In an article for Utility Dive, Navigant looks at the forces building the electric grid of tomorrow
A variety of market conditions and technological advances are driving change in the utility industry, pushing power generation and distribution to become smarter and more efficient, while also creating a very different and a very crowded competitive environment.
In an article for Utility Dive, Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, says it’s time for utility leaders to look toward the Neural Grid to keep pace with the energy transition and maintain profitability.
The Neural Grid is one of several platforms identified by Navigant as underpinning the Energy Cloud. It as an autonomous grid, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), connectivity, the cloud, robotics, and sensing technologies across grid and non-grid energy assets. The platform supports ubiquitous automation, self-healing, seamless DER integration, customer engagement, and ultimately, the integration of dispersed markets for transactive energy.
“The interplay of smart infrastructure, end-user devices, and applications and services, all of which arise on the back of next-generation computing and connectivity technologies, is what takes the smart grid of today into the Neural Grid future,” Elberg said. “It will be adaptive — in real time — and leverage AI in the cloud to perform not only the functions of today’s electric utility, but also many, many more. The perfect storm of technology availability, affordability and usability hasn’t formed in the utility vertical yet — but it will.”
Elberg said it wasn’t that long ago that a similar combination of forces displaced incumbent landline telephone companies. For utilities to avoid the same plight, she said the key is to be prepared for radical change.
“Utilities in the Neural Grid future will need to be just as creative and engaged in outside-the-box thinking if they want to maintain dominance in the energy ecosystem,” Elberg said.