FierceSmartGrid and Zpryme have been polling smart grid industry executives since November, but what we learned in July delivered a bit of a surprise when smart grid sentiment dropped significantly.
The results of the FierceSmartGrid/Zpryme Smart Grid Index (SGI) for June are in, revealing that overall smart grid sentiment is at an eight-month high -- up 21 percentage points among utilities.
A range of smart grid projects and faster wireless communications are driving mobility in the utility sector. With the number of mobile software solutions and apps available today, utilities can deliver field mobility that integrates operations, drives efficiencies and enhances user experiences. But field mobility is more than just deploying the latest devices and can be fraught with challenges.
There are more players vying for a piece of the smart grid pie and less stimulus funds to spend. However, the overall outlook is still quite positive from both a utility and vendor perspective.
IT/OT convergence delivers high degrees of grid automation, sensing and visibility; achieves greater control of distributed generation; and provides better support of regulatory compliance. Those are just a few points touched on by an expert panel of speakers during yesterday's Fierce Live! Webinar, "The IT/OT Integration Imperative," sponsored by ABB.
Clearly, utilities recognize the value and necessity of deploying smart grid technologies, as the majority of utilities (an average of 70 percent over the past six months) have consistently revealed that they are submitting new smart grid proposals.
ComEd is already losing an estimated $168 million in smart grid funding as a result of the $100 million annual reduction in funding by the Illinois Commerce Commission beginning in 2014. Now, the utility faces a class action lawsuit and a $182 million penalty for delays and costs associated with its smart meter rollout.
Some in the industry have touted home energy management systems (HEMS) as the next smart grid killer app. However, no one told homeowners.
Overall, the last five months of data reveal that the majority of utilities are committed to building a more intelligent grid.