It’s no surprise that the power delivery market is changing because of technological advancements and driving electric utilities to adapt. I’m not speaking about the buzz around battery energy storage systems and virtual power plants, but there are fundamental changes in the utility space that are being underestimated, and they relate to the core lines and stations business. Lines and stations may not be as exciting as the shiny new innovations, but they are extremely important.
As the industry shifts, utilities need to be proactive with decisions around asset management and capital planning to ensure operational success in the short and long-term.
How has the power delivery market changed?
The power delivery market traditionally focused on “new builds” or “capital management”. The grid, which is the key asset, was planned using specific environmental specifications, certain technologies were available to construct and operate the system, and customers were using power in very different ways. This business model has since evolved, and it no longer makes sense to operate this way.
Now owners of power delivery infrastructure need to focus on repairs and maintenance to ensure grid reliability and standards compliance.
As experience retires and technology advances, issues arise with regards to planning and project management. Projects always cost more than expected and take longer than anticipated. These changes shift how utilities operate and create a need for new ways of doing things.
As the power delivery market continues to develop, staying up to date with the changes will ensure that your systems are providing you with the best solutions to optimize your growth.
Now that we discussed the changing market, what’s the role of risk management in this new landscape?
Adaption and resilience
Risk is all about understanding the magnitudes of change — you want to conduct a risk assessment for your systems to ensure that you’re making informed decisions which are going to help your business long-term.
Utility companies may need to consider different business models; they should think about “adaption and resilience” as reliability and availability start to escape with gross under-investment in delivery systems. This includes moving downstream, behind the meter, to build a virtual delivery utility—not just virtual power plants. Managing the capacity and repair of your grid is key.
Where to go from here?
In the evolving industry, it’s important to make decisions that are going to benefit your grid business in the long run. The future of your company is impacted by the decisions you make today, and while regulation is ultimately somewhat limiting, we need delivery companies to play an active role in shaping this new market.
Through asset management, you can make data-driven decisions that are going to help you know what type of business model will be best for your grid. You no longer need to make high-risk decisions without information to back them up, because you will have the data to point you in the direction that is best for you and your customers. Take advantage of technology to aid you in your decision-making process. . .as the saying goes, “data is power.” With more software companies than ever, it can be hard to know what system is going to set you up for success, you need to partner with businesses that support the repair and transition of your utility and its key assets.
Ted Zalucki is the CEO and co-founder of Engineered Intelligence Inc, an infrastructure analytics technology company. Ted has 10+ years of hands-on experience in the T&D sector working within several utilities and as a consultant across North America. His expertise includes advanced analytics, investment planning, asset management, risk modelling, productivity, process optimization, construction management, design supervision, operations, and regulatory filings and defense. Ted’s background is in Industrial Engineering and Financial Engineering, he holds an ELITE certificate from the University of Toronto and is a practicing Professional Engineer.