IT/OT Convergence Opens Way For New Business Models In Energy Sector

New tools are needed for the integration and management of distributed energy resources.
Published: Thu 11 Dec 2014

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The IT/OT convergence is a significant element in the scaling up of the smart grid deployments of the last few years, says Laurent Schmitt, VP Smart Grid Solutions at Alstom Grid in an Engerati interview at European Utility Week 2014.

“It is all about trying to better federate distributed energy resources close to consumers and combining it with other data from other devices such as thermostats, and getting this all back to the back offices of utilities in real team,” Says Schmitt. “The new technology is about bridging that connectivity and enabling new business models to enable new services – and that’s the beginning of the new Utility 2.0,” says Schmitt.

Microgrids

Alstom is involved in a number of projects in Europe and elsewhere which are moving towards IT/OT integration, Schmitt says.

However, he regards the microgrid projects as perhaps the most exciting – among them a recently announced demonstration of a community microgrid at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. [Engerati-Philadelphia Microgrid To Improve Grid Resiliency]

“The microgrid management services concept is a nascent business model,” says Schmitt. “It won’t be an isolated microgrid but will be connected to the grid and therefore will have to be managed by the utility, for which new tools – probably in the cloud – will be needed.” Thus, the Philadelphia project – and others – will be interesting models for these developments, he says.

Partner to utilities

In this new environment Alstom will continue on its current path as a partner to utilities and capitalizing on their know-how, Schmitt says.

“The business model is still being formed but we will continue as a support to utilities with new services such as microgrid integration,” he says. “So I see Alstom become a microgrid integrator in the future, helping to form the microgrid and helping the utility to supply microgrid management services.”