The current utility landscape is changing due to technical and societal drivers. Grid modernization preparation allows the power delivery grid to address these drivers in various ways. These are inclusive of the evolving expectations of customers regarding reliability and resilience, increasing dependency of our digital economy on electric power, evolving changes to weather patterns (e.g., more frequent and more severe storms and catastrophic events, such as tornados and hurricanes), and stress imposed on the existing grid by the adoption of new technologies, such as distributed energy resources (DER) and transportation electrification. To meet the emerging demands, as well as keep pace with the capabilities available to operate and maintain an electric grid, electric utility companies understand the need to significantly improve their ability to adapt to changing technologies and drivers.
The objectives of a grid modernization roadmap are to enhance and strengthen grid planning, operations, engineering activities, and to identify and prioritize key infrastructure investments in support of a utility’s vision and goal. A grid modernization roadmap allows for the identification and prioritization of strategic programs (e.g. smart meters, outage management systems, renewable energy) that result in a modern and future grid. A goal of our grid modernization program is to increase reliability and resiliency, increase real-time monitoring, protection, automation, and control, increase overall operational efficiency, and comply with regulatory and policy requirements (e.g., electrification, distributed energy resources, emissions reduction, etc.).
The key steps for a grid modernization effort are shown below:
1. Take a utility’s vision and create a roadmap (it is important to have a multidisciplinary planning team involved)
2. Create a communication plan inclusive of utility departments and members of the board of directors, and key customers.
3. Align your mission and company values with your grid modernization plan.
Grid Modernization Roadmaps
A grid modernization roadmap leverages industry best practices to set the basis for transforming and preparing for the future. The roadmap outlines key initiatives or programs needed for the organization to improve the overall performance of the power delivery system. This involves taking full advantage of planning-team discussions and workshops to develop a roadmap that meets a utility’s needs. For example, a utility-focused on improved reliability might consider implementing grid modernization programs such as feeder automation, targeted undergrounding, and/or an Outage Management System (OMS) deployment.
The development of a grid modernization roadmap includes the following steps:
1. Identify key components of the utility’s vision and goals.
2. Develop a preliminary list of key programs needed for achieving the utility’s goals.
3. Benchmark existing utility practices and potential programs against industry trends and leading practices.
4. Develop a benefit-cost analysis to create a metric for prioritizing the grid modernization programs. Costs and benefits should be weighted by relative importance to meet utility goals (e.g., reliability and resilience, sustainability, efficiency, etc.) and parameters such as investment, risk, complexity, maturity, and others.
5. Sequence and categorize programs. Once the programs are prioritized, proper sequencing of the programs must be considered. Programs are categorized as foundational and non-foundational. Foundational programs impact one or more other subsequent programs and are direct pre-requisites. Foundational programs must be deployed first and are given higher priority in the overall roadmap timeline.
“Our utility saw a strategic benefit in working with Quanta to develop a coordinated Modernization Roadmap as part of a long-term plan to modernize core operational systems and technology. It is critical to appropriately select and order of these investments to maximize operation benefits and improve the customer experience at an effective cost and in a planned manner.”
Joseph G. Bunch | General Manager and CEO
Utilities Commission, City of New Smyrna Beach Florida
Why Quanta Technology?
Quanta Technology’s comprehensive approach and understanding of the “big picture” makes our offerings distinct from other firms. Unlike management consultants, we perform detailed model-based engineering analyses, which enable our studies to be more practical and feel “more real.” We are also capable of performing testing and implementation of technologies through our advanced testing laboratory.
The professionals at Quanta Technology have expert knowledge in numerous industry subject areas with years of consulting experience working alongside utilities in this field. Our team members have extensive domain knowledge and a relevant track record in various aspects of this study. We also have experts that specialize in smart meter and AMI experience which are often one of the top items in a grid modernization roadmap.
Our experts closely follow industry trends and are recognized as thought leaders in the industry, through active participation and leadership roles in organizations such as the IEEE and CIGRE, including IEEE Working Group on Distributed Resources Integration, IEEE 1547.7, and 1547.8 Working Groups, CIGRE C6, NIST/DOE SGIP, and others.
We have been involved in the development of grid modernization plans for a wide range of utilities. We have worked to leverage practical technology and IOU experience to provide a comprehensive solution for public power and electric cooperatives.
A sampling of our client list is shown below:
ComEd: Strategy development and cost benefit analysis for DER valuation, Energy storage roadmap, grid of the future roadmap
Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach: grid modernization roadmap
North Carolina Electric Membership Corp: Organizational redesign
Exelon: grid modernization roadmap (with McKinsey)
ConEdison: grid modernization roadmap (with McKinsey)
SDG&E: smart grid architecture roadmap, energy storage roadmap
Dominion Energy: grid modernization roadmap
Saudi Electric Company: Life-cycle management and value-based maintenance roadmap