When energy analysts talk about their jobs one of the most common reactions is “oh, so you mean oil and gas”, or to a lesser (but increasing degree) “oh, so you study solar and wind power”. While it’s true that much of the focus in the energy sector is focused on these main areas, there are many facets to the industry. In the broadest sense, all industry relies on energy for production and manufacturing to keep machines running and factories producing, but the energy industry is one in and of itself.
Raw materials (admittedly including oil and gas) are the basic components that keep the energy industry running and producing. Coal is still the most popular source of fuel for many power plants in the world and the sheer scale of the industry (though dwindling) is often overlooked when discussing energy in casual conversation. With renewables, new minerals and metals are also increasingly being mined and commercialized allowing us to transition to a zero-carbon energy landscape; and let’s not forget uranium mining for nuclear power.
One of the key sources of data and indicators for the energy industry are the equipment manufacturers. From the biggest turbines to the smallest wires, the energy industry’s equipment suppliers are an industry unto themselves producing the components and heavy machinery that’s needed to produce and transport electricity.
Water and Wastewater
Equally as vital to our daily lives as electricity is water. Of course, water and electricity don’t generally mix, but in terms of their supply water, and electricity and gas industries share many of the same characteristics in their supply and end-use billing. Each of these sub-industries learns from and serves as a model to the other especially in countries which have embarked on a path of deregulation and unbundling of utilities.