When it comes to grid modernization, where utilities want to spend money — and where they have approval to spend money — are not the same thing. Under today’s regulatory models, utilities typically do not have a way to recapture all the fixed costs required for critical upgrades. This can mean the choice between keeping the lights on today and preparing the grid for the challenges of the future.
As climate change continues to flex its catastrophic muscle, a storm is brewing for U.S. utilities. The scourge of extreme weather events — prolonged droughts, pounding hurricanes and deluges blamed for unprecedented flooding — are joining wildfires as challenges that have utilities scrambling to harden their assets to provide the resilience that consumers and regulators demand. Unrelenting threats of cyberattacks and the rising number of technologies that increase the load and strain on infrastructure assets add to the complexity.
Millions of devices are measuring and sometimes controlling the health of our utility networks, and millions more are coming. As distributed resources drive rapid, increasing demand for data-intensive grid management to ensure high- quality, reliable and resilient power delivery, ask yourself this question: How are you keeping up?
Power sector players got a jolt in January 2019 when Virginia utility regulators rejected the $6 billion grid modernization rate case proposed by Dominion Energy. This “no” followed similar decisions in Kentucky and North Carolina from the previous year. Despite such setbacks, results from Black & Veatch’s 2020 Strategic Directions: Smart Utilities Report survey show that utilities are “all in” on grid modernization plans, and it looks like regulators are moving that way, too.
Distribution modernization is inevitable as advances in energy production, storage and control give rise to a new energy marketplace happening at the local distribution level. This evolving landscape leaves utilities questioning how they can maintain the reliability, efficiency and security of their operations, while managing two-way power flows and the influx of digital devices and distributed energy resources (DER).
The 2020 Strategic Directions: Smart Utilities Report explores the issues and complexities of the changing utility landscape. Based on expansive industry data collected through our annual survey of electric, water, and natural gas utilities, this year’s report looks beyond individual efforts to take a more holistic view of what it means to deliver the promised grid of the future.
Black & Veatch is proud to release its first 2020 Strategic Directions: Megatrends report, which analyzes years of survey data to explore and illuminate some of the most striking and consistent trends across the water, power, telecommunications, natural gas, commercial and industrial (C&I) and manufacturing industries.
The landscape of telecommunications options available to support utilities’ OT solutions is rapidly evolving - at a pace compared only by the changing needs of the OT requirements themselves. The movement towards 5G and even greater use of LTE is imminent. But how to take advantage of this evolution is less certain.
The more you can spend to achieve successful outcomes, the greater the likelihood of success. Since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, no F1 team other than Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes has won grand prix. The ‘big three’s’ spending power consistently outstrips the rest of the pack. During the 2018 season, won by Mercedes – with Ferrari second and Red Bull third – the big three spent more money than the other seven teams combined.
In an effort to explore some of the factors reshaping business, Black & Veatch recently polled hundreds of professionals in the commercial and industrial sector to identify emerging trends in resource use with a focus on sustainability, capital spending and energy and water management trends within their organizations.
Creating a grid master plan is the first step in the evolution of a more intelligent grid. In this new perspective piece by Black & Veatch Management Consulting Managing Director, Rick Schmidt explores such topics as smart utility migration, infrastructure modernization, technology adoption lifecycle and introduces our 8-stage master planning methodology. The desired goal of the master planning activity is to provide a documented path that provides a roadmap for current focus and future investments.
The power generation market is awash with misconceptions. Not the least of which is the misconception about who “invented” electricity — noting, of course, that electricity is a form of energy and it occurs in nature, so technically it was never “invented” but more accurately it was “discovered.”
Governments across Asia are tapping innovations in generation, transmission and distribution technologies in the power grid to meet increasing energy demand in a sustainable manner. The increased energy demand is a result of rapid population and economic growth in the region. The International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) 2018 Renewable Energy Market Analysis shows that energy consumption in Southeast Asia, for example, has doubled in the past two decades. Industry analysts expect the demand for energy to continue growing throughout Asia in the next few years.