Grid Modernization: Opportunity or Necessity?Posted for Esri
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- Oct 7, 2019 11:11 pm GMT
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Grid modernization priorities vary widely around the country and, indeed, the world. Utility stakeholders have differing concerns and goals in every region. How would you order the importance of the key traits listed below? More importantly, how would you select the best course of action and communicate it to others?
Traits of a Modern Grid (US Department of Energy 2017)
Is grid modernization an electric industry opportunity or a necessity? Your answer may reveal something about what motivates you.
Author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins taught in one of his seminars that a person's motivation often stems from their tendency to either embrace opportunities or to require necessity before taking action.
I am an opportunity person—tell me what we might accomplish together, and I am all ears. On the other hand, my son is much more necessity minded.
To me, Sunday evening seemed an opportune time for him to complete his chore before dark. I would tell him, "Son, this is a good time to put the trash cans out." His predictable response revealed his necessity-based mind-set: "Do I have to?"
I learned to communicate with him in his preferred style: "Yes, you do!" To me, it felt forceful. But, if he had to do it, it made perfect sense to him. "OK, Dad."
Is grid modernization an opportunity to improve, or something we must do? Just like people's motivation, it is not an either/or choice but a balance between the two extremes. It includes elements of both standpoints.
Thinking about grid choices in this way may clarify your view and, more importantly, help you see them from another perspective. Utility professionals must also clearly communicate grid choices to stakeholders. The benefits, impacts, and rationale must make sense to others who may see the world a little differently.
To select the best course of action, it is essential to appreciate that the grid is spatial—the question of where applies to almost every modernization objective. Spatial analysis is required to fine-tune the sustainable grid of the future.
It is essential to be able to evaluate the where of modernization options in terms of opportunity and necessity:
- Where is the potential distributed energy resource (DER) hosting capacity?
- Where do we need flexible services?
- Where will electric vehicles require charging?
Where are the system risks in extreme weather events?
Spatial questions like where can only be addressed with GIS. The ArcGIS platform gives all users live, colorful visualization of the often overwhelming data to consider. It is part of a strategic investment in new capabilities to support the best grid opportunities and necessities.
Some people will readily embrace the amazing opportunities. However, just like my son putting the trash out on Sunday evening, some people will hold out for clear necessity—until they see why we have to transform the electric grid!
For more information on how ArcGIS helps utilities clearly evaluate and communicate grid modernization choices, download our free e-book.