The story is a familiar one - the utility landscape is changing, and utilities are striving to move forward into a rapidly modernizing world even as they continue to remain challenged by outdated regulatory and business models. Built on expansive industry data collected in its annual survey of electric, water and natural gas utilities, Black & Veatch's 2020 Strategic Directions: Smart Utilities 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.
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.
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