Of the more than 500 exhibitors at DistribuTECH this week in San Diego, a good percentage of them are showcasing their cutting edge tools and services that will help utilities better manage energy on the grid and/or better manage their own T&D operations. Many of these third-party developers are hoping to offer solutions to the challenges utilities face with the increasing number of distributed energy resources on the grid, including solar PV and battery energy storage.
However, in a session on Wednesday, Feb. 2, Energy Storage: Investing in a Dynamic Grid, executives from Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Pacific Gas & Electric advised third-party solution providers to be wary of trying to provide solutions to problems that don’t exist.
It’s important for developers to work on solutions that align with what utilities actually need one executive said. There are a lot of interesting tools but the challenge is that some of them are a solution looking for a problem, said another.
Being willing to share new technology risk is also key. While there is a lot of cool equipment, tools and software out there, utilities acknowledged, if the third-party provider isn’t willing to take on some of the risk in deploying it, they are more likely to skip over it, they said. The journey to the grid of the future, what some are calling grid 3.0, is not a journey that utilities want to go on alone, they explained.