New Report Indicates That Tools and Processes Used by Utilities Must Evolve in the Changing Landscape

In an article for Energy Central, Guidehouse says customer-sited distributed energy resources, cyber threats, and new market players have changed the way utilities must operate

A new report release by Guidehouse in collaboration with Public Utilities Fortnightly, examines what’s next for energy companies as they navigate the global energy transformation. The 2021 State and Future of the Power Industry report includes interviews with Guidehouse professionals, industry stakeholders, and leaders in the utility industry about key trends.

In an article for Energy Central, Hannah Davis, senior research analyst and managing consultant for Guidehouse’s Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment, says the report indicates that the proliferation of distributed energy resources (DER) will have a demonstratable impact on the utility business model.

“This challenge is expected to become greater as a result of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 2222, which intends to remove barriers preventing DER participation in wholesale energy markets,” Davis said. “Utilities will need to adopt new technologies and processes for orchestrating diverse distributed assets.”

Furthermore, external threats to the utility industry, both cyber and physical, are steadily increasing and challenging the resiliency of the grid. Securing the electric grid from physical attacks and cyberattacks is a high priority for the power industry, according to the 2021 State and Future of the Power Industry survey results.

Lastly, utilities need to adopt more distributed operational frameworks with nimble, automated processes that can adapt and change with the ongoing global energy transformation. According to the 2021 State and Future of the Power Industry survey, utilities must embrace electrification, product and service diversification, and digitization and AI for sustained growth.

“Electrification is a well-positioned pathway for sustained utility growth, especially as the focus on decarbonization increases and utilities seek solutions to curb declining loads and revenue,” Davis said. “However, it is my belief that all three options—electrification, product and service diversification, and AI and digitization—are necessary for utilities to adapt and succeed in the clean, distributed, mobile, and digitalized utility future.” 

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