Small but smart
With relatively modest investments, public power utilities can begin making strides toward a scalable smart grid implementation.
For any utility, deciding on the optimal smart grid solution that maximizes both customer service and operational effectiveness can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Combine that with constrained budgets, personnel challenges and the return-on-investment demands for a public power utility and the decision becomes even more complex.
The smart grid presents tremendous potential for public power, especially municipal electric utility companies. Most companies recognize that there are benefits to be realized from smart grid-related innovation. However, finding the right operational and financial benefits for public utilities can be challenging. Many utility managers are concerned about the scale of investment and effort required. They hesitate to engage because they fear major missteps will fail to return the expected ROI and prove to be a costly wrong turn on the road to improvement.
The fact is that smart grid solutions are available on the relatively small scale of public utilities, not just on the larger scale of large investor-owned utilities (IOUs). The scale is different, the connectivity is different and the justification model is different. Still, the needs of both the IOUs and the public utilities as they relate to the smart grid are very much in synch.
It is possible, and prudent, for utilities to begin with affordable, incremental steps that provide immediate benefits and lay the foundation for future investments. With relatively modest investments, public power utilities can begin making strides toward a scalable smart grid implementation. The goal should not be to simply join the smart grid effort; it should be to identify the network enhancements with real, measurable benefits that move them toward the smart grid.
For more information, attend the FREE grid optimization webinar, “Simple steps to grid modernization”, on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM PM EDT.