The Future of Utility Asset Management
GenesisSolutions, an ABS Group Company
The primary goal and purpose of utility companies is simple and straightforward: provide maximum uptime reliability for end users while keeping costs low. Widespread grid deterioration, however, has introduced crippling vulnerability into the US system. As the grid continues to age, the number of outages continues to rise, as well as the demand from end users placed on the grid.
A 'Smarter' Grid and Cutting Down on Emissions
The two trends that will have the most noticeable effects on utility operations, both now and in the future, will be the expanding smart grid and the rollout of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Both are aimed at increasing grid reliability by removing some of the weaknesses that are making the grid so vulnerable to disruptions today.
This is the two-part challenge that both initiatives seek to solve: how can utilities move to cleaner power sources per CPP requirements while maintaining an optimal level of grid uptime. At the outset, it appears that renewables and natural gas-fired generation facilities will provide carbon-free and low carbon sources of power as coal-fired plants are phased out, while smart grid technologies will allow for more effective management of the infrastructure.
A Strategy for Asset Management
When we look at both the development of the smart grid and the installation of new generation sources and transmission lines, we can see that the mission of utility asset management has not changed, but it has become more complex. Utilities will need to deploy asset management systems that can help them consolidate all of their asset classification information and determine how best to approach the management of each asset from a financial, operational, maintenance and data-driven standpoint.
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