utilities

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) recently published its first power technology market gap analysis report, titled "2019 Grid Integration Insights," which is designed to bridge the gap between the technologies utilities need and what solution providers are offering in terms of these technologies.

The report covers solar, electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, microgrids, distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS), advanced inverters and battery storage technologies and highlights a number of challenges, including the following:

  •  72.9% of battery storage providers face regulatory and other barriers to markets.
  • There is a 16.8% gap in utilities using or evaluating EV infrastructure and solution provider focus.
  • The number one challenge for increasing customer engagement is recruiting participants to programmes, which is 40% more likely for municipal utilities than for investor-owned utilities.

"As highlighted in the results of our audience survey, one of the greatest challenges facing the utility industry is the integration of increasing amounts of large-scale renewables and distributed energy resources into existing grid infrastructure and operating practices," said Julia Hamm, SEPA's president and CEO. "From large urban IOUs to small rural co-ops, continuing efforts to create a more responsive, adaptive, two-way grid is at the forefront. SEPA is responding with our Grid Integration pathway, designed to provide the resources and community for our members to respond to these needs."

In specific, the report highlights four specific paths forward related to these challenges. Two of the paths have been announced in the past. These are transportation electrification and regulatory innovation. The two newly announced paths are grid integration and utility business models.

"Our utility audience is clear they need to adopt to a bold energy transition while making sure the lights stay on and prices are affordable to everyone," said Gail Besser, SEPA's managing director. "Integrating these exciting new technologies will take original ideas and a determined look at how utilities need to evolve to serve their customers into the next century."

SEPA is an educational non-profit working to facilitate the electric power industry's smart transition to a clean and modern energy future.