Never underestimate the role of sharp startupsDecember 18th, 2014 by Energyworx
In a recently published article, Engerati lists the 4 major trends for 2015. To us, it is no surprise big data is one of them!
However, they state the utility industry has only recently started to acknowledge the importance of big data and explore the possibilities. To us the best part of the article forms the note on the role of sharp startups in accelerating this process. We could not agree more!
Engerati’s Year In Energy – Looking Ahead To 2015
Innovation and forward thinking will be key as 2015 kicks off and the utility sector faces another year of growing change
For the traditionally slow moving utility sector 2014 has been a year of growing change and Engerati believes that 2015 will be even more so. Ageing and increasingly congested infrastructure, accelerating renewables development, more energy savvy consumers, the emergence of new technologies and services and fast outdating business models are forcing the transformation. Innovation and forward thinking will be key as 2015 kicks off.
From its ongoing contact across the industry, Engerati projects some of the trends that can be expected during the coming year in the key energy market business segments.
Generation: Renewables and distributed generation
A trend of 2014 is that distributed generation is now an established part of the energy mix, especially at residential level, where it is becoming increasingly attractive to consumers, fuelled by declining solar panel and installation costs and new business models such as third-party owned systems. This is irreversibly moving the utility away from the centralised power generation model.
Transmission: IT/OT and data
The transmission infrastructure, as the backbone of national energy systems, will continue to receive the lion’s share of the sector investments. For example, the European Union has recently announced €647 million for key infrastructure out of a total of almost €6 billion allocated to 2020.
In addition to a focus on new technologies such as FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems), a focus in 2015 will be on IT/OT integration, as fundamental for the smart grid.
During 2014 there has been a growth of big data and analytics – driven in no small measure by a growing number of sharp startups – but it is clear that many utilities are still unaware of how to extract the value from all the smart meter and smart grid data and to generate an ROI on their investment. This should change in 2015.
Utilities will also need to focus on the data that is provided to customers – they need to get into their customers’ homes and offices before third party competitors do.
Distribution: Microgrids and storage
Microgrids are fast developing in two areas – as an advanced technology to boost power reliability and build resiliency in the system, particularly associated with industries with critical processes and critical infrastructures such as hospitals, and for rural and off-grid electrification.
Many utilities still tend to view microgrids as a threat but there are signs that this is changing and will continue to do so. In the US New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision will be indicative in how far regulators might allow utilities to go in developing microgrids on a commercial basis.
Energy use: Demand response and energy efficiency
The rollout of smart grid technologies, including smart meters and communication systems, as well as the growing demand for power (supplemented by capacity constraints) will continue to boost growth in the global smart demand response market. Innovative technological developments, for example with storage and growing numbers of electric vehicles, will also continue to open up new market opportunities for demand management.
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