The Infosys Utilities Blog seeks to discuss and answer the industry’s burning Smart Grid questions through the commentary of the industry’s leading Smart Grid and Sustainability experts. This blogging community offers a rich source of fresh new ideas on the planning, design and implementation of solutions for the utility industry of tomorrow.

« Utility Procurement - a New Vision | Main

The Only Constant is Change

Everyone lives in changing times, and the pace of change is accelerating. In Utilities however, caution is rightly placed on any change, as our societies and to a large degree civilisation are supported by sound infrastructure. Nonetheless, the way we use our infrastructure will have to change radically over the next few years. Increasing population and population densities, climate change and aging infrastructure are leading to more system failures, in terms of outages, flooding and limitations on use. It is becoming more difficult to model the impacts of this change on our infrastructure, as many of the historic 'norms' no longer apply. Our universities have many research projects to try and better understand, and hence predict, how infrastructure will be affected by change, and the best options to adopt to ensure infrastructure can meet these challenges. Undoubtedly some of the new tools being developed, especially AI coupled to effective IT/OT integration will greatly assist in this area. I am helping to organise a Future Water Association conference on 4/5 December this year that will look at how we move towards 'smart water networks'.

Over the next few years however probably the area that will see the greatest change is electricity distribution. The way we both generate and use electricity is changing at an exponential rate. Embedded generation, such as wind and solar, means that supply enters the overall grid at many diverse locations, and intermittency means that the quantity of that supply will vary greatly over days and years. More demands, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, mean that the peaks and toughs of power required will become more intense. To manage this in 'traditional' ways would mean major upgrades to the networks, which we cannot afford, either in monetary or disruption terms. Organisations are thus moving towards 'Distribution System Operation', where local networks, including LV, will be actively managed, in a similar, but more local way to how transmission networks are managed regionally and nationally.

This is the first of a series of blogs where I will start to explore what change might mean to utilities, starting with 'Distribution System Operation'.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please key in the two words you see in the box to validate your identity as an authentic user and reduce spam.