The Smart Grid Demands Innovation: Are you Ready?

POSTED BY Jeff Padgett AT 1:48 P.M. Mar 8, 2016

The Energy Distribution Grid is Changing
The electrical energy delivery system, the Grid, looks today very much like it has for the past century: centralized generation, delivery and then consumption by customers. With much of the grid system over 50 years old and operating on antiquated technology the stability and reliability of this system is deteriorating.

However, over the past two decades, customer demand for grid performance has driven the development of new technology that is redefining the basic components of the energy value chain. Public, private and governmental organizations have worked together to make significant financial and technical investments that have created a totally new energy marketplace. To remain viable, energy generation, distribution and transmission organizations must not only develop, embrace and leverage new technology, but they must also rethink their very business model.

The Grid is becoming a Smart Grid
The Grid is transforming from a one-way flow of energy into a Smart Grid that allows for the two-way flow of both energy and data back and forth between all nodes. This two-way connection has allowed for radical shifts in the energy value chain and created new opportunities (i.e. distributed generation). These changes are largely seen as good for the utilities and the customers alike, but they are radically changing how both parties view energy. No longer is a customer just a customer, they can now also be a vendor; selling energy back into the grid. Central generation/transmission monopolies are being dissolved in many states (via deregulation) and there is new opportunity to implement management and storage strategies that optimize electricity delivery and usage at all nodes in the network.

Some expect that over $20B dollars will be spent annually over the next 20 years to effect this transformation.  To take advantage of these opportunities innovative and creative thinking that transcends the historic value chain will be necessary.  Innovation is needed, and it is needed now.

Where is it best to innovate?
Innovation is a very personal thing. It looks different to every organization based on capabilities, vision, mission, historical market position, organizational structure, regulatory environment and many, many more factors.  For customer-facing organizations, innovation could come in the form of new smart-home services like appliance-level metering and control that enhance customer value. For others, innovation could provide network stability and reliability; technology like smart switches, storage and islanding. Beyond technical innovation, innovative financial structures will be needed to fund this revolution. With so many places to innovate, it’s critical that organizations recognize and focus on their core strengths and also be ready and willing to take advantage of new opportunities for innovation.

ipCapital Group Can Help
Over the past fifteen years ipCapital Group has developed the skills necessary to the tackle the complex problems that hamper and stall innovation. We have the experience and skill set necessary to create an organizational structure that supports innovation, discovers the right type of innovation for you, creates a culture of innovation, and harnesses the power of associative and continuous improvement thinking to solve complex problems. The combination of your technical expertise with our complex problem solving processes creates innovative solutions … fast.

If you want a greater return on your innovation investment, we would love to talk to you about how we can help. ipCapital Group: Accelerating Innovation