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.
When ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft began disrupting the taxi business a decade ago, taxi operators scoffed and said consumers weren’t ready for such a radical approach to their entrenched business model.
As ratepayers continue to seek more renewable energy integration, the electric industry is struggling to create the optimal mix of fuels that will economically meet sustainability goals. Boosted by a slew of factors – including decreasing costs, advancing technologies, new carbon-reduction policies, consumer pressure and regulatory support – renewables show no sign of slowing down. But their ability to provide reliable, consistent baseload power remains firmly in doubt because of the inherent intermittency of wind and solar photovoltaic.
As people become more environmentally conscious and urge industry to do the same, pressure is mounting on the nation’s electric utilities to be on the right side of public opinion beyond simply trying to mitigate what comes out of their smokestacks.
As more U.S. states offer incentives for renewable energy investment and costs for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels continue to decrease, it seems utility-scale battery energy storage is positioned to take charge of the next renewables revolution.
Few things represent the dynamic and decentralized nature of the power market like DER. These advanced technologies, which generate electricity at or near their point of use, illustrate a major shift in the marketplace as ratepayers scrutinize their consumption habits and accelerate the search for affordable, resilient, and sustainable power.
As advanced technologies and new opportunities continue to improve our operational efficiency, productivity and resiliency across the electric utility sector, electric utility leaders are growing increasingly aware that with heightened opportunities comes heightened risk, particularly when increased connectivity through digitization of operational devices brings new vulnerabilities into play.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) genie is not going back into the bottle; leaving the world to contemplate how best to manage this most potent, yet controversial, tool. The water sector’s response has many parallels with reactions to AI more broadly: we are certain AI has benefits, are less sure about how to realize them, and wary of unintended consequences.
Utilities traditionally have followed load, investing in assets when demand required it. Today’s wholesale markets are starting to push them in a different direction. Instead of load, utilities are being forced to follow their customers, and load doesn’t always come along with them. That’s leading to a wholesale market that’s becoming as decentralized and disaggregated as generation itself.
Imagine customers, third parties and perhaps even utilities participating in a market in which their investments in renewable energy and other forms of DERs could be monetized. The uptake of clean energy would dramatically accelerate, creating new opportunities for innovation and an open, inclusive energy economy.
Few appreciate the cost of water like commercial facilities and industrial manufacturers. Many of them are selling a product that requires water as part of the larger infrastructure setup that ultimately results in consumer goods. Take for instance food and beverage makers, for whom water is the good. Or paper and pulp companies, whose dry products rely almost exclusively on water.
The energy ecosystem is changing, driven by the advent of distributed clean energy, increased competition from new technologies and service providers, the evolving expectations of customers, and new opportunities for serving those customers.
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