My Predictions for the Industry in 2017

Editor in chief


I can’t believe it is already 2017! By the time you read this, DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition will be just around the corner. The entire DistribuTECH team has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the event. Typically, I use this issue’s editor’s letter to tell you more about the event, but I decided this year because you can read more about the event in the feature that begins on page 12, I would instead give you my top five predictions for the electricity delivery industry in the year ahead.

1. The first high voltage direct current (HVDC) line to be built in the U.S. in decades will break ground. Clean Line Energy Partners’ Plains and Eastern Clean Line project, which will run from western Oklahoma to Tennessee, has nearly all the state and federal regulatory approvals it needs to move forward, and expects to receive the remaining approvals soon. When completed, the HVDC line will deliver 4,000 MW of low-cost wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Tennessee and Arkansas.

2. Distributed energy resources (DER), like rooftop solar PV, small combined heat and power generators, energy storage and even microgrids, will continue to be added to the edge of the grid, making it more stable, reliable and resilient and mitigating the need to build new capital projects, such as peaking power plants, substations and transmission and distribution lines.

3. The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to make headlines in 2017 and the electric grid will be a big part of it. More digital devices will continue to be added not just to the electric grid, but to buildings, electric equipment and many other devices that are connected to the grid. More data will be collected through these devices and data analytics will continue to move automation, machine-to-machine interface and IoT forward.

4. Cybersecurity spending will increase. All the new data and devices I mentioned in No. 3 will be prime targets for hackers and cyberterrorists, so utilities will continue to invest heavily to protect their infrastructures, equipment and data, as well as their customers’ data and information.

5. Investment in renewable energy and other sustainability efforts will continue; despite the new administration. Although President Trump’s administration will take a different path than President Obama’s on energy policy, states have been and will continue to drive renewable energy, energy efficiency, demand response and other sustainability/green program investments. States like California, New York and others in the Northeast will continue to lead in these efforts.

I’ll hang on to this issue until next year and see how I do on these predictions.

And, oh yeah, I’d like to add one more: DistribuTECH 2017 will be the best DistribuTECH yet! I hope to see you there.


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