The immense challenges of today’s world have amplified the need for reliable and resilient infrastructure. COVID-19 has made power, water, natural gas and telecommunications more essential than ever. At the same time, catastrophic wildfire and hurricane seasons have underscored the growing impacts of climate change, reinforcing the importance of efforts to both mitigate and adapt to the change.
Most utilities have adjusted their operations to adhere to health and safety restrictions while maintaining uninterrupted service. At the same time, the global outbreak has highlighted the urgency of transitioning to new technologies and data-driven approaches that will enable more efficient management of critical systems and aging assets. Furthermore, the economic impact of COVID-19 is reducing some utilities’ revenues, which are critical to meeting both of these goals, adding tension and complexity to the prioritization of investments.
2021 Strategic Directions: Megatrends Report
Black & Veatch’s 2021 Strategic Directions: Megatrends Report analyzes survey data from more than 1,000 professionals across the power, water, telecommunications and natural gas sectors, and the commercial & industrial and manufacturing industries. The report couples primary research with deep market insight and expertise to inform 2021 decision-making, helping to drive capital spending while positioning utilities for the future.
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More efficient and sustainable operations have long been goals for utilities, but this has only become more challenging in the era of climate change. Utilities are being tasked with adapting faster than ever while also addressing more frequent extreme weather events, natural disasters, and regulatory structures that often do not keep pace with changing market dynamics.
Reliable service always has been core to every utility’s mandate, but achieving this is becoming more complex in the face of aging infrastructure and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events.
Leveraging smart infrastructure to enable data-driven utility operations has long been a work in progress, and
advancement has been uneven. While many utilities have access to vast amounts of data thanks to deployment of advanced metering infrastructure and sensors across new and legacy assets, only a few early adopters have operationalized the data in a significant way.