Smart Grid waves of investment

Wind turbines in the Faial, Azores microgrid

Two waves of investment that shaped the grid to make it smarter, more modern and intelligent

Ever since the term “smart grid” emerged, it’s had multiple definitions that have evolved over time. Looking back, we can identify waves of investment that have shaped the grid to make it smarter, more modern, and more intelligent to improve reliability, efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability.

These waves of investment include smart meters, distribution automation and grid management, consumer and grid analytics, and the integration of grid-scale renewables, distributed energy resources, and microgrids. In parallel, investments in enabling technologies such as communications, cybersecurity, physical security, digital substations, and OT/IT convergence have strengthened the grid.

The first wave of smart grid investment followed the release of the DOE’s Modern Grid Initiative and focused on deployment of smart meters. This infrastructure – smart meters, communications, and software – is called advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The second wave of smart grid investment represented by distribution grid management has been more of a sustained surge than a wave.

Today, utility analytics have been identified as the fastest growing segment of smart grid, with a double digit growth rate. This will transition the industry from business intelligence to predictive analytics and business process transformation.

Looking forward, industry discussions regarding the grid of the future tend to focus on the role of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as demand response and distributed generation, and their potential disruptive impact on grid operations and utility business models.

To dive into these waves, and learn more about how they affect the grid, join our FREE webinar on this topic August 6. We invite you to visit our smart grid portal for more information, including other free webinars.

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About the author

Gary Rackliffe

Hello, I lead Smart Grid Development for ABB North America. I have more than 25 years of industry experience in both transmission and distribution (T&D) and have worked with ABB for 19 years across a variety of positions. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electric power engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
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