Leading-Edge Technology Evolution and the Next Generation Utility: DynamicEnergy™

In this report, we delve into this dynamic set of developments and suggest a new way of looking at the future of the electricity system, a paradigm we call DynamicEnergy. It’s an energy environment in which two-way transactions become the new normal. In the DynamicEnergy model, load can follow supply as reliably as supply now follows load, with customer behaviors triggered by price and engineering conditions, and with the ever-shifting demands and supplies of the energy network controlled by intelligent and automated equipment.

Through this analysis, we will seek to illustrate how the Next Generation Utility (NGU) will leverage new technologies and incorporate them into a broader reimagining of the electricity market to set the stage for a DynamicEnergy future.

The New Face of Damage Assessment

The expectations of customers, regulators and politicians to receive timely and accurate information on a storm's impacts and the utility's response are rising. Aiming to satisfy stakeholder expectations and expedite restoration, utilities across the world are deploying mobile data collection tools to link data from the field with information available in outage management systems and call centers. Even for utilities that have invested in new technology, however, traditional approaches to damage assessment often involve time-intensive manual processes, resulting in poor situational intelligence and delays in external communication.

Leading vendors are now offering end-to-end solutions that enable utilities to take an advanced approach to damage assessment and outage restoration. These solutions support the entire recovery workflow through integration with core existing software platforms and redesign of business processes. By tightly integrating damage assessment technology and processes with broader operations, utilities can reduce outage times for severe storms by hours and even days, lowering costs and keeping stakeholders well-informed throughout the restoration process.

Evolution of the Grid Edge: Pathways to Transformation

GTM Research launched the grid edge concept in October 2013 which, at its core, represents the most significant transformation that the electricity sector has witnessed in a century. As the grid edge market develops states will follow different paths of adoption based on the needs and issues specific to the territories they serve.

The three GTM Research-identified pathways: "The Advanced Energy Consumer," "The Innovative Regulator," and "The Proactive Energy Provider" offer some milestones as to when various grid edge technology decisions are likely to be made. Though some of these may appear on the surface to have similar tendencies, it can be used as a framework for solution providers to plan where their offerings could offer the most value to utilities and energy providers undergoing this transformation.