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Decarbonization, Electrification, Climate Change, Energy Transition Named Top Trends

Black & Veatch’s newest report identifies four ‘Megatrends’ that are driving the repowering of the U.S. power industry

U.S. electric utilities are under growing pressure to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and integrate cleaner, more sustainable energy sources in a bid to meet aggressive net-zero energy targets, reaffirms the 2022 Megatrends in Power  report from Black & Veatch and Clarion Energy.

Based on a survey of more than 200 power industry professionals, the 2022 Megatrends in Power report identifies four major trends – decarbonization, electrification, climate adaptation and energy transformation – that continue to drive decision-making for 2022 and beyond, helping the power industry position for a pending net-zero future.

“U.S. electric utilities face enormous pressure to accelerate the energy transition by investing in new transmission to support renewable growth as well as the critical gird modernization assets that will help the industry meet its aggressive net-zero energy targets,” said Mario Azar, president of Black & Veatch’s Energy and Process Industries business.

Available as a free download, 2022 Megatrends in Power is the third report in the company’s Megatrends report series, which pair primary research with deep market insight and expertise to inform the American energy landscape. The 2022 report was developed in conjunction with Clarion Energy, a media leader covering power generation, transmission and distribution.

The new report examines four megatrends that are setting the stage for the next decade of a rapidly evolving energy ecosystem:

  • Decarbonization: With renewable energy reshaping the power sector, decarbonization is grabbing a bigger foothold among governments, utilities and companies eager to lower their carbon emissions – for example, 65 percent of respondents have emissions reduction or clean energy goals in place. But going green doesn’t happen overnight, and requires thoughtful planning, available technologies and perhaps most important – funding.
  • Electrification: When the topic of electrification comes up, most people immediately point to transportation as the main contributor to emissions. Although the Biden Administration’s recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will help boost investment in electric vehicles, large-scale electrification requires a multi-pronged approach that also includes energy production and the heavy industries.
  • Climate Adaptation: Power utilities are heeding the COP26 call to protect their customers from the effects of climate change and the widespread blackouts caused by extreme weather events. But if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so more than half (57 percent) of respondents to our survey are leveraging risk analysis and modelling to help prioritize resilience projects.
  • Energy Transformation: The energy transition is inevitable, but what this means exactly remains unclear. Transitioning to the green energy economy will require sweeping upgrades that stretch beyond building a diverse portfolio of distributed generation sources. Players are optimistic that the funding allocated by the IIJA will help enable a more resilient, flexible, decarbonized grid

“Sustainability is the overarching trend that is driving the transition to a cleaner energy landscape, reshaping the power industry for decades to come,” said Kevin Clark, content director with Clarion Energy. “This report provides industry-leading data and insight to stakeholders as they diligently work to shift from discussion to action.”

“These megatrends are driving electric utilities and stakeholders to make operational decisions that leverage innovation, technology and data as they work to embrace a more diverse generation portfolio and execute net-zero plans,” added Azar.

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Editor’s Notes:

  • Black & Veatch is a global leader in sustainable engineering, procurement and construction developing market shaping thought leadership content across the critical infrastructure sectors of energy, water, communications and transportation available at www.bv.com/reports.
  • Black & Veatch’s 2021 Electric Report explores an electric industry continuing its sweeping transformation accelerated by the challenges and opportunities of renewable energy.
  • The company’s 2021 Strategic Directions: Megatrends Report analyzes survey data from the power, water, telecommunications and natural gas sectors and the C&I and manufacturing industries to focus on sustainability, resilience and data.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries by addressing the resilience and reliability of our world's most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2019 were US$3.7 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.

About Clarion Energy
Clarion Energy is part of the Clarion Events Group, one of the world’s largest events companies with over 200 events and 2500 employees located in 15 offices across the world. Clarion Energy runs over 40 events that cover the Oil, Gas, Power and Energy sectors.

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