I wanted to share a snippet from one of the most thought provoking conversations I had last week. It revolved around the three themes that are key for the distribution sector specifically. These included:
Technology as an enabler:
Technology is an enabler to solving a problem, but unless there is a clear business case for the technology implementation, you could end up with a case for technology for the sake of technology.
Identifying the need and how this can be solved through technology is vital. Smart meters in themselves are merely a tool toward the accessing of data which can be translated into actionable intelligence. How do you draw actionable intelligence from data when you aren’t sure of the problem you need to solve?
The changing role of the customer:
The role of the customer is changing – with the increase in prosumers and peer to peer trading, are consumers still customers, or are they now peers and colleagues? While many on the customer facing side are focusing on being more customer-centric – what exactly does this mean? Does it mean enabling more self service options for customers? Or does it mean putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and providing them with opportunities to share energy with the utility as the enabler? A great example of a utility that is focusing on seeing life from the perspective of it’s customers is Power Peers with their peer-to-peer trading platform.
What happens behind the meter?
What is the role of the DSO and/or retailer behind the meter? Do they understand what customers want on this side of the value chain and are they in the right position to deliver it? In theory, they should be, but the reality of the highly structured, siloed environment that they work in makes it hard to break traditional boundaries and innovate.
We’ll be following up on this theme in the next edition, but if you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear from you.
More from Metering & Smart Energy International
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French electricity distribution operator, Enedis, partnered with global energy management solutions firm, Itron, to deploy its second phase smart meters project. [Enedis order 4.6 million Itron Linky smart meters]. In a press statement, the energy management firm said it has been selected to supply a large share of some 4.6 million G3 Linky smart meters, to be installed by the grid operator.
Viesgo entered into an agreement with smart grid solutions provider, Siemens, to manage its smart meter data. Siemens will integrate its EnergyIP Smart Grid application platform in the Spanish utility’s electricity distribution system. The technology is expected to improve Viesgo’s smart meter data acquisition and processing. [Viesgo signs with Siemens for smart meter data management]. The solutions provider claims its solution will enable Viesgo to improve its customer service to some 700,000 consumers.
Integrated Electricity firm, EDF, partnered with Germany-based energy storage company, Stornetic, to develop an advanced energy storage solution. In a combined statement, the two parties wrote that their collaboration “serves to assess the performance of flywheel energy storage solution facing the requirements of a modern grid environment.” [France and Germany partner on energy storage pilot]. French-headquartered EDF and Stornetic will focus on developing an energy storage solution to help utility firms increase their renewable energy capacity on grid networks.
US electric cooperative Marin Clean Energy (MCE) partnered with EV charging solutions firm, eMotorwerks, to increase adoption of EVs and boost grid reliability. [California utility partners to increase EV charging infrastructure]. The two parties will implement a programme called ‘SmartCharge EV’ to increase the number of EVs and charging stations in MCE’s service territory.