Grid modernization for electric and gas utilities - A strategy for success

Laying the foundation for sustainable, long-term resiliency and growth in utilities

When talking about grid modernization, there’s one overwhelming consensus: the country needs it now. The National Council of State Legislatures estimates that the US will have to spend up to $2 trillion on grid modernization by 2030 — just to maintain electric grid’s reliability. Grid modernization is also needed to address climate-related resiliency risks, adapt to more distributed energy resources and help decarbonize the industry as states strive to achieve Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and other State and Local GhG reduction goals.

Drawing on survey data and extensive industry experience, we have identified the industry’s top grid modernization priorities, the top challenges and the strategies and tactics that can drive success.

Grid modernization solar renewable energy

Utilities are fixed on boosting service, reliability and technology capabilities — while controlling costs. Here are five priorities:

utilities and customer experience
  1. Harden and automate. To improve reliability and reduce costs, utilities are hardening distribution and transmission systems.
  2. Renew the customer focus. Customers increasingly expect a digital, transparent experience, with detailed insights into consumption and service, as well as more control over usage.
  3. Transform the organization. To support a modernized, digital grid, utilities are investing in digital upskilling as well as in new business processes, technologies and structures.
  4. Renew the mix and increase capacity. To increase capacity, account for the rise in two-way power flow and reduce emissions, utilities are rolling out multiple initiatives.
  5. Defend against cyberthreats. A more digitally tethered grid widens the attack surface, making it more vulnerable to cyberthreats. In response, utilities are deploying operational technology enhancements, new security architecture, security-by-design in products and services, and updated business processes.

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Michael (Casey) A. Herman

Michael (Casey) A. Herman

Energy, Utilities and Resources Co-Leader; US Power & Utilities Leader, PwC US

Ralph  Roam

Ralph Roam

Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure (Power & Utilities Projects), PwC US

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