Enbala Blog

The Utility Industry in the Time of Covid-19

Posted by Ginger Juhl on Mar 31, 2020 9:15:00 AM

I’m wondering how everyone out there is doing today. As I sit down to write this blog, many thoughts and ideas swim through my head about what to write. Should I ruminate on how the virus that has turned all our lives upside down will impact the utility industry? Should I speculate on what the future will bring, offering theories on how long this will last and the different scenarios that might play out when summer peak loads arrive? Or perhaps offer beacons of hope and optimism? 

The French author Andre Gide coined an oft-copied phrase, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said,” and in this case, there is a lot of truth in that.  The virus is all anyone has been talking and thinking about for days, weeks or months now—depending on where you happen to live. Many of us, including me, are experiencing serious information overload; I feel like I’ve been drinking from a fire hose.

canstockphoto15972310Gide also said, “But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” There is truth in that as well, but I’m not going to say everything again. There are so many excellent sources of information out there—and so many prognostications that are much better-educated and experience-based than anything I could offer. While Enbala has many deep subject matter experts on anything and everything to do with the utility industry, I am a writer with a background in journalism. I digest what the experts tell me and try to simplify and communicate complicated topics.

So let me offer this as a place to start. Here are a few suggestions for a few sources to help you stay up-to-date on the latest utility industry developments relative to Covid-19.   

  1. E&E News reports on what to expect and what’s being done during this time of pandemic by the many of organizations responsible for the reliable delivery of electricity.
  2. Greentech Media has a coronavirus blog that provides frequent thoughts and updates on utility industry impacts.
  3. Wood Mackenzie offers in-depth research on the coronavirus relative to the utility industry.
  4. Forbes provides insights on the effect on the overall energy industry, including utilities but also encompassing oil companies.
  5. Utility Dive has a good, up-to-date summary and will, no doubt, continue to provide the latest news.
  6. This interesting piece from Greenbiz explores the relationship between falling power demand and clean energy.
  7. Zpryme offers a thought-provoking talk with Austin Energy on electrification post-Covid 19.
  8. In the US, FERC and NERC are keeping the industry informed on the latest updates and actions.
  9. For those of you in the US who would like to see how regional electric demands vary over time—and how it’ll change in the coming days—keep an eye on EIA’s hourly electric grid monitor web site

Let me also take this opportunity to offer Enbala thought leadership as a source for getting up to speed on the topic of distributed energy resources and their contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. If, like me, you find that you have more time than usual on your hands these days—and want to use some of it as an opportunity to enhance your knowledge base—take some time to visit the new landing page we’ve built to present our “Top 10” most widely viewed white papers, case studies and videos over the past year.  For the next several weeks—as we all shelter in place—we are offering these papers and videos to everyone, with no need to fill out any forms, answer any questions or tell us who you are. Just click, open and enjoy.

Access the materialNow back to my original question. How is everyone doing out there today? Maybe you are one of the many who are working at home while still overseeing the operations of our electric grid. Or maybe you are one of the essential people who must continue to work from the field or your office to keep our critical infrastructure running. You might also be a software developer whose products help keep the grid stable, a journalist tasked with communicating how best to cope with the uncomfortable (temporary) new normal, or one of many other men and women doing your best to function effectively during these very difficult times.

To all of you, I say “thank you.” You are indeed critical and essential resources. And I hope you’ll join me in hoping that as we work our way through this, the economy and our utility markets will emerge strong and with a renewed commitment to a clean, uninterruptible, distributed energy future. If we can all rise up and apply our collective expertise to overcoming this challenge, we have the opportunity to turn crisis into an opportunity for positive change.

Keep on truckin’, everyone.  And stay healthy.

Topics: DERs, clean energy, virtual power plant, distributed energy, Utility

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