ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Utilities Can Leverage Vendor Innovations
Partnering for success: Utilities leverage innovative vendor relationships at the grid edge; A new study reports on opportunities utilities could seize to expand distribution system technologies
Herman K. Trabish, February 23, 2016 (Utility Dive)
A new high-level look at distribution system innovation makes one thing clear: Utilities that find and work with innovative private sector players benefit from reaching out. Technologies changing the distribution system include energy storage, demand response, data analytics, advanced metering and solar-plus-storage. Nine cutting edge projects highlighted by the third Grid Edge 100 installment reveal an enormous range of distribution system innovation possible for utilities to access through private sector partners. Variety seems the only continuous theme in eight sub-markets serving the distribution system. But the increased diversity and number of vendors has only expanded opportunities for utilities to form partnerships to benefit their systems, their customers, and their own bottom lines.
One of the more mature technologies profiled is advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Utilities see AMI as a pathway to lower operational costs, making managing outages more efficient, and assuring a new revenue stream. But the market is still not thriving because large utilities face upfront costs for deployment and there are complexities in deregulated markets. Energy storage is a developed technology but installations are still mostly one-off deployments attracting primarily only venture capital investment. The microgrid market is less mature but is expected to grow 267% between 2015 and 2020 to an $829 million annual market for 2020… click here for more