White Paper

Overcoming Threats to Electricity Reliability

Posted to Publicis Sapient in the Utility Management Group
image credit: Publicis Sapient
Supratik Chaudhuri's picture
Director & Industry Principal Publicis Sapient

Supratik is part of a leadership team at Publicis Sapient that helps energy companies solve complex business problems, demonstrate business results and create value through strategies that break...

  • Member since 2011
  • 2 items added with 1,302 views
  • Jan 20, 2022
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Providing utility customers with reliable electricity isn't an option, it's a necessity. Our health, comfort and the economy depend on it. For electric utility companies, this is becoming more difficult because of an increase in extreme weather events (EWEs) and the growth of renewables, which can be unpredictable.

This whitepaper analyzes EWEs, energy transition and the relationship between the two. Based on utility outage stories and input from industry experts, the whitepaper also seeks to answer the question, "What can utilities do about it?".

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 20, 2022

Providing utility customers with reliable electricity isn't an option, it's a necessity. Our health, comfort and the economy depend on it

Well said, and the whole reason that the utility sector does (and must) look different than nearly every other industry. Of course the utilities can't control the weather and there will always be surprises, but being as prepared as possible is a core necessity. Thanks for sharing

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 30, 2022

Agree, Matt. Like fresh water, sanitation, police, and fire services, FDR believed reliable electricity to be a fundamental human right, and fought for access to it for all Americans.

The utility sector looks very much any other monopoly, but it seems we've forgotten retail electricity still is one. In the 1920s extending free reign to electricity monopolies led to exploitation and runaway prices, and in our rush to deregulate it I fear that will be another lesson of history we're doomed to repeat.

Julian Jackson's picture
Julian Jackson on Jan 28, 2022

Do you think that new nuclear/ new designs of small modular nuclear reactors will be part of the future preparedness for threats to electricity reliability?

Supratik Chaudhuri's picture
Supratik Chaudhuri on Feb 4, 2022

Hi Julian, that's a really interesting question. I think that it's still early to say anything conclusive, but the outset is not very bright. First, the problem being with the technology and whether it can scale economically. Second, whether citizens will be supportive of this since there are still be a lot of green-minded people who are quite anti-nuclear and few want one around their backyard. The last point is around energy loss. With a microgenerator, if you want to keep transmission loss low, you would want to install it close to where the load is. But since many people are going to be against that, you may have to place it further away and that may not make economic sense considering losses and other issues.

 

They may be somewhat useful in rural, less populated areas but the ROI can be of concern in that scenario.

Mark Howitt's picture
Mark Howitt on Feb 17, 2022

In terms of providing baseload electricity, 1GW nuclear is equivalent to approximately 2.5GW offshore wind + storage, 3GW onshore wind + storage, or 4-8GW solar + storage. And the storage has to have the same input rating as the renewables, minus 1GW. And it must have duration of at least 12 hours.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 30, 2022

"With a microgenerator, if you want to keep transmission loss low, you would want to install it close to where the load is."

Supratik, the only thing small about small modular reactors is their size. A NuScale power module will be capable of generating 60 million watts of electrical power, and will be able to transmit it so far the people consuming it will never even know it's there.
Out biggest problem is not the technology, but irrational public fear. Time to school those "green-minded people" that their hangup is putting Earth's health in extreme jeopardy - and there's no more time to waste.

 

Mark Howitt's picture
Mark Howitt on Feb 17, 2022

There are a number of issues to be addressed. The main ones are:

It's not just about how to respond (important as that is), but having the right assets available in the first place.

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