By Kelvin Ross
Hitachi ABB Power Grids experts share their insights on the advances they expect in 2021 to accommodate an electric-fueled future
We’re at the electric tipping point as electric stoves, vehicles and construction equipment displace the fossil fuel guzzlers of the past.
Yet before a carbon-neutral future can truly take off, utilities and the electric grid need to innovate.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids experts share their insights on the trends they anticipate in 2021:
Setting the stage for smart cities
Claus Vetter, Head of Automation and Communication Products, Systems and Services
From generation and transmission, all the way to distribution as part of utility or industrial power networks including railways and airports, advanced protection, control, automation and communications systems that improve the reliability and efficiency of electricity networks will be a must have in 2021.
Cities of the future will require an electricity backbone that supports new residential or commercial use cases such as electrified transit systems and the ability to navigate grid complexities brought on my renewable energies.
Storage moves center stage
Maxine Ghavi, Head of Grid Edge Solutions2021 will be another tremendous year where the ‘value stacking’ benefits of energy storage will gain further recognition as it continues to strengthen its position as a core component of powering our future; one that is increasingly electric.
The potential of value stacking (the capability to perform multiple energy services at the same time) to deliver new revenue streams is what will truly drive growth.
Battery energy storage makes value stacking possible and will drive more breakthrough applications in areas like commercial and industrial where the convergence of smart cities/life, EVs and energy autonomy is rapidly accelerating the path toward electrification.
New year, new toys
Bryan Friehauf, Enterprise Software Solutions
Utilities will invest in more drones and video analysis. A wave of new video algorithms and analysis this year came at just the right time. Utilities needed to make routine asset management, damage assessment and documentation quicker, safer, and with fewer boots on the ground.
Given the success of pilot drone programs over the past year, utilities are looking to improve their ROI by adding a layer of video analysis while expanding the pilot programs as states re-implement restrictions on social distancing.
We’ll see rapid growth of digital operations as the remote work boom surpasses the pandemic
Dave Goddard, Head of Digitalization
Vaccine or not, utilities will continue to be flexible in letting employees work from home. As a result, we will see a continued increase in autonomous operations to enable a fully-digitized utility worker — from dispatching field crews while at home to leveraging AR/VR to be remotely “on-site” with customers.