SP Group, the owner and operator of the electricity and gas transmission and distribution (T&D) businesses in Singapore, developed and published the world's first Smart Grid Index (SGI) for utilities in 2018. The framework examines and uses seven key dimensions that are based on smart grid definitions by the European Union Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
These key dimensions are as follows:
- Monitoring and control
- Data analytics
- Supply reliability
- Distributed energy resources (DER) integration
- Green energy
- Customer empowerment and satisfaction
These key dimensions measure and benchmark the grid smartness achieved by 85 utilities from 37 countries and markets. This annual benchmarking exercise for 2020 started in May and was completed in December 2020.
2020 Global Trends
Utilities around the world continue to emphasize and invest in grid smartness as confirmed by an average 6% improvement from 2019. The results for 2020 indicate that utilities are now focusing increasingly on the use of data analytics as they expand their smart meter coverage network and the adoption of analytical applications for asset health assessment and/or network planning in order to benefit from the data collected.
Generally, utilities are now taking action to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities and physical infrastructure in the face of growing threats to their businesses and networks. Increasingly, more utilities are complying with national guidelines to keep their assets protected from cybersecurity threats.
With the growing urgency to address the drive to reduce carbon emissions, there is a need for huge investments in sustainable energy solutions. DER integration and green energy are the emerging trends seen among global utilities. This is especially true given that the cost of DERs has seen significant reduction over the past decade.
Utility Results for 2020
Utilities from all three regions, namely Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific, attained high scores for monitoring and control, a basic requirement for smart grid development. All the utilities that participated in the survey have implemented a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, with some 60% of utilities now having a distribution management system (DMS) and/or being in the process of installing an advanced DMS (ADMS).
As a region, utilities in Europe have improved the most, notably in the areas of data analytics, integration of DERs, security, and green energy. This is probably attributed to the wider coverage of smart meters and an increase in compliance with national security guidelines. Furthermore, utilities are now experiencing a greater contribution from renewable energy sources, for example, wind and solar, supporting the rollout of electric vehicles (EVs) and the deployment of utility-scale battery energy storage systems.
Utilities in North America continue to lead in smart grid development as a result of facing disruption in their electric industry earlier than in other regions. These utilities are now the global leaders in the area of data analytics, security, and DER integration.
Utilities in the Asia-Pacific region have made significant improvements in data analytics with an increase of 15% points, the largest jump in that category among the three regions. These utilities have also seen a growth in their smart meter coverage and more prevalent use of data analytics in monitoring asset health and network planning.