BOSTON, Oct. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The propagation of distributed energy resources and customer energy management solutions requires dramatic changes to power infrastructure, market design, and utility business models. Greentech Media calls this market-shift the Grid Edge and outlines its implications in a new free report, The Grid Edge: Utility Modernization in the Age of Distributed Generation. To further define the space and drive the conversation, Greentech Media is bringing leaders from across the industry together to discuss the future of the electricity market in its new Grid Edge Executive Council.
"We are on the cusp of a major transition to a next-generation, distributed, intelligent energy system," said Rick Thompson, President & Co-Founder of Greentech Media. "This conversation moves the concept of a smart grid to an entirely new level. Grid modernization in the face of distributed generation will undoubtedly drive technology innovation and business model evolution for the foreseeable future at the grid edge."
In the report, GTM Research describes this market evolution as one driven by necessity, but hampered by the power industry's current structure. The parallel proliferations of distributed solar PV and smart grid infrastructure are well-documented, and a host of intelligent energy management solutions have come to market to serve customer interest in gaining increased control of their power. Yet these are typically deployed in isolation, and are at times at odds with current regulatory structures, standards developments, and business practices of utilities and energy service providers. What could be a well-orchestrated migration to the next generation of an electricity system is more often than not a series of fits and starts, turf battles and regulatory skirmishes with no real arbiter.
FIGURE: Grid Modernization and Customer Evolution
Assessing this landscape dubbed the Grid Edge, the report identifies critical trends shaping the market in the coming decade:
- Lower-cost solar integration: Solar PV integration will become more effective and cost-efficient as inverters become cheaper, more intelligent, and more grid-interactive.
- Smarter Demand Response: The benefits of OpenADR 2.0 will be a key input not only for Demand Response, but for many Grid Edge players as well. This new version of the DR standard allows faster implementation of new DR applications, as it includes a dedicated testing procedure as well as reporting capabilities, producing results in a "language" all stakeholders understand.
- More high class sensors: Challenges to voltage and power stability in the distribution grid create a strong need for increased visibility of waveform propagation. This need for "sensorization" will not only require more of the same simple voltage and current sensors, it will speed the adoption of synchrophasors, capable of capturing fast-transient processes.
- Clouds gain clout in the analytics market: Several cloud-based analytics platforms have entered the market in 2013, holding a fascinating promise. Cloud computing reduces the need for local server infrastructure and thus makes the implementation of analytics a lot simpler.
- Location, location, cash – Energy storage undergoes an image transition: Instead of general cost considerations, the value is now discussed for specific applications and their regulatory context, especially frequency regulation. Regarding storage at the Grid Edge, this process could pave the way for market architectures that can help to kick-start the energy storage market.
- Smart thermostats? Smarter sales strategy: Smart thermostats remain the most successful solutions in the Home Energy Management space, but sustained growth will depend on smart product packages, e.g. smart thermostats and PV systems.
- Tough times for AMI deployments require holistic implementation strategies: Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) faces tough times ahead. Proving the AMI business case will depend on the joint implementation of communication infrastructures and analytics, to allow immediate visibility of smart metering benefits. As GTM has predicted for many years, AMI infrastructure has to evolve as a foundation for additional grid services to ultimately provide utility value.
- Microgrid evolution depends on overall grid modernization speed: Microgrid applications are at the crossroads of military and civilian applications, driven by public focus on disaster resiliency. Commercial deployments remain scarce, and further projects will require microgrids to become legal entities with clearly predictable value streams.
The free 70-page report defines Grid Edge and outlines its immediate and long-term opportunities and challenges. The Grid Edge Executive Council is an exclusive group of decision-makers meeting regularly to educate each other on critical technologies and market developments and share ideas on how best to move the market forward as a community. Through the council, members can access research on market trends, learn about technological developments, and engage with peers to tackle the electric grid's most pressing challenges. Founding members of the Grid Edge Executive Council include Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, SMUD, IBM, GE Energy, Newport Consulting Group, Intel, AT &T, SAS, and more.
To download the free report or learn more about the Grid Edge Executive Council, please visit http://www.greentechmedia.com/gridedge.
About Greentech Media
Greentech Media (GTM) produces industry-leading news, research, and conferences in the business-to-business greentech market. Our coverage areas include solar, smart grid, energy efficiency, wind, and other non-incumbent energy markets. GTM Research, the research arm of the company, produces competitive intelligence reports and data subscriptions. Using our extensive network and in-depth analysis, GTM hosts conferences for in-person networking and deal-making. GTM has operations in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. For more information, visit: greentechmedia.com, follow us on twitter: @greentechmedia, or like us on Facebook: facebook.com/greentechmedia.
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Source: Greentech Media