RBC Imagine Home

Energy and Utilities

Radical new trends and technologies will reshape energy.

Subscribe Today

Share This Article 

The Quest for Immortality: Can the energy industry meet the needs of an ageless society?

The ambition to extend individual lifespans will have an enormous impact on how we consume and produce energy. Longer lives will create much higher demand for energy at the same time as we are transitioning to cleaner sources of power.

This will accelerate the need for greener energy, including utility-scale renewables, distributed renewable generation, cleaner conventional energy production, and emerging technologies.

Discover more about how energy demand will be impacted by longer lifespans.

Download Executive Summary

The Individual Revolution: What impact will prosumers have on tomorrow’s energy markets?

Individuals today have more choice in their energy consumption. They are choosing suppliers based on how and where the supplied power is produced. Smart appliances in the home allow more control over home-heating systems and energy usage, such as setting energy-intensive tasks for off-peak hours.

“We expect the rise of resilient energy prosumers to be supported by continued cost improvements for solar and battery systems, higher EV adoption, and a larger social focus to decarbonize the grid.”

Nelson Ng
Energy Infrastructure Analyst, RBC Capital Markets
Fernando Garcia
Utilities Analyst, RBC Capital Markets


Some individuals can go further, establishing their own off-grid solutions such as wind turbines or solar panels that supply all their own demands, and may even supply energy back onto the grid.

Discover more about the impact of longer lifespans on energy and utilities.

Download Executive Summary

AI Activated: Can AI accelerate the energy transition and create a sustainable future?

A primary role for AI in energy and utilities is to improve efficiency, but it also has the potential to strengthen safety processes. For utility firms, smart grids will coordinate and predict demand and supply. Within power generation infrastructure, such as oil and gas installations, AI can help to optimize maintenance schedules.

Our current energy grids are a relatively simple construct that respond to supply and demand with a limited number of sources. But this system will become increasingly complex with the addition of intermittent sources like wind and solar power, microgrids of prosumers with their own batteries, and potentially overhauled networks for hydrogen.

“AI can manage an increasingly complex system of power supply through smart grids that coordinate utility-scale facilities and smaller distributed generation, including electric vehicle batteries.”

Robert Kwan
Energy Infrastructure Analyst, RBC Capital Markets


Get more insight into AI and the energy transition.

Download Executive Summary

Hybrid Living: Will virtual reality transform oilfield services?

As the home becomes a hub of living, working and socializing, consumption patterns will change. More time at home means new peaks, and potentially different types of energy being consumed, such as power generated at home from solar panels. Resiliency will also increase in importance as power outages may result in a loss in pay.

“Remote operations and enhanced collaboration tools are being increasingly used to complete projects within the oil and gas industry, offering efficiency, safety and emissions reduction benefits.”

Keith Mackey
Oilfield Services Analyst, RBC Capital Markets


While hybrid working is most often associated with white-collar roles, AI will also make remote work on oilfields possible, particularly for hazardous or remote locations.

Find out more about energy demand and consumption in a hybrid world.

Download Executive Summary

The Great Balancing Act: Can demand for more power co-exist with pressure to cut carbon emissions?

The government policies and regulations that will drive the pace of decarbonization may have unintended consequences in heightening socioeconomic and geopolitical divides. We’ve seen this already in debates at the international level about who should pay for the climate crisis. Underdeveloped nations argue that they haven’t had their chance to fully industrialize and are now required to put on the brakes to make up for the excesses of developed economies.

However, we have also seen in recent years for the first time that countries can come together and direct resources to fight an existential threat to all like COVID-19. The tools to tackle global emissions will need to be matched with a similar political will to create pathways across industry, government and finance.

“An aggressive energy transition may have the unintended consequence of exacerbating the wealth gap. For example, the wealthy can better absorb the upfront costs of switching to electric vehicles and heating infrastructure.”

Robert Kwan
Energy Infrastructure Analyst, RBC Capital Markets


Get the outlook on energy transition in a demanding world.

Download Executive Summary

Related Articles:

Get RBC Imagine™ insights now

Ongoing visibility into an ever-evolving future is critical. Explore the RBC Imagine™ Preparing for Hyperdrive executive summary now, and you’ll also receive updates and actionable insights to help bring the future into focus for your business and portfolio.