On February 21, 2018, I presented at the annual T&D Corporate Sponsors meeting of the Canadian Electricity Association. This year, the formula what similar to the “dragons” TV program, with presenters facing “tigers” from utilities. They asked me to go first, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it went well. Or, at least, the tigers didn’t eat me alive.
The theme was a continuation of my 2017 presentation, this time focusing on what changes utilities need to effect at a time of low-cost renewable energy.
I’ve attache the presentation, which was again largely hand-drawn: CEA 20180221 BMarcoux.
I just finished reading the annual survey of utilities prepared by GTM Squared (http://www.greentechmedia.com/squared/read/annual-survey-report-2016-the-future-of-global-electricity-systems). I found it a useful reference to understand the challenges faced by utilities worldwide, and I thought of sharing some interesting highlights:
- 3/4 of utilities say that regulatory hurdles are the greatest challenge they face today. Preference is to develop market-based reforms, as well as clear interconnection/net metering rules – in other words, mechanisms that deal with/assign value to Distributed Energy Resources. Note that DER (such as distributed generators and storage) will play an increasing role in utilities worldwide.
- Half of respondents see the consumers at the forefront of the industry’s evolution. However, it is surprising that utilities in the same survey do not put a greater priority on customer engagement.
- On storage, respondents see an increasing emphasis toward actual projects, and less on the physics and technology of storage. DER vendors now offer better systems intelligence and grid integration to companies focused on building a next-generation power grid (more sustainable and more resilient). Energy storage is now living up to the hype, having seen record installations in 2015.
Some utilities are struggling to achieve the benefits expected in their business cases written years ago, while facing unexpected costs. What happened? Continue reading