Apr 21, 2020

AMR: smart grid market worth $169.18bn by 2025

Technology
Smart Grids
William Girling
2 min
Industry analysis company Allied Market Research (AMR) has released a new report estimating that the smart grids will almost triple in value by 2025
Industry analysis company Allied Market Research (AMR) has released a...

Industry analysis company Allied Market Research (AMR) has released a new report estimating that the smart grids will almost triple in value by 2025.

Valued at US$66.96bn in 2017, AMR’s predicted growth of $169.18bn by 2025 indicates the huge potential offered by the smart grid model.

Conceived as an interconnected system combining energy storage technology, automation and monitoring equipment/software (such as IoT, cloud and AI), smart grids will bring about fundamental changes to core aspects of the energy sector:

Production: Power plants can be reduced in size but increased in quantity. 

Market: Breaking with decades of tradition, energy companies will cease to be regional concerns and instead become decentralised, international entities.

Transmission: Similar to the market changes, smart grids will be transmitted on a much smaller scale, but with local battery storage to balance instabilities. 

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Consumer: Whilst previously customers would simply pay for (sometimes inaccurate) bills, the introduction of smart meters has ushered in a new era of interactivity with energy producers and led to energy and cost-saving efficiencies. 

A vision of the future

Far from being the result of a singular event or cluster of companies, AMR posits that shifting consumer demands and tech developments across the entire energy sector are causing the increased profitability of smart grids. 

“The global shift toward secure, sustainable, affordable, and uninterrupted electricity supply is driving changes in the production, transmission, distribution, and consumption of electricity.

“In addition, supportive government policies and regulations to use smart meters and rise in investments in digital electricity infrastructure are also some of the crucial factors that drive the market growth,” it said.

Big regional winners in energy’s new landscape are projected to be North America and Asia-Pacific (APAC): the former has held supremacy over the smart grid market since 2017, whilst APAC is anticipated to achieve the highest overall CAGR growth rate (16.1%). 

AMR accounts for this by forecasting an overall increased level of utility connectivity between urban and rural areas. This will likely be introduced to compensate for grid instabilities and ensure a higher overall level of service.

For more information on energy digital topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Energy Digital Magazine.

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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