Power grid executives share their future resilience challenges
- Published: Tuesday, 19 May 2020 08:50
The sixth edition of Accenture’s Digitally Enabled Grid research, based on a survey of more than 200 electric utility executives in 28 countries on five continents, has been published.
Key findings include:
- Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of survey respondents said that extreme weather events represent a significant challenge to network operations and safety.
- 92 percent said they expect severe weather to increase in the next 10 years.
- 88 percent said maintaining network resilience to extreme weather will result in significant increases in network prices for customers.
- At the same time, only one-quarter (24 percent) believe that their businesses are very well prepared to deal with the impact of extreme weather, with one in 12 (8 percent) reporting being poorly prepared.
Building network resilience
More than nine in 10 respondents (95 percent) believe that building greater adaptability into the network — such as network reconfiguration, embedded storage, redundancy and voltage management - over the next 10 years will be critical to increasing overall resilience. Further, 93 percent see system flexibility as the most cost-effective approach to deliver long-term resilience.
In fact, nearly the same number of executives (93 percent) said that they are testing innovative solutions for grid resilience, including advanced protection systems, vehicle-to-grid technology, automated self-healing grids and drone inspections of damage factors.
However, enabling greater network flexibility remains a challenge. While 95 percent of executives believe that active management of distributed generation - including solar photovoltaics, wind power and energy storage - will be key to supporting network resilience in the long term, 84 percent said a lack of information on the location, size, specification and operational state of smaller distributed energy resource installations is affecting resilience in the near term.
In addition, the study found that a lack of industry-wide guidelines and standards is hampering action to increase utilities’ resilience to the effects of severe weather on the grid. Utility executives said their top-ranked weather concerns for network resilience include very high winds (23 percent), flooding (17 percent) and winter ice and snowstorms (15 percent).
Accenture’s annual Digitally Enabled Grid research evaluates the implications and opportunities of an increasingly digital grid. For the most-recent research, Accenture surveyed 206 C-suite and senior vice-president-level executives at electric utilities in 28 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey was conducted online from November 2019 through January 2020.