Energy and utilities have never been the most agile sector, but providers are finding out they need to improve infrastructure and customer experience to thrive in 2023. The continued renewable energy revolution combined with customer demands for digitization are driving utilities across the country and abroad to upgrade systems.
CSS Tec has compiled three market-leading 2023 trends within the technical sphere of the energy and utilities industry below.
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From Investment to Implementation
As with virtually every other sector, the power and utilities industry faces a customer-centric consumer market demanding personalized power packages from a grid in need of a makeover. Renewable advancements are depending on battery technology breakthroughs while utilities are smartening their grid with AI to get ahead of power outages and improve grid safety.
“The Department of Energy’s $10.5 billion last November investment geared toward grid resilience shows a commitment to upgrading, the next step of which is a slew of coast-to-coast implementation projects,” explains Connie Testa, CSS Tec Managing Director.
To maximize the impact of this cash injection, project leaders need to integrate these market trends by utilizing the proper technical talent. Let’s begin with the smart grid.
Making A Smart Grid Smarter for Enhanced Digital Customer Experience
A utility grid makeover that’s gained momentum over the past few years will explode in 2023 given the supply of cash and demand for modernization. Of the aforementioned $10.5 billion, $3 billion has been allocated specifically to grid modernization efforts. The primary focus of these projects will be integrating renewable resources into the main veins of transmission and distribution and will also fund safety-focused utility projects.
Smart technologies including advanced sensors and meters, smart grid communication networks, smart inverters, energy storage systems, and AI/ML capabilities will enhance customer experience tenfold. Energy providers able to upgrade these systems with technical talent will deliver services like remote meter monitoring and adjustment to lower costs. On a larger scale, smart grids provide customers with up-to-the-minute updates on outages in their areas so that they are privy to energy restoring timelines.
Where smart grid technologies like smart meters will provide data, edge computing will allow utilities to process and interpret that data on the edge of their network, as close to the original meter or other source as possible. Edge computing with the added speed of 5G will supercharge the “two-way grid,” a system allowing providers to distribute energy more accurately. Additionally, it allows customers to store energy more efficiently and even sell excess energy back to the grid.
On the grander generation and transmission scales, edge computing will enable providers to access and deploy more renewable energy in extremely remote locations. Big data interpretation will complement wind and solar farming by contextualizing generation for maximum delivery efficiency. According to Fast Company, edge computing has at least a data pool of over 35,000 readings to pull from PER METER each year.
The Coalescence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT)
Traditionally siloed technical entities, the E&U industry is beginning to break down barriers between OT and IT. For context, OT refers to the tech systems that operate the localized generators, machinery, substations, and other grid components. IT on the other hand globalizes corporate systems organizing company payroll, billing, and HR.
Smart grid tech is elevating the true capabilities of IT; data farmed from smart grid IoT components are being leveraged to inform OT systems of redundancies, faulty machinery, and potential system blackouts. IT/OT convergence will facilitate the change to renewable energy demanded by customers while enhancing grid agility in response to extreme weather patterns.
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