Technological changes and the electrical sector

The routine of everyday life gives the impression that there will never be change. This is incorrect. Early in the 20th Century electricity did not exist. Today it is essential for the enjoyment of our high living standards. The inventions of electricity happened approximately 100 years ago, and look at what has happened since.

Some technologies may seem a long way off as they are intricate and demand the highest level of expertise to develop, transition (implement), and maintain. However, electricity is now part of a technical, environmental and social context – which informs policy makers. The Board is aware of this, being reflected in its strategic activity, including the two work streams referred to above.

The future is positive for electrical workers, however, they need to anticipate and respond appropriately to changing circumstances – the landscape within which the energy exists is transforming. Just as today’s electrical engineer is able to design automate and computerise approaches to control electrical processes, a class of electrical worker will need the skills and expertise to work with energy based platforms that 10 years’ ago did not exist.

For example in Europe, cloud based energy technology is being used, enabling those with large property portfolios to collect, control and analyse all their sites through the cloud. Would New Zealand’s electrical workforce and regulatory environment be able to accommodate the cloud? Electricity was once ‘just’ an energy source, now it is part of a process that produces information that is used to generate knowledge. In the words of one commentator:

Historically energy management has been seen primarily in the context of one building or one site… Cloud based operations open up the opportunity for many bits of fragmented and disparate data, from different sites, buildings [including residential],devices, databases, equipment and sensors to be bought together.

For further information please see: The future of electricity in domestic buildings [PDF 3.2MB](external link)