Risk of electricity users going off-grid expected to rise

A survey of energy executives shows 95% are concerned about this

Grid infrastructure

The risk of electricity users going off-grid is expected to rise.

That’s the verdict from Accenture, which conducted a survey of 150 energy executives from across 25 countries – 95% agreed the risk of energy consumers going largely off-grid and using it only as occasional backup will increase significantly in the next two years.

The report suggests deployment of distributed generation such as solar panels on rooftops is increasing faster than utilities can build new grid capacity to handle it in many places, with forecasts predicting more than 15% of people could be sourcing their own power in this way by 2036.

The results of the survey also show executives believe this will complicate utilities’ operations, requiring distribution utilities to reinforce their grids ahead of schedule.

It warns adoption of electric vehicles and the electrification of buildings are likely to significantly contribute to demand growth and while these technologies are likely to offer high growth potential, will also put pressure on grid stability.

Stephanie Jamison, Managing Director at Accenture Smart Grid Services, said: “The proliferation of distributed generation changes electricity demand profiles, potentially diminishing total demand without necessarily reducing peak demand.

“Successful distributed generation integration will require substantial investments in new connections and grid reinforcement to modernise the network and sustain the same level of reliability and safety and secure operations.”

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