Distributed Energy Resources: Seizing Opportunities While Managing Distribution Grid Impacts

DERs offer substantial opportunities to shift utilities toward a more sustainable and resilient energy system. This can yield significant economic and environmental benefits for utilities and renewable developers. The challenge is to deploy DERs in ways that support the evolution of more flexible power grids.

This paper identifies many of the issues that can hinder or derail promising DER initiatives and explores strategies utilities and developers can use to ensure projects deliver their promised benefits.

Delivering the Next Generation Utility Customer Experience

Technology is driving change in the utility sector faster today than it has since the advent of the industry more than a century ago. For utility customers – ranging from the largest corporations to individual households – new technologies are offering different ways to interact with their utility, from paying a bill to sourcing generation.

Many utilities have only just begun to transform the customer experience. However, a growing number of utilities no longer see their customers simply as ratepayers attached to a meter, but rather, as individuals with an array of preferences. In order to maintain their role as a trusted energy advisor, it will be necessary for utilities to gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences.

Our new report discusses a horizontal approach to each customer class – commercial, small business, municipal or residential – that requires an ongoing transformation, rather than a one-time pivot in business practices. By embarking on this transformation today, utilities will be well-positioned to increase their value to customers and shareholders.

Not Just Another App: How to Spur Digital Engagement in the Energy Industry

As energy providers work diligently to close the gap between existing capabilities and increasing customer expectations, a major challenge is meeting customers where they are - on mobile. Having different interfaces for billing, outage notifications, energy efficiency, demand management and call center inquiries creates a disjointed and complicated experience.

How can energy providers capitalize on existing investments and programs while delivering consistent, simple interactions that today’s consumers have grown to expect? Download the white paper to find out.

“Risk, reliability & recovery” – An ABB Automation & Power World Digital Conference

Limited CapEx and OpEx budgets have become the new normal. The regulatory environment is shifting, vital equipment is aging and new devices (e.g., DERs) are coming online. All of these challenges must be managed, but how do you prioritize the risks?

The ABB Automation and Power World digital conference, “Risk, Reliability & Recovery,” will take on some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today with a view toward how utilities can leverage technology to make the best choices. Register for this free virtual conference, taking place September 22, 2016, 11:00am-4:00pm EDT, to hear from industry experts and utility professionals about real- world solutions.

Itron Resourcefulness Index 2016

In its largest study to date, Itron surveyed more than 2,000 combined utility executives and informed consumers in key markets around the globe to benchmark energy and water management. The insights gathered this year point to the growing importance of the utility industry’s role in leading the transformation in managing finite resources. Increasingly, utilities are turning to new technologies to reduce wasted energy and water.  Energy utility executives indicated a desire to have an integrated system that includes gas, solar and wind renewables, which will drive the transformation and address their changing business model. Meanwhile, our survey revealed a growing dissatisfaction with the level of communication and control consumers expect from their utility. At the same time, the majority of utility executives noted that they are excelling in communicating with their customers.

Innovation and the Next Generation Utility

In this paper, we explain how utilities will be better positioned to participate in the Dynamic Energy system if they focus on three key competencies: Business Model Innovation, Technology Innovation, and Cultural Innovation. The benefits of taking this three-pronged approach to innovation are clear. Doing nothing will lead to further declines in revenue and a loss of market share to third-party energy providers. Developing an innovation strategy – either company-wide or within specific teams – means opening up entirely new business lines and service models that will enhance the utility’s reputation and grow earnings.

Cracking the Code to Grid Congestion

The Greensmith Energy white paper, Cracking the Code to Grid Congestion, addresses data management practices in the utility industry, identifying deficiencies that disrupt energy transmission and remedies that can vastly improve system performance. The modernization effort builds upon information technology solutions that have revolutionized other industries, such as passenger transportation and hospitality, as evidenced by the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb. In this context, the emergence of energy storage is transformative, taking a system made for centralized power generation and one-way power flow and tapping unlimited potential for energy production and consumption on the network’s every node.

Regulatory Foresight and the Next Generation Utility

Enhancing value amidst policy and technological uncertainty

The utility market and regulatory landscape is shifting, bringing new challenges and opportunities.

It is still being decided how utilities will be compensated in a future that is increasingly composed of distributed energy resources and more active participation of customers and third parties. However, regulators are increasingly pushing forward market and regulatory reforms in support of these outcomes, which aim to more equitably balance shareholder and customer value.

Our latest report shows that regulatory foresight should be viewed as a strategy to embrace the future, thinking outside the box, and engage with regulators, customers and third-parties in new ways.

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