Commercial and industrial customers pushing for resilience, reliability, and sustainability from utilities

Emily Holbrook writes on the Environmental Leader website about a new report about what commercial and industrial customers are expecting from its utility providers. When it comes to electricity, they are expecting more renewables. Are these your findings from your experience?


Report: Utilities Must Commit to Renewable Energy or Industrial Clients May Turn to Alternative Power Sources

Recently, Black & Veatch, a sustainable engineering and construction solutions company, released a report that examines the shared challenges among critical infrastructure providers and their commercial and industrial customers as they each push for resilience, reliability, and sustainability.

Black & Veatch’s “2020 Strategic Directions: Megatrends” report marks the company’s inaugural mining of its cross-sector data to gain deeper insights into the future of the world’s most important resources. The report’s authors analyzed two years of survey data collected from water, power, telecommunications, and commercial and industrial respondents. The high-altitude look at the data explores:

  • Sustainability: Increasing concerns over climate change are setting off alarms about the future of our water and power supplies, and fueling new scrutiny of the mechanics, cost, and ROI of sustainability solutions. The report frames the conflict bluntly: “Aligning the triple bottom line principles of people, planet, and profit may sound idealistic, but are those things inherently in conflict?”
  • Renewable energy: Today’s electric utilities, those historic keepers of a reliable and resilient grid, are being tested in their ability to align with growing clean energy and decarbonization mandates. The report cautions that without significant utility commitments to green energy, power-hungry industrial clients with growing sustainability goals may turn to renewables or distributed generation resources of their own.
  • Data’s risk-reward: The proliferation of smart devices that measure everything from consumption habits to asset management and system health continue to create new opportunities to collect and embrace actionable data. But to embrace data invites risk: With every new remote sensor, drone, iPad, or other IoT tool deployed on our systems, the more vulnerable we become to hackers and network intrusion.
  • From many, one: As powerful storms and wildfires raise questions about the reliability of traditional utility services, the rollout of projects to enhance resilience and improve operational efficiency continues. Advances in information technology, operational technology and artificial intelligence blur the lines between traditional organization silos. Yet, survey data shows that integrated planning is far from a high priority, signaling potential trouble for utilities in areas that are prone to nature’s worst.

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