With greater technological dependency comes greater responsibiilty
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.
The lure of 5G is strong, but implementing at scale will require extensive collaboration
There’s no doubt that the lure of 5G digitalization is strong. This wave of next-generation connectivity is expected to usher in exciting new opportunities such as wide-scale adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), along with all its innovative new technologies that promise to change how we live, work and play.
Private Networks Promise Utilities Giant Step Towards Reliability
Reliable communications networks are crucial to allow utilities to deliver an uninterrupted supply of power to customers. With high-speed wireless technology at the fore, and the addition of hundreds of new field applications that require communications networks — including Long-Term Evolution (LTE) — a digital utility is built on communications that extend to the edge. Converged networks employing IP-advanced private wireless networks enable these systems to become more efficient and extend deeper into the distribution system, where they’re most needed.
Are utilities keeping up with the proliferation of distributed devices?
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?
Utilities see advanced distribution modernization giving them more control
Let’s face it: The old days were much simpler, when the flow of power from the utility to end-user was, for the most part, a straight line. There were challenges, but there wasn’t much getting in the way between baseload power generation and the light switch.
Utility Managers are Working to Break Down Silos and Overcome Barriers
Ask anyone who’s been in the utility world for a while, and they’ll assuredly tell you: most utilities have operated in silos, separate groups focused squarely on their own little corner of the business. The silo mentality thrives when members of one department don’t share information with other departments, operate with separate goals, use different tools, and follow different processes than those folks across the hall.
Utilities are doubling down on distribution investments to boost resilience
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.
New Black & Veatch Smart Utilities Report analyzes major trends reshaping the grid
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).
An Iowa dairy business discusses the advantages of electric forklifts that they purchased with the help of rebates from Alliant Energy. Diesel idling emissions and fuel costs can be reduced by using electricity to cool or heat semitrailers that transport perishable products.
Lately, there have been several news items about cultural heritage sites that are either under siege by tourists or the environment. Venice is under water. The Louvre is overrun by visitors seeking a selfie with the Mona Lisa. Pompeii needs saving after its just-completed extensive restoration. Machu Picchu is under threat from a planned international airport in the Sacred Valley.