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LATEST THINKING


EVOLUTION IS NO LONGER AN OPTION

For utility distribution businesses, a centralized generation model with limited active control looks increasingly inadequate. To meet future technical requirements, evolving consumer needs and a changing regulatory framework, we believe companies must take actions toward a new role.

In this third edition of the Digitally Enabled Grid research program, we explore some of the disruptive forces facing the industry and investigate a new model that could be sustainable in the long term.

A TRADITIONAL DISTRIBUTION MODEL UNDER STRAIN

TOWARD A NEW MODEL

We envision the emergence of a range of potential models:

Accenture believes the future of distribution is in sight, and that the Distribution Platform Optimizer model provides the most sustainable long-term solution for the utility and all users of the system; controlling costs, providing access to the network and supporting policymakers in meeting sustainability targets.



STORAGE: THE NEW BATTLEGROUND?

Given the potential for energy storage to disrupt demand and affect all segments of the industry value chain, how can electricity distribution utilities turn it to their advantage?

A few years ago, electricity utilities across the world were caught off guard by the advent of mass market solar photovoltaics. Opportunities for investment were missed and demand was disrupted before the required interconnection details and regulatory constructs were developed. Now another disruptive new technology is coming onto the scene: battery storage.

For distribution utilities there are two urgent questions. First, how will mass deployment of storage-related technologies impact the business and provide benefits to network operations and ultimately the broader consumer base? Second, how can direct deployment of storage by distribution companies itself help to transform the business?

It’s time for utilities to embrace the opportunity of storage.

Utilities executives who are already investing or expect to invest in energy storage.

Utilities executives see storage as a source of moderate to significant revenue upside.

Utilities executives believe that a new tariff model for distribution should be a priority regulatory change within the next 10 years.

OUR PERSPECTIVE

“Utilities and distribution businesses need to push the boundaries. They need to collaborate with regulators to innovate and strategically invest in solutions that will support a more digital and distributed grid—one that will provide new choices and value streams for customers.”

Stephanie Jamison
Managing director
Accenture Smart Grid Services

READ MORE OF STEPHANIE’S INSIGHTS ON
THE ACCENTURE UTILITIES BLOG

ABOUT THE RESEARCH PROGRAM

Accenture’s Digitally Enabled Grid research program is designed to provide actionable insights and recommendations around the challenges and opportunities utilities face along the path to a smarter grid. The program draws upon primary research insights from utilities executives around the world as well as Accenture extensive modeling and analysis.

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