the company organizational structure and support system that best enables their talents. Technological advances in the energy industry, coupled with policy changes and environmental impacts, has ushered in a new era of talent requirements and a new type of leader to move companies and organizations involved in the global industry forward.
What makes an innovative leader?
The talent it takes to lead a company is not easily transferable from industry to industry. Successful leaders tend to specialize in their industry and garner the knowledge of the customer and channel influences that shape that industry.
Take for example, the tide of new technologies sweeping through the lighting sector. The emergence of energy efficient LED technology ushers in the need for talented leadership to guide companies through cultural transitions as channel relationships begin to change. Those individuals who are willing to conduct business in a new way — while still understanding how business has traditionally been done — will succeed. In this age where the energy industry is increasingly reliant on new technologies (smart meters, DC distribution, grid improvements, etc.), leaders must stay abreast of changes in new technologies and opportunities to guide their companies to pioneer and partner with like-minded innovative companies and individuals. They must also be keenly aware of legislative and policy issues affecting their industry.
How organizations cultivate, develop and attract innovative leaders
The energy sector requires talented individuals with strength in designing, implementing and managing new technologies as well as research and development practices. The key is to identify individuals who understand the pace of technology and who also meld well with company culture. With rapidly changing technology and channel partnerships, it will be necessary to attract and retain emerging leaders who can bridge the gap from legacy relationships to new solutions — all within an industry that has been largely resistant to change.
Energy companies of the future will encourage a culture of innovation and reward innovative thinkers for their creativity and contributions to future products, customers and marketing concepts. Creating a company that is a destination site for people to work provides a constant stream of top tier talent to attract and change the company culture from a traditional legacy company to an innovative, market leader company.
Why innovative leaders are crucial to the future of the energy industry
Innovative leaders are the captains steering the ships of progress. Sustainability and efficiency depends on people who think and act with both in mind. Companies with new modes of thinking with products and services that change the energy industry will advance it. The opportunity for substantial growth occurs in times of rapid change, and the industry faces unprecedented changes right now.
Leadership must guide companies in the energy industry through seismic shifts in the years ahead. These leaders have a track record of success in forward-thinking technology companies. They are executives who see beyond the defined boundaries of the past. Energy-related companies are hiring chief technology officers and innovation officers who understand how important research and development is, yet also understand the pulse of the market and end customers. C-level energy leaders of the future will embrace change and encourage the adoption of technology to become more efficient, more reliable and more sustainable.
The energy industry is expanding with alternative energy sources, new products that can have significant impacts on energy conservation and new approaches to save T&D energy losses. The leadership opportunities within this industry are unlimited.
Ted Konnerth is the founder, president and CEO of Egret Consulting Group — a retained search firm specializing exclusively in the electrical industry. Ted was the global V.P., Sales for Cooper Lighting prior to starting Egret and holds a Ph.D. in psychology.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly