Energy, Oil, and Electricity

What futurists (or “futurologists”) do is to help people plan and prepare for the future, as opposed to offer predictions about the future. This can involve looking at future trends, notably about new technologies and technology trends, and a lot more besides.

If you’re looking for a conference speaker, a keynote speaker, or a workshop presenter or facilitator on this topic, the examples below represent some of the keynote speeches or workshop presentations I’ve given as a futurist speaker in the past. But each presentation is created specifically to suit your needs. If you don’t see a presentation about the future that would work for your conference, by all means contact me, and we’ll see if we can create one specifically for you.

Our Shocking Future: What’s Ahead for Electric Power Utilities

Electricity is the often-overlooked central pivot on which the economy turns. And because electricity is at the center of our economy, electric utilities are buffeted by changes and prone to systemic and political shocks from many different directions. Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and today’s leading futurist. In this presentation, he focuses on the trends that will affect the industry, and the forces that drive them, including:

  • The climate change debate – It’s clear that climate is changing, and whether it’s humanity’s fault or not is of less importance than the public’s expectations that corporations – especially utilities – should do something about it. Moreover, weird weather presents its own challenges, including more violent storms and shifting patterns of peak demand. Where is this leading, and how do you get in front of the issue?
  • Capital market mayhem – The series of crises in Europe are really one big, related crisis that has major implications for the economy, consumption patterns, borrowing costs, and stock values. Meanwhile, China’s growth has slowed, permanently, and it’s capital markets often appear to be overvalued. How might this play out, how will it affect capital markets here, and how do you prepare for the uncertainties ahead?
  • Technology: the predictable wildcard – The technological changes of the next 10 years will exceed the changes of the past 25 years in importance, and will present enormous challenges to the basic business model of electric power utilities. Both within the industry, and within society as a whole, the next 10 years in technology will be earth-shaking, especially as alternative energy becomes competitive without government subsidies.
  • Planning for uncertainty – The only thing that is certain is that the future will catch us by surprise. No matter how smart we are, no matter how hard we work, we will be caught flat-footed over and over again by the unexpected. Fukushima’s experience following the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami clearly demonstrated that. But since the future is inherently unpredictable, the companies that will prosper are those that can recover fastest from surprise, and respond most constructively when it hits, and there are serious tools that can dramatically boost your ability to make the future work for you.

You’ll leave with both a better understanding of what’s ahead, and a toolset that will help you improve your ability to prepare for tomorrow.

The Future Breaks Wide Open: What’s Ahead for Energy & Energy Companies

Conventional wisdom has been saying that the incremental demand from the Rapidly Developing Countries (RDCs) like China and India, added to the steady, but slower growth in demand from the developed countries, must inevitably push the price of oil substantially higher, even to $200/bbl. This, in turn, would help push renewable energy and more efficient uses of energy for heating, production, transport, and cars.

But there are several issues on the horizon that may shatter this conventionally accepted complacency. First is the potential that shale oil could do to the oil industry what shale gas did to the natural gas industry. The United States is already expected to become first self-sufficient, then a net exporter of oil, and has shale oil reserves in excess of 1.5 trillion barrels.

Next, consumer behavior is changing because of demographics, technology, and peer pressure. The boomer generation is approaching retirement – gradually – with the result that they won’t be commuting to work, and will be driving less, potentially much less. Young people are demonstrably less likely to own a car and drive than their parents. This is partly due to a switch in social perception from one where owning a car was cool, to one where owning smartphones is cool, and owning a car is damaging to the environment. Shared ownership, through companies like Zipcars, makes it easy to have access to a car without the expenses of ownership, and given that young people are more likely to live in urban areas, and less likely to have well-established, and well-paying, jobs, the economics of owning a car are much reduced.

And, of course, as goes oil so goes the energy industry as a whole. Cheap oil changes the economics of sustainable and renewable energy, and makes the reduction of greenhouse gases

Richard Worzel is a business visionary, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this overview of the seismic shifts coming to the energy industries, he lays out what’s possible, what’s probable, and how energy companies should prepare for what’s to come.

Innovation and Strategic Thinking: Winning the Race for the Future of Energy

The broad outlines of the future of energy are clear: demand from Rapidly Developing Countries (RDCs) has been and will continue to push up the price of energy, especially oil. Meanwhile, the price of finding and developing new oil reserves is rising as the inexpensive pools have largely been found. Yet, there are unprecedented elements of uncertainty ahead as well. Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a strategic planner, and Canada’s leading futurist. In this overview of the future he discusses the future of energy in the context of the rising uncertainties ahead, including:

  • Oil prices don’t always rise, especially as the newly profitable U.S. shale oil becomes a major factor in the global supply of oil.
  • Climate change, which is pushing consumers and, reluctantly, governments to change energy consuming and producing habits, as well as increasing the number of natural disasters.
  • A often-chancy economic and financial environment threatens growth and stability, making it more difficult to gauge which investments offer the best risk-adjusted returns.
  • Technology continues to change the rules of society, business, and even warfare. It opens up new potentials that have never existed before, and creates new threats as well.

In this environment, those who exploit the tools of foresight and creativity stand to reap the greatest rewards. This is not an environment for the faint of heart, but one that can offer great rewards to those prepared to plan carefully, and turn uncertainty into an advantage. Richard offers not only an assessment of where we are going, but a tool set that can be used to exploit the unsettled nature of events, and turn them to advantage.

Tomorrow’s Power, Tomorrow’s Promise

The energy industries don’t exist in a vacuum. Indeed, because of their central position in our life and industries, the energy industries are affected by a wide range of factors. In this fast-paced and intriguing ‘big picture’ look at tomorrow, futurist Richard Worzel will explore some of the major factors surrounding electricity generation, petroleum, renewable energy sources, and the highly-hyped hydrogen economy of tomorrow to examine how they will affect the industry and its major players, including the future of environmental issues, demographics, and government behaviour. This provocative and lively keynote will explore both the opportunities and pitfalls ahead for the industry.