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Utilities around the world are in the midst of transformational change. They are facing a convergence of trends that all result in the electric power grid being more distributed, more networked, and more transactive. As a result, there is greater emphasis on communications and control technologies.
Consumers are more interested in having a say in their power choices. Regulators, sometimes driving and sometimes following these trends, are seeing the value in the distributed grid—in operating efficiency, resiliency, and as a way to replace aging infrastructure more cost-effectively—and are responding by changing the idea of what is expected from utilities.
These forces that are making the grid more decentralized will continue with or without utilities rising to the occasion. Utilities that do the hard work of developing needed capabilities and strategy can thrive in the future while others will struggle.
“Utilities are facing a convergence of trends that all result in the electric power grid being more distributed, more networked, and more transactive. ”
Several years ago, the forces driving transformation in the utility system were viewed by many only as threats. Phrases like “death spiral” and “grid defection” were commonly used to describe the future for incumbent utilities. It is now clear that these same forces are driving system transformation through utilities, making possible a next “era of prosperity” for those utilities ready to seize the opportunity. In this article, Booz Allen outlines five key roles for the utility of the future that will ensure they thrive in the new era.