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Perspective

Challenges to Managing Distributed Energy Infrastructure

Distributed energy infrastructure (DEI) continues to grow at a fast pace in the United States. The forecasted capacity of electric vehicle charging, solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage infrastructure from 2016 through 2020 is 27GW. The installed capacity between 2021 and 2025 is expected to reach 52 GW.

Challenges to Managing Distributed Energy Infrastructure (DEI)

Distributed energy infrastructure (DEI) continues to grow at a fast pace in the United States. The forecasted capacity of electric vehicle charging, solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage infrastructure from 2016 through 2020 is 27GW. The installed capacity between 2021 and 2025 is expected to reach 52 GW. 

There are currently over 1.5 million electric vehicles (EV) in the United States. By 2030 this number should reach around 19 million. This growth is fueling the rapid development of EV charging infrastructure in the United States where there are currently over 20,000 charging stations. The size of the EV charging infrastructure market today is over $2.5 billion and will reach about $ 28 billion by 2027.

PV and energy storage are increasingly competitive with traditional energy technologies. The price of PV and energy storage continue to decline while the ability to forecast and manage the energy output of these assets continues to improve. The growing popularity of PV and PV with storage has led to a healthy market for operations and maintenance (O&M) services which is expected to exceed $1.3 billion by 2024.  PV and energy storage, as integral parts of microgrids, play an important role in minimizing the impact of hurricanes, wildfires and other extreme events on energy supply.  Aggregate demand for asset management (AM) and O&M of microgrids is expected to reach about $5 billion by 2025.

The rapid growth of DEI poses significant challenges to asset owners and operators.  Owners increasingly hold large portfolios of DEI assets which may include PV, energy storage, microgrids, and EV charging stations located throughout the United States and, in some cases, internationally.   The DEI O&M market has been largely dominated by small and regional providers that lack the geographic coverage and experience to service entire portfolios of diverse assets. Consequently, DEI portfolio owners today contract with multiple providers to service their assets, resulting in high operational costs and risks. 

The decrease in the price of the energy generated by DEI assets has placed significant pressure on O&M providers to cut costs which, in some cases, has led to a reduction in O&M scope and delays in corrective services.

“Black & Veatch can provide a unique partnership to our clients to help them navigate the complexities of managing assets within a distributed energy infrastructure.  Our experience across multiple asset types, economies of scale and risk management solutions allows clients to engage with a single provider for their entire portfolio and help lower both investment costs and risk,” said Joe Zhou, Senior Managing Director for Black & Veatch Management Consulting.

The experience of the Black & Veatch consulting team is both deep and broad which brings great value to clients who are working to manage large and diverse distributed infrastructure assets. For more than ten years, our independent engineering assessments have been considered the “gold standard” within the industry. Our depth of knowledge of both existing and new technologies, together with our engineering expertise offers our clients effective solutions.

 

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