Co-generation, or having a small plant onsite that powers your company directly, could be the next frontier in supply chain sustainability, CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby told the audience at the annual global conference for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, held here in San Antonio last week.
Companies will increasingly look to onsite generation of power, he said, to boost both sustainability and reliability, and keep or gain a competitive edge over competitors.
Beneby shared the stage with Nicholas Jones, energy advisor for ExxonMobil, to talk about the future of energy. The panel was moderated by William B. Cassidy, senior editor at the Journal of Commerce.
“Many think we’re on the verge of a new energy revolution,” Cassidy said, “and this topic deserves a lot more attention.”
Jones said ExxonMobil annually projects future energy demand, with an eye toward what consumers, including businesses, will be seeking. Worldwide energy demand is expected to grow by 35 percent by 2040, he said, but technology will slow that demand.
Cassidy posted a story on the journal’s website Sept. 29 summarizing the panel discussion:
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The United States is “awash in energy,” as oil and shale gas production drive the U.S. and North America closer to what is sometimes called “energy independence.” There’s no guarantee, however, that fuel prices or the cost of power will be lower in the future, according to speakers on an energy outlook panel here Sept. 24.
As the U.S. and other nations around the globe try to balance policies aimed at securing and developing energy resources while reducing the threat of climate change, the overall cost of energy could climb much higher and become much more volatile, disrupting supply chains at the worst and at the least making it more expensive to ship goods around the globe.
“If we don’t get this right, fuel costs might be the least of your concerns,” Doyle N. Beneby, president and CEO of CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipally owned power company, said at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals annual global conference.
“Power costs are probably going to be a bigger part of what you’re concerned about,” he said.
Energy utilities and consumers will increasingly diversify how they source power, Cassidy continues, “much as consumers and retailers are moving into ‘omnichannel’ retailing and transport operators are building more multimodal service portfolios.”
Changing consumer demand, battery storage, distributed generation, smart grids and other technologies will continue to alter the landscape, Beneby said.
No one knows exactly what the future will look like, so CPS Energy is diversifying and partnering with other companies to reduce risk, Beneby said, and make sure it can continue to meet customer demand, all at reasonable cost.
Those are points likely to resonate with the many companies attending last week’s conference, said Cassidy, as they seek guidance when facing our uncertain energy future.
“This energy revolution,” he said, “will have a profound affect on your supply chains.”