Urbanization and smart cities, the changing dynamics of unconventional gas, and opportunities generated from increased environmental awareness and legislation will be the key topics in 2014 and beyond, according to Frost & Sullivan’s predictions for the global energy and environment market.
The predictions are based on F&S’ 2013 Search for Growth survey, which involved 1835 executives in more than 40 countries globally.
According to the findings, urbanization and smart cities will drive changing market dynamics for energy and environment market participants. A growing percentage of the global population will be living in cities and urban areas in the coming decades. Higher concentrations of larger populations bring challenges including:
- Urban populations will be higher income, and the growing middle class will consume more goods, resources, energy and water, and create more waste and pollution.
- Increasing waste and pollution will drive awareness and the need for cleaner, more efficient energy and transportation.
- Smart cities that can better use existing resources through improved monitoring, controls and coordination of services and infrastructure can improve quality of life for residents and attract more businesses.
Smart systems have been in place across the transmission and distribution space and are now also moving into commercial and residential buildings.
The emergence of shale gas and shale oil in the oil and gas space is also increasingly impacting the energy and environment sector. Natural gas has replaced coal as the main fuel source for electricity in the US. China has abundant, though technically difficult to access, shale beds that, if tapped, could further increase the country’s economic clout on the global stage. Europe is looking at shale gas to increase domestic energy sources but also balancing that with environmental concerns.
Environmental concerns, highlighted by industry participants as a key area of interest, are an issue with shale extraction because they drive the potential for smart cities, Frost & Sullivan says.