Powering Industries That Don't Yet Exist
With world-changing developments and discoveries in science and technology now seeming to take place every other month, it is impossible to predict what the snapshot of the world's industrial scene will be just a few decades from now.
At the beginning of 2007 no one had ever heard of an iPhone and now smartphones occupy the pockets and purses of almost everyone in America. Not 15 years prior to that many people had no clue what an 'internet' was and now most people have no clue what to do when their service goes out.
It was the same during the Industrial Revolution. New products and innovations hit the market regularly and all these new industries would face the same challenge Apple and Internet Service Providers would deal with in the future. They had to figure out how to power themselves. A century ago that meant coal or gasoline in most cases. Now, that might not be the case. Electricity is still widely available and convenient but the world is deep into a state of energy transition right now as most developed countries have taken pledges to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come with them.
However, this transition will likely not halt industrial advancement. New industries will emerge in the coming decades we can't even conceive of right now and many of them will need something with a little more oomph than simple electricity to fully power themselves.
Many of the young entrepreneurs who will create these industries are coming up in a world where the younger generation cares much more deeply about protecting the environment and in many cases would probably only accept energy from fossil fuels in extreme situations. These young entrepreneurs are also looking at energy trends and will probably realize those outlets won't be viable long term for their energy needs anyway.
For those reasons and others, We should expect emergent industries to strongly prefer environmentally conscious and renewable energy sources in the future. While any single source may not be able to fully power a company or industrial complex, it's very reasonable to think future companies will likely run on some combination of solar power, renewable natural gas, wind power, hydro electricity, etc. for the full breadth of their energy needs.
As such, any provider able to adapt to the changing landscape of energy needs will be in prime position to do business with these future companies. It need not even be companies who specialize in things like wind turbines or solar panel production. A company meeting excess energy requirements could sell their extra energy. Emissions facilities with methane digesters or farms with anaerobic digesters could sell their gas to help power future companies.
No company wants to fail and so will look to find the best way to satisfy their energy needs as long term as possible. This is something coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels no longer have a strong claim to. Young entrepreneurs are going to look at it like this: "Would I rather invest in Blockbuster, or Netflix?"
Energy providers simply need to decide which they would rather be.