Engerati’s round up: Innovation for utilities to survive?


Innovation is the new buzzword in the energy sector, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati, the sister portal to Metering & Smart Energy International.

Facing disruptions from all sides with the fast moving transformation to a decentralized, digitally connected consumer-based landscape, utilities must look to stay ahead.

However, only a few so far appear to have an innovation section that is devoted to looking ahead, imagining the unimaginable and starting to build out the new technologies, products and services that will keep customers into the future.

As was observed at European Utility Week 2015 there is no lack of young startups muscling in, either as competitor or partner. [Energy Sector At Risk Of Being Ubered]

Smart grid and smart metering are at different stages of deployment in Europe, and the message from experts we interviewed at European Utility Week is that these can be boosted with shared learnings, adaptation and government support in the form of mandates. [Building a Smarter Grid in Europe]

For example, Trilliant CEO Andy White suggests North American market players have lessons for Europe, while ERDF has gained much experience with its Linky smart meters and as leader of the Grid4EU project.U

UK smart meter rollout delayed

In a guest contribution Engerati member Nick Hunn presents a critical review of the British smart meter rollout, based on DECC’s latest annual report. [GB Smart Meters Delayed Again and Again…]

And it’s not very encouraging reading as he argues that numbers are “fudged” and goalposts are being shifted while the deadline remains immoveable. Suggesting that no one really wants smart meters in Britain, he makes a strong case for the programme to be cancelled.

The Internet of Things, instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, is starting to give utilities increased visibility into their operations, thereby enabling the efficient identification of problems.

In particular, the digitisation of the substation forms the cornerstone of the intelligent power grid as it enables and supports renewable integration, dynamic demand balancing and distributed generation.

Powered by Intel processing technology Advantech has been creating solutions around the smart substation to enable visualization, security and networking. [Internet of Things Solutions for the Future Grid]