Embracing the digital world is critical. This means investment in digital technologies, which will underpin data-enabled smart services and the intelligent infrastructure. Digital disruption of utilities, if embraced effectively, will allow utilities to meet customer demands, appease regulators, overcome environmental challenges and remain relevant. Here’s our exclusive list of the 10 key disruptive technologies, as selected by UK utilities professionals.
1, Energy storage
Lithium ion batteries remain the technology of choice for most battery storage applications, but flow batteries and compressed air are fighting to prove their worth. And the government has committed £42m in 2017 to the Faraday Institution to support battery storage research and development.
2, Electric Vehicles
The number of models available to consumers has proliferated, and with government committed to phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040, the electrification of transport is on the cusp of a radical increase.
3, Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Some network control systems now use AI to deliver autonomous network optimisation, and recruitment and workforce development professionals are increasingly eyeing its potential.
4, Smart meters
To date, almost 9 million smart meters have been deployed across the UK – a fraction of the total rollout challenge, which still has a deadline of 2020 for suppliers to have offered customers installation.
5, Data analytics
With more information than ever before ﬂowing from smart meters and other sensors alongside traditional sources of data about their operations, the information is there for the taking.
6, Internet of things (IoT)
The proliferation of embedded intelligence within everyday devices and assets – and their ability to interact via the internet – is driving a revolution in business models, service opportunities and asset management approaches.
7, Renewable energy advances
The government has awarded contracts worth £176m to 11 low-carbon electricity schemes. The time when renewables will provide most of our electric energy supply is fast approaching.
Blockchain is the ultimate accompaniment to the rise of distributed energy resources, offering to enable peer-to-peer trading of energy between prosumers.
9, Water re-use technologies
Water re-use boosts water resilience at a local level and could be the key to easing pressure on the country’s overstretched water resources, while helping to reduce the burden on urban sewerage systems.
Hydrogen is a potential answer to decarbonising heat. This is because when burned, hydrogen is zero carbon at the point of use, with only two by-products – heat and water – making it the ultimate clean fuel.
Free Utility Week Live 2018 tickets, which this year is taking a deep dive into digital disruption and the opportunities created by disruptive tech and new highly disruptive business models, are available right now at www.utilityweeklive.co.uk