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Utilities Adopting Grid Modernization Plans But Lack Staff, Expertise to Successfully Implement

This year’s benchmark of Grid Modernization adoption shows companies are debating new business models

BRIDGE Energy Group has announced results from the company’s 2018 BRIDGE Index Utility Industry Grid Modernization Survey. The most recent survey, which reaches over 20,000 utility executives, managers and engineers in North America, reveals a dramatic increase in organizations developing Grid Modernization plans — 73% vs. 52% from the company’s 2017 survey. However, consensus as to what defines a “modernization component” remains fractured.

This year’s benchmark of Grid Modernization adoption shows companies are debating new business models such as exploring performance-based regulation of traditional delivery or having an affiliate company provide unregulated services.

Sandy Simon, Vice President at BRIDGE Energy Group, cautions that while new business models will bring new opportunities, they also bring significant unknowns. “Utilities need to focus on foundational elements of their Grid Modernization strategy to help prioritize the selection and implementation of advanced grid technologies that best-fit their vision,” said Simon. “To successfully do this, utilities will need to leverage outside resources familiar with the potential issues as well as the IT and OT factors unique to the utility industry.”

Additional survey results find that:

  • 58% of those surveyed view their #1 Grid Modernization objective as improving grid reliability and resilience.
  • Analytics is the top “project” to undertake in the coming 24 months.
  • A lack of staff with the correct skill set continues to impede successful Grid Modernization projects.
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