Navigating the smart grid journey

By David Anders | May 27, 2020

Utilities are at a critical juncture. The global utility transformation currently underway will play a pivotal role in our collective sustainable future. Whether you—as a utility—are seeking to automate business processes, increase the real-time visibility of your operations, or enhance control of grid elements—your solution lies in the implementation of a smart grid.

A smart grid provides a more distributed, flexible model that supports a low-carbon future through greater integration of renewable energy and energy storage technologies. The quantifiable benefits include reduced costs of generating, transmitting, and distributing power, while also allowing for higher levels of customer satisfaction, increased personnel safety, reduced maintenance costs, and greater product and services offerings. However, the scale of change required can seem daunting. That’s why an integrated approach is required to help you embark on your smart grid transformation, one that takes a holistic view of utility operations and employs a focus on transforming business processes.

To embark on your utility modernization program, you must first ask yourself: where are we on our journey and where do we want to go? Answering these critical questions will help inform your transformation roadmap.

With that knowledge, you need to develop a clear understanding of how smart grid technologies can drive value across your operations. This requires a holistic view of your business, examining not only how you operate your network, but also how you manage your assets, workforce, and customer services. Having these insights will help to align your organizational objectives with the development of a transformation strategy. For example, smart meter technology can enable automated meter reading, but could also be leveraged to improve outage information and fault detection while providing data to enhance an online customer portal. Another example is the usage of sensor data communicated over field-area networks, which provides enhanced asset visibility to the control room while also connecting mobile workforce technologies and unlocking value through improved work management processes. With an understanding of your key levers for creating value, a transformation strategy can be built based on continuous improvement, which ensures the value forecast in the planning stage is tracked and optimized after implementation.

During the process, you need to visualize the capabilities that exist across various domains of your utility operations. You will need to create a common vision for smart grid deployment by providing a benchmark to measure existing capabilities against a defined model for grid modernization, while providing a framework that promotes collaboration across your organization. As technologies, the industry, and utility business models continue to evolve, maturity definitions must be flexible to avoid becoming obsolete. Utilizing a maturity model as a roadmap will enable you to conceptualize a starting point, a destination, and the waypoints along your transformation journey.

Like any ambitious journey into the unknown, a guide who understands the landscape and evolving conditions is essential. We bring the experience and technical expertise to guide you in the right direction, while addressing unique contingencies as they arise. We have built an integrated smart grid transformation model that will maximize the value of your smart grid investment by leveraging a proven track-record of core engineering offerings in utility infrastructure design, management consulting, asset management, and technology deployment.

If you are striving to become an industry leader, chart the right course for modernization, and navigate this complex landscape, let us guide you as you embark on your smart grid journey. Let’s build positive change together!

To read more, click here to view the Generating Value through Smart Grid Transformation technical paper.

Click here to find out more about Hatch’s grid modernization services.