Themes illustrate industry shifts amid the backdrop of a global pandemic, climate change
The immense challenges of 2020 have amplified the need for reliable and resilient critical infrastructure. COVID-19 has made power, water, natural gas and telecommunications services more essential than ever, while catastrophic wildfire and hurricane seasons have underscored the growing impacts of climate change.
Today, Black & Veatch, a global leader in sustainable engineering, procurement and construction, releases its new report that explores the shared challenges facing critical infrastructure providers and their commercial and industrial (C&I) and manufacturing customers.
The company’s second annual 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 C&I and manufacturing industries to identify consistent trends. Available as a free download, 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.
The 2021 Strategic Directions: Megatrends Report examines three megatrends that are setting the stage for utility transformation over the next decade:
- C-Suite Influence on Sustainability: Utilities have long had an eye towards more efficient and sustainable operations, but the era of climate change is creating new challenges by forcing utilities to adapt faster than ever, even as they remain constrained by increasingly extreme weather events and regulatory structures that trail market shifts. Yet, utilities continue to announce ambitious decarbonization goals outside of regulatory directives, illustrating how non-traditional market drivers are leading this transition.
- Next-Level Reliability Through Resilience: Reliable service is core to every utility’s mandate, but achieving it is becoming more complex in the face of aging infrastructure and climate events. Electric utilities struggled with extended outages from storms and wildfires, while water utilities continue to face more extreme, less predictable supply challenges. How can more integrated approaches to planning pave the way to a more resilient future?
- Turning Data into Action: Leveraging smart infrastructure to enable data-driven operations remains a work in progress, as only a few early adopters have truly operationalized data in a significant way. Bolstered by new solutions from third-party vendors, a growing number of large investor-owned utilities are making major commitments to using data to transform their operations, even as they remain challenged by budget constraints, competing priorities and regulatory hurdles.
“With more than half of survey respondents pursuing sustainability goals separate from a regulatory mandate, this year’s report reflects the rising impact of non-regulatory factors in driving operational decisions to achieve sustainability, resilience and reliability,” said Steve Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Black & Veatch. “By leveraging technology and data, this will allow utilities to execute on increasingly aggressive decarbonization plans and respond to emergencies quicker and more effectively.”
- Black & Veatch released its inaugural 2020 Strategic Directions: Megatrends Report last year, taking a deep look at the global shift towards sustainability, the rise of renewable energy and distributed generation, and the risk-reward of data and smart devices.
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.
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