Black & Veatch
Smartutilityebookindustrybenchmarksforprogressandfutureactions1627660659071 1 6148947777fc1

Smart Utilities: Industry Benchmarks for Progress and Future Actions

Sept. 20, 2021
With ever-increasing risks and investment in changing technologies, this eBook benchmarks utility progress and provides guidance for future actions in distribution modernization, cybersecurity, asset management, and resilience.

The U.S. electric grid is a focal point of 2021 as the nation’s emphasis swings strongly towards decarbonization to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The federal government is setting aggressive goals, and distributed energy resources (DER) such as residential solar and battery storage are a large part of the strategy. Recent federal regulations build momentum towards sustainability and indicate no retreat from our changing energy landscape or the actions needed to achieve objectives. As a critical component, utilities are expected to expand grid integration of DER, which is often a double-edged sword for utilities large and small. DER could provide utilities with new revenue opportunities, but they require granular data and control at the local level, which most utilities still struggle to achieve.

As regulation creates new power generation and distribution dynamics, the traditional methods of grid operation are giving way to a more integrated approach. Utilities must integrate system planning and operating capabilities to be fully modernized and flexible to the volatile energy environment. Through integration, utilities can comprehensively view system data to understand DER impacts. With a system view, they can think and act in new ways and formulate innovative strategies to manage current-day energy generation and distribution risks.

To understand U.S. utility grid modernization progress and obstacles, Black & Veatch conducted surveys in 20201 and 20212 and researched industry trends and data points to form a comprehensive snapshot. This eBook helps electric utilities reflect on successes and continue to prioritize approaches best suited to the business models and technologies that will reinforce next-generation electricity. In an era of ever-increasing risks and investment in rapidly changing technologies, this eBook benchmarks utility progress and provides signposts to guide future actions in Distribution Modernization, Cybersecurity, Asset Management, and Resilience.