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Power Grid Modernization: Aligning to meet the challenges of the future

The latest US Department of Energy report describes United States has one of the world’s most reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electric systems for power grid generation, transmission and distribution, but it faces significant vulnerabilities with respect to physical threats from severe weather, terrorist attacks, and cyber threats. Utilities, policy makers, and communities have agreed for years that the aging electric transmission and distribution (T&D) grid in the United States needs to be significantly upgraded to withstand the challenges of the future.

Recent events and trends across several fronts have made the situation more urgent than ever:

  • Customer needs are evolving, sharply accelerated by COVID-19. Operating the power grid safely and reliably at a low cost has long been so-called table stakes for T&D operators.
  • Increasing operational risks are changing the calculus for new investments. Climate change and cyberattacks pose increasing levels of risk—and they are here to stay.
  • Distributed energy resources are changing the grid’s value proposition. The T&D power grid faces increasing pressure to integrate new technologies—such as electric vehicles (EVs), distributed solar generation, and energy storage—in a rapid, safe, and low-cost way.
  • Grid-technology innovations are creating opportunities to drive value across T&D workflows. While utilities have already gone through several rounds of investments in power grid modernization technologies, today, advanced cloud technology, software engineering models, data collection and AI for real time decision making, and data-governance practices are paving the way for transformational use cases that cross the boundaries of individual systems.

Although new technology always catches the eyes of management and investors in power grid industry, what we at Proudfoot found is that many digitization initiatives have a higher level of sustainability when the entire ecosystem including people and processes are well aligned for the new environment , and technology is an enabler to expedite and scale operations to achieve the desired financial and operational outcome.

Utilities that are laser focused on driving acceleration in the digital transformation space, first look to enable their work force to make better informed decisions in real time aligned with agile processes and technology that supports revenue growth, cost savings to their customers, resilient and improve sustainability to remain competitive.

Proudfoot has adapted our Humanize, Optimize and Digitize framework to accelerate digital transformation which is adaptable, flexible and vendor agnostic and was designed to work with next generation technologies, solution partners in our global ecosystem.

Utilities that hope to better align their strategic goals with power grid investments should pursue an integrated power grid modernization plan that also includes the alignment of people and processes. With that in place, they can make a series of no-regrets moves to ensure they are making the right decisions. Want to learn more, contact us.

Posted on December 11, 2020

By Lee Cocis, Executive Vice President

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