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ScottMadden’s New Energy Industry Update Explores Resilience and the Grid

June 11, 2020

As Resilience Needs Grow, Planning Challenges Persist

ScottMadden, Inc., one of North America’s leading management consulting firms specializing in energy, recently released its latest edition of The ScottMadden Energy Industry Update (EIU). Themed “Take It to the Limit,” this issue explores how everything in this industry will be “taken to the limit” and what we see as critical issues, made more so by the fluid world in which we are living today.

Transmission planners, operators, and owners continue to focus on reliability-driven infrastructure investments, consistent with traditional system-planning frameworks. But as major weather disturbances, cyber events, and other low-frequency, high-impact events threaten the electric grid, existing planning approaches reveal gaps and elevate the need for resilience planning.

Resilience has implications for first responders, governmental agencies, and others, in addition to utilities. While reliability is addressed by event and outage planning within the utility, resilience planning may involve preparing broader responses across utilities, government agencies, and others. Adapting planning models that were designed for reliability may be tricky. “The challenge is that with traditional planning, economically justifiable investments and reliability were the focus. In many cases, resilience investments may not fit neatly with the criteria that drive traditional models,” explains Quentin Watkins, manager at ScottMadden.

As the EIU highlights, one of the biggest challenges with resilience is that there is not a single owner. Because resilience preparation considers unspecified or incipient events (not unlike the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic) with implications across multiple sectors and services, broad-planning efforts are needed to ensure an agile response to any scenario. If utilities, regulators, or governments wish to improve the resilience of the electric system, all parties need to agree on the plan.

For a deeper look into grid resilience and planning challenges, you can hear from Quentin Watkins in this new video or access our latest report here.

Complimentary Energy Industry Update Webcast

If you have not yet registered, we encourage you to join ScottMadden’s complimentary webcast, “ScottMadden’s Energy Industry Update – “Take It to the Limit” on Thursday, June 18, 2020, from 1PM–2PM EST. During this session, our industry experts will share their views and field questions related to the future of the gas utility, 100% clean energy goals and how they may be impacted by COVID-19, and regulatory strategy during a pandemic. Cristin Lyons, partner and energy practice leader, will serve as webcast moderator. Register for this webcast here.

About ScottMadden’s Energy Practice

We know energy from the ground up. Since 1983, we have served as energy consultants for hundreds of utilities, large and small, including all of the top 20. We focus on Transmission & Distribution, the Grid Edge, Generation, Energy Markets, Rates & Regulation, Enterprise Sustainability, and Corporate Services. Our broad, deep utility expertise is not theoretical—it is experience based. We have helped our clients develop and implement strategies, improve critical operations, reorganize departments and entire companies, and implement myriad initiatives.

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