The smart energy transition in the new normal

COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways. The health, social and working practice impacts dominate our view of the “New Normal”. But, what does it mean to the smart energy transition which was well underway up until the start of 2020, and which is now disrupted?

Of course, we hope any disruption will be temporary and if this is to be the case, we need to start thinking about how smart grid projects, particularly those focused on the low-voltage grid where the impacts of social distancing are most felt, will continue in the new normal.

Evidence is mounting that smart grid strategies and projects will need to adapt. They will need to:

  • Catch-up on a lost quarter of investment, driven by either regulatory, business case or technology renewal pressures
  • Exploit automation and remote control, so that negative impacts of social distancing and field-force restrictions can be reduced
  • Secure the grid, especially as sec-ops teams are managing new IT practices for home working, which both distract sec-ops teams and open new avenues of attack for cyber-criminals
  • Ensure that the smart grid equipment supply-chain is ready for accelerated projects
  • Monitor and adapt to new characteristics in energy consumption, so that increased working from home, staying at home and reduced travel is accommodated in medium-term grid planning
  • Recover from slippages in maintenance programmes resulting from a general “hunker-down” by businesses responsible for infrastructure maintenance
  • Accelerate emerging smart grid projects to achieve readiness for the “next time”
  • Invest in technology that can be rapidly adapted or reconfigured for whatever the “new normal” throws at us.

An interesting questionnaire can be found in our COVID-19 Impact Survey which will help us to understand the impact of these factors, and shape solutions to address the challenges that arise from them. Respondents that provide contact details will have access to the results, so it is a nice way to gain some extra insight as to what the new normal will look like for our industry.

Jon Wells

VP of Customer Solutions at Networked Energy Services

For more information from NES, click here