It’s not the southern California weather, the seafood or and local hospitality, but a common goal that’s brought more than 14,000 electric industry professionals to DistribuTECH. It’s the focus on the common goal of delivering cost-effective and reliable electricity. From keynote addresses and the initial sessions, we’ve seen a clear message in the challenges facing our industry where we acknowledge the hand in glove relationships that maintain a balance between cost and reliability. The main challenge facing the industry is how to communicate a clear vision and direction that doesn’t have unintended consequences while we move forward in an evolving utility industry.
Panelists from utilities across the country carried the common theme that building consumer, policymaker and utility relationships is critical to ensure success as we address rapidly changing requirements. Addressing and finding solutions to conflicting priorities requires an internal and external team effort.
As we increase the data points being monitored, we will gain information that can help improve the reliability of the power grid, but not without challenges. Both cyber and physical threats are increasing, which requires utilities to plan ahead to protect the quality of electricity we depend on.
For example, the introduction of renewable energy into the power mix has noted benefits as utilities provide more options for green energy. But the impact of changes in wind or sun availability requires additional controls to insure the quality of the electricity delivered doesn’t suffer. Battery storage not only is part of the solution, but also provides additional benefits for utility planners as they engineer system upgrades and design new distribution systems.
Best practices shared during DistribuTECH sessions and at the booths of industry partners covered solutions for our distribution systems. The topics ranged from transitioning legacy systems and deploying next generation technologies, to helping internal employees to better monitor, control, manage and safely maintain power distribution. While the convergence of all these tools can seem overwhelming, events like DistribuTECH provide focused opportunities to review multiple solutions under one roof and bring back information that can help our individual organizations.