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Lowering Carbon and CapEx with Cloud-Based Services

May 4, 2021
Public power utilities and electric cooperatives are trying to decarbonize their fuel mix, digitize their business, & futureproof their T&D networks against natural disasters, all while meeting the expectations of customers and holding the line on CapEx.

Publicly owned utilities (POUs) and electric cooperatives are under pressure to reduce carbon emissions, modernize their infrastructure and adopt more sustainable business practices in response to the demands of customers, members, investors, and regulators. These electricity providers are trying to balance grid sustainability and resilience with the network agility needed to meet evolving energy consumer demands.

To learn more about how Siemens could help your POU or co-op transition to a future that is cleaner, greener, digital, and customer-centered, click here to read this brief white paper.

Rising demand for capital expenditures

Electricity providers have committed billions to decarbonize their fuel mix. Many are also replacing analog systems with digital ones. More than a few are hardening and rebuilding T&D systems after natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding events.

POUs and co-ops enter this transition with fewer capital options than shareholder-owned utilities: POUs and co-ops cannot raise capital by issuing shares of common stock. Their only sources of capital are the bond market and the resulting income from bills paid by their customer-owners and members.

Increasingly, POUs, electric co-ops, schools and hospitals are turning to a suite of cloud-based services — XaaS in the current vernacular — to affordably meet the dynamic demands and expectations of end users.

The annual global market for commercial & industrial (C&I) Energy as a Service (EaaS) is expected to reach $278 billion by 2028, according to a 2019 report from Guidehouse (formerly known as Navigant). The EaaS business model allows C&I customers, as well as electricity providers, to implement capital projects without hefty upfront capital costs, using subscription-based fees and shared-savings arrangements instead.

Microgrid at a micro cost

The Blue Lake Rancheria is a Native American reservation located about five hours north of Sacramento in rural Humboldt County, California. The surrounding areas are served by a shareholder-owned utility whose closest regional service center is hours away.

For years, the community suffered unacceptable levels of electric reliability and lengthy power-restoration times. In 2017, it approached Siemens to investigate alternatives to exclusive reliance on grid-delivered power from that utility.

The microgrid installed by Siemens kept the lights on through wildfires in 2018 and 2019 as well as the state-sanctioned public safety power shutoffs in 2019, which were designed to minimize the chance that utility equipment would spark wildfires during red flag conditions. The community’s economic mainstay, a casino and hotel, suffered no power disruptions even as the lights were going off all around it.

The microgrid saves the tribe over $200,000 in annual energy costs and cuts about 200 tons of greenhouse gases per year.

By minimizing CapEx investments, microgrids specifically  make energy costs more predictable and budgets more manageable.

To learn more about how Siemens could help your POU or co-op transition to a future that is cleaner, greener, digital, and customer-centered, click here to read this brief white paper.

Using EV Charging as a Service to lower the cost and meet rising demand for electric vehicles

The rising demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is an important part of the energy transition. This trend is particularly noticeable in corporate vehicle fleets, a category that includes delivery trucks, maintenance vans, police cars and school buses. Today, less than one million of those fleet vehicles, about 2%, are powered by electricity. In 2030, that number will swell to 70 million, according to Guidehouse.

Increased deployment of EVs poses numerous operational challenges to POUs and co-ops. Solving some of those challenges could require capital outlays to reinforce distribution systems.

A plan that includes an EV Charging as a Service (CaaS) model can help municipalities and co-ops manage vehicle charging in an efficient, affordable way. As with EaaS, EV CaaS can be delivered on a subscription basis by a provider that builds and maintains the infrastructure.

As the energy transition continues …

Siemens has supplied mission-critical equipment and services to POUs and co-ops for over a century. As the electricity business evolves, Siemens has introduced a new suite of services designed to help market participants meet their changing challenges while minimizing CapEx. By offering advanced technology, deep expertise and flexible financing, Siemens is helping POUs and co-ops affordably and optimally modernize their T&D assets.

To learn more about how Siemens could help your POU or co-op transition to a future that is cleaner, greener, digital, and customer-centered, click here to read this brief white paper.

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