Utility Week Live, 22nd - 23rd May 2018

UTW

Transformation technologies: our top 10

For all utilities, transformation and flexibility are not optional as they face the challenges ahead: they are the key to survival.

Driving this change in culture are a number of people, whilst a combination of key technologies will enable and shape utilities’ transformation and increasing flexibility.

Utility Week Live has identified the 10 most important utilities technologies, as voted for by the industry itself.

These technologies are fundamentally changing the shape and look of the utilities sector, including tech innovations that are already a key part of utilities’ daily operations, and those whose influence and impact is only going to grow in the coming years.

Watch out for in-depth articles and stories on these vital technologies (in partnership with our supporting media brands Utility Week, Network, Water & Wastewater Treatment and WET News) between now and the 2017 show (23-24 May), with a detailed exploration of the transformation of utilities across the exhibition hall and seminar stages. Your industry is changing, understand how and why at Utility Week Live 2017.

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Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet. It enables companies to use computer resources, such as data storage or an application, as a utility, rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures and servers in house. This could enable multiple devices, including tablets and mobiles, access to programmes and data remotely vie the internet.

Ben Jeffs

Demand response and demand side management provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in the operation of the electric grid by reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives. The aim is to cut peak loads and remove the need to reinforce energy networks by better tying demand up with supply.

Cathryn Ross

The last three years have seen a remarkable surge in demand for electric vehicles in the UK – new registrations of plug-in cars increased from 3,500 in 2013 to around 85,000 by January 2017. The increase in the number of EVs will potentially put additional strain on energy networks by increasing demand at peak times. However, there is also the opportunity to utilise EVs as mobile storage devices.

dermot nolan

Energy storage (including batteries), technologies offer great potential for supporting renewable energy and the UK’s energy system. The offer different ways to store the energy created by variable renewable technologies at times when demand is low, but supply is high. They will then be able to provide a variety of services when needed. There are a variety of energy storage solutions available and being developed, including battery technologies, pumped storage, and mechanical storage.

Piers Clark

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth's surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyse, and understand patterns and relationships. For utilities, this will enable them to assess information about the land, such as the location of factories, farms, and schools, or storm drains, roads, and electric power lines.

Elon Musk

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). For utilities, this could enable a variety of devices at different sites and locations to connect to one another and to communicate and take orders from staff or collectively follow programmes. This could include the safe shutdown of assets at a substation in response to a failure, and another asset responding to ensure continuity of supply. At a domestic level, this could enable smart appliance to respond to external signals to turn on or power down.

John Reynolds

Machine learning is the field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. In the last decade this has provided innovations such as self driving cars and practical speech recognition.

Moving forward, this could lead to improved and automated network management.

Cheryl Latham

On a basic level, smart meters are electronic devices that record consumption of energy and communicate that information at back to the utility for monitoring and billing. The UKs smart meter programme is due to rollout 53 million smart gas and electricity meters by 2020. The technology is also thought to be an enabler technology, allowing for things such as 24 hour switching, smart appliances within a connected home, and opening up smarter local network management solutions.

Simon Harrison

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Within the UK, 10 per cent of its renewable power comes from solar power, or 1.5% of total UK electricity. This comes from a total of 8GW of solar PV which has been deployed so far. Solar is owned by 670,000 homeowners, and thousands of businesses, farmers, schools and community groups. Despite cuts to subsides for the technology, it is expected to continue growing as the government strives to meet its carbon targets..

Tony Cocker

The UK is one of the best locations for wind power in the world, and is considered to be the best in Europe. It contributed 11 per cent of UK electricity generation in 2015, and 17 per cent in December 2015. The deployment of wind power is set to increase, despite government opposition to new onshore developments. Offshore wind is expected to be the biggest growth area, with bigger turbines and larger windfarms being developed.

The best industry exhibition I have ever been to. Thought provoking, interesting, good networking, with a positive feel to the whole event… it was excellent!

Jacob Tompkins OBE, Managing Director, Waterwise