5 Challenges for the Power Industry
Sep 05 2019 Read 537 Times
The power industry has undergone major upheaval in recent years, with it currently experiencing a period of disruption not seen since the late 19th century at the introduction of electric power transmission. With technology advancing at breakneck pace, virtually all fields of research having seen accelerated innovation and environmental concerns dominating the conversation around power and utilities, tomorrow’s world could look very different from today’s.
With that in mind, here are five of the biggest challenges that the power industry must face if it is to move with the times and avoid being overwhelmed by radical changes that threaten to render it obsolete or inoperative:
Sink or swim for fossil fuel companies
With climate change the buzzword on everyone’s lips, and renewable methods of energy generation becoming ever more affordable, it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before fossil fuels are run completely out of town by their greener counterparts. As such, companies which once dominated the energy landscape must rethink their strategies to fall into line with the sustainable revolution, or else fall by the wayside.
Integrating old with new
Power and utility companies have been relying on the same infrastructure for decades, but they’re soon to be in for a rude awakening. Given that laptops and notebooks are generally replaced on a biannual basis and that data server centres rarely last past their fifth summer, integrating technological gadgetry with outdated systems without ripping out the latter entirely promises to pose a key challenge as energy companies look to evolve.
Complying with regulations
As more and more emphasis is placed on environmental performance, it’s only reasonable to expect that government legislation all over the world will continue to tighten. This will apply to power plants perhaps more prominently than any other entity, meaning both owners and workers must familiarise themselves with new regulations as quickly as possible. The recent presentation on the Medium Combustion Plant Directive at the AQE exhibition is a good place to start for those wishing to brush up on their knowledge of the topic.
While renewables may be able to go toe-to-toe with coal, oil and gas in terms of affordability, they remain unreliable and intermittent sources of energy which depend upon the whims of Mother Nature. Therefore, ensuring that adequate advances in battery capabilities are made will be a key facet of keeping the renewable revolution alive and well. Tesla might be in pole position at the moment, but whoever wins the race to launch functional long-life batteries will hold the cards for the industry.
Chopping Big Data into bitesize pieces
Finally, the interconnected nature of smart-enabled devices and the ubiquity of monitoring equipment means that companies will find themselves buried under the weight of the data they collect. Finding the means to store that information, as well as the ability to sift through it and identify actionable insights, will represent a significant challenge for all competitors in the power industry going forwards.
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