Issues and trends impacting today’s power industry

October 9, 2020

A new report released by Black & Veatch examines key issues and trends impacting today’s power industry.

Black & Veatch’s new 2020 Strategic Directions: Electric Report details market drivers and provides insights into how the industry can address challenges.

The study is based on a survey of more than 600 leaders in the industry and has found that:

  • New regulations are creating new dynamics – traditional methods of operating a power utility with separate generation, transmission and distribution assets are giving way to more integrated approaches.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) and electrified fleets are gaining traction as vehicle production and delivery intensifies, requiring power providers to meet charging needs as increasingly empowered consumers – both citizens and commercial and industrial interests – test utilities’ business models.
  • New power generation technologies harnessing green hydrogen produced through renewable power and more advanced battery storage show growing promise in the quest for decarbonization.
  • Climate change, COVID-19 and shifting demographics highlight an industry where there’s no one-size-fits-all dynamic and management of the grid is becoming more targeted and localized.

Mario Azar, president of Black & Veatch’s power business, said: “After 130 years, the power industry is being repowered as sweeping changes are guiding more focus on a consistent, methodical adoption of innovative practices to ensure the sector’s relevance.

“Now more than ever, consumers expect their power providers to be progressive and proactive, further emphasising the need for reliable and resilient energy supplies.”

Other key study findings include:

  • Aging infrastructure remains the chief concern among one-third of respondents, down 13% points from a year ago. But renewables remained the secondary focal point, relatively unchanged from 2019 at more than one-quarter of the survey-takers.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents agree that they are devoting more of their capital spending to clean energy.
  • Eight of 10 respondents forecast that over the next five years, more of their spending in new generation capacity will be directed at solar arrays on land, followed closely by energy storage and eventually microgrids and other distributed energy resources (DERs).
  • Nearly one-quarter of respondents say they would consider hydrogen as a source of peak generation.
  • When asked which elements of DER are most challenging, two-thirds of respondents cited the ability to forecast, monitor and manage utility-owned and third-party DER.
  • 68% of respondents are working to redesign their regulated rate and pricing structures to accommodate increased penetration of DER.
  • The percentage of respondents who consider electrified transportation as a big opportunity to gain future load and revenue spiked 74% over 2019, to 21% from just 12%.

Read the article here: Issues and trends impacting today’s power industry