The energy and utility industry is transforming, and as trends for 2023 show, the changes will be significant and challenging.
Energy and utility companies will need to modernize to keep up, especially their utility billing software solutions that will handle much more data and new applications.
New technologies, digital solutions, and changing market and customer expectations drive these changes.
For 2023 we can’t really speak about different non-related trends. It is a direction in which the industries are going and different trends that complement each other.
Table of contents
- What trends for the Energy and Utilities industry will we see in 2023?
- The switch to renewable energy
- Power grid modernization must happen
- What exactly is Smart grid technology?
- Energy storage systems as a critical element
- 5G to connect energy and utilities industry trends
- A new wave of 5G IoT Smart meters and sensors
- The impact of Electric vehicles and the role of Smart Charging
- Energy-sharing communities are trending
- Raised consumer expectations and transparency in the utility industry
- A billing software to keep up with energy and utilities industry trends
What trends for the Energy and Utilities industry will we see in 2023?
The growing adoption of renewable energy sources and electric cars creates the need for improved electric grid efficiency and reliability.
One part of the solution is the increased use of advanced sensors and meters. Especially with 5G technology, they will increasingly monitor and control the flow of electricity and other resources.
These IoT devices and many others will significantly profit from another emerging technology, 5G.
The industry is also changing due to the de-regulation of markets worldwide. This increased competition demands new business models and a customer-first approach.
Let’s look at what lies ahead for the Energy and Utilities industry in 2023.
The switch to renewable energy
The need for sustainable and renewable power sources has become increasingly important, and the switch to renewable energy sources is happening fast.
We won’t explain why. It has been said so many times before.
Let’s focus on the challenges for Energy and Utility companies that this switch to renewable energy like solar, wind, and hydropower brings.
The technology and infrastructure required to generate and distribute renewable energy can be expensive and complex. That is why we will need to see a modernization of power grids and, ultimately, new smart grids.
Additionally, the availability of renewable energy sources can be variable and dependent on weather conditions. To battle, this problem, electricity producers and everyone involved must invest in effective storage and backup systems and, most importantly, in monitoring and forecasting devices and software.
Despite these challenges, switching to renewable energy is necessary for a more sustainable and reliable future.
Power grid modernization must happen
The power grids need modernization to keep up with the increased electricity demand and implementation of renewable sources.
A recent survey by DNV showed that 87% of energy leaders and experts think there is an urgent need for more investment in the power grid. Also, over three-quarters state that Smart grid implementation needs to be faster to support the energy transition.
The industry knows it, and so do the governments.
For example, the US government will invest $10.5 Billion in a program to strengthen the US electric grid.
- $2.5 billion of that sum supports activities that will reduce impacts from extreme weather and natural disasters.
- $5 billion is reserved for deploying projects that enhance grid resilience and reliability with innovative transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure approach.
- Lastly, a $3 billion investment is planned for Smart grids with the intent to increase the flexibility, efficiency, and reliability of the electric power system. Primarily it focuses on integrating renewable energy at the transmission and distribution levels, increasing the capacity of the transmission system, and preparing for the integration of electric cars or, better said, electric car charging.
When modernizing the grid, it’s logical that every investment goes towards Smart grids.
What exactly is Smart grid technology?
Almost all of the energy and utilities industry trends are combined in what is shortly called the Smart grid. We need Smart electric grids to handle all the challenges of renewable energy sources and technologies like electric vehicles.
The smart grid is a modernized, digital version of the traditional power grid that uses advanced technologies to improve the electricity supply’s efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.
These technologies include:
- Advanced sensors and meters that monitor and control the flow of electricity in real time. They enable utilities to respond quickly to changes in demand and supply.
With 5G technology, these devices are a part of the new IoT revolution.
- Smart grid communication networks that enable real-time data exchange between different parts of the grid, allowing utilities to identify and address problems quickly. We can expect the majority of this communication to run on 5G.
- Smart inverters and other technologies for integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into the grid.
- Energy storage systems that can store excess electricity generated by renewable sources and release it back into the grid when needed.
- Advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) models that analyze vast amounts of data to optimize the operation of the grid.
Overall, the smart grid is a powerful tool for improving the efficiency and reliability of the electricity supply, and its adoption is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Energy storage systems as a critical element
Energy storage systems are a critical component of modern renewable energy infrastructure.
Because electricity production with renewable sources is highly volatile, energy storage systems can balance out energy demand and supply fluctuations.
There are several different energy storage systems, each with strengths and weaknesses.
Hydro and compressed air energy storage
Let us start with two often-used storage systems that didn’t make it on the energy and utilities industry trends list. They are the methods of storing energy by pumping water or compressing air.
The “hydro method” involves using excess energy to pump water uphill to a reservoir, then releasing it to generate electricity when needed. Pumped hydro storage can store large amounts of energy, but it requires a suitable location with an elevation difference and can have environmental impacts.
The second method is compressed air energy storage (CAES). This involves using excess energy to compress air and store it in an underground cavern or other suitable location. When energy is needed, the compressed air is released to drive a turbine and generate electricity. CAES has the advantage of storing large amounts of energy, but it also requires a suitable location and can be expensive to build.
These two methods have some critical demands and are only suitable for some. However, the following system has much less demand, which is why it’s a big trend in the energy industry.
Battery energy storage is winning
A hot trend and currently most popular is battery energy storage.
Compared to previously mentioned methods, battery storages are relatively small and easy to build, install and maintain.
But most of all, you can build battery storage almost anywhere and require no special infrastructure.
Batteries are also very flexible in terms of storage capacity and upgrades. Battery storage can be small for home use or on a large industrial scale.
Batteries seem like a perfect energy storage solution. However, batteries are expensive and have a limited lifespan, meaning they need to be replaced relatively frequently.
We can expect battery storage to really take off only if there are cheaper alternate battery technologies on the market. The electric vehicle (EV) industry is working hard on that, so we can probably expect some progress soon.
The battery storage growth was also hit hard due to supply chain and material problems but will continue to rise in 2023.
Overall, energy storage systems are crucial to the transition to renewable energy. They help to smooth out fluctuations in energy supply and demand and can provide a reliable power source when renewable energy sources are unavailable.
As the use of renewable energy continues to grow, the development of cost-effective and efficient energy storage systems will be increasingly important.
5G to connect energy and utilities industry trends
Before we go on with our trends, let’s look at what 5G technology, a major telecom trend for 2023, will mean in the energy and utility industry.
5G wireless technology is opening up new opportunities for utilities to improve their operations’ efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. It’s definitely the force behind many technology trends in the energy and utility industry.
5G will become the primary technology for Smart grid network communication. One of the key areas is the use of advanced sensors and meters to monitor and control the flow, usage, and charging of electricity, gas, water, and other resources.
Benefits of 5G technology for utilities
5G technology offers many benefits for advanced sensors and meters in utilities.
- First, 5G provides faster and more reliable wireless connectivity, essential for supporting the real-time data exchange and control required for advanced sensors and meters.
Utilities can quickly identify and address problems on the grid, as well as optimize the operation of the grid in real-time.
- Second, 5G allows for the deployment of a larger number of sensors and meters, which can provide more detailed and accurate data on the state of the grid. This can help utilities identify and fix problems more quickly.
They can also easily optimize the grid’s operation to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
- Third, 5G enables advanced analytics and machine learning (ML) algorithms to analyze the vast amounts of data generated by advanced sensors and meters. This can help utilities to identify patterns and trends in the data and to use this information to make better decisions about how to operate the grid.
Overall, 5G technology and advanced sensors and meters have the potential to revolutionize the way utilities manage and control their operations.
By providing faster, more reliable, and more detailed data, these technologies can help utilities improve their operations’ efficiency, reliability, and sustainability and better serve their customers’ needs.
A new wave of 5G IoT Smart meters and sensors
The rollout of 5G technology is bringing significant changes in the utility industry, particularly with 5G IoT smart meters and sensors.
Smart meters in every home
Smart meters measure and transmit real-time information about utility usage. They are the basis for usage-based billing and provide both utilities and customers with more detailed information about their utility usage.
Moreover, they enable advanced analytics and forecasting for utility providers and help customers find ways to optimize consumption and reduce their bills.
With the advent of 5G technology, smart meters and other sensors in the utility industry are becoming increasingly connected and able to transmit data more quickly and efficiently.
This enables utility companies to get a more detailed and accurate picture of their customers’ energy usage and to respond more quickly to changes in demand.
The new generation of smart meters is easier to install and connect. This allows utility companies to install them where it was not possible before.
Eventually, utilities can slowly retire the complicated and mostly hated ratio utility billing system (RUBS). Did you know that the most commonly googled phrases associated with RUBS are “illegal” and “fraud?”
IoT applications and devices are coming
5G technology enables the development of many new IoT-based devices and applications in the utility industry.
For example, sensors can monitor the condition of power lines and other infrastructure, alerting utility companies to potential problems before they become serious. This can help prevent outages and improve the power grid’s reliability.
Sensors on water pipes in connection with a water utility billing software can detect leakage, and trash cans with 5G sensors can automatically report when they need to be picked up.
Overall, the adoption of 5G technology in the utility industry is leading to more efficient and effective ways of managing our resources.
It enables utility companies to serve their customers better and create a more resilient and sustainable energy system.
The impact of Electric vehicles and the role of Smart Charging
As the newest electric car sales and statistics show, the sales of electric vehicles or EVs are growing strong. However, the adoption of electric vehicles will slow down if users experience a lack of EV charging points.
But adding new EV charging stations is only possible if the power grids can support them. It’s a topic we covered extensively in our blog about EV charging infrastructure challenges.
To support the widespread adoption of EVs, the power grid must handle the increased demand for electricity and the variability of EV charging patterns.
This will require investments in new technologies such as advanced sensors, smart inverters, energy storage systems, upgrades to existing grid infrastructure, and EV charging management software.
Overall, the impact of EVs on the power grid is significant, and utilities and policymakers will need to work together to ensure that the grid can support the growing number of EVs on the road.
If you want to know more about future developments in this industry, read our blog “EV charging trends and the future of electric cars.”
Don’t underestimate the power of Smart EV Charging management software
An often overlooked aspect in connection with electric vehicle charging is the ability of EV Charging Software to perform Smart EV charging and help balance and protect the grid.
If the whole responsibility for preparing the power grids for electric vehicles is on the shoulders of the Energy & Utility industry, it will be hard. However, we can manage it with the help of Charge point operators (CPO), Smart charging, and technologies like Vehicle to Grid (V2G).
Energy-sharing communities are trending
Energy-sharing communities are groups of individuals or organizations that connect with the purpose of sharing resources such as renewable energy and energy storage. These communities are typically formed around a common goal.
Most commonly, it’s reducing greenhouse gas emissions or increasing energy independence.
Energy-sharing communities are a part of a movement known as the collaborative economy or the peer-to-peer (P2P) economy.
They use various technologies and business models to achieve their objectives.
One of the key technologies energy-sharing communities use is the smart grid and the network of IoT-connected devices that can collect and share data.
The IoT smart meters and sensors are used to monitor and control renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and other assets. This allows the community to manage its energy resources more efficiently.
The most challenging part of having an energy-sharing community is not how to share energy but how to track production and usage and how to distribute the charges!
This is why you need a great billing system, like ours ;)
Tridens is currently part of a new innovative energy-sharing project in Brazil.
We will enable the monetization of energy sharing between producers and consumers. Currently, the project connects over 100 hundred solar plants, ten wind turbines, and more than 10.000 subscribers.
Raised consumer expectations and transparency in the utility industry
The consumers are better educated, know better what they want, want a better user experience, and strive towards sustainability.
They want to know how much they consume, at what prices, and how they can lower their consumption.
In a word, they want transparency, and at the same time, they expect flawless service.
Transparency comes from usage-based charging and functions like consolidated billing, a self-service portal, and user apps.
For flawless service, well, it’s simple. Everything needs to function!
A billing software to keep up with energy and utilities industry trends
That brings us back to where many energy and utility companies are in danger – their obsolete charging and billing solutions have or will soon have trouble keeping up with changes in the industry.
Today’s utility billing solutions are, in reality, enterprise billing software solutions adapted to the specific needs of the energy and utility industry.
When selecting one, you don’t have many options. Look only at a few best products on the market, the “Crème de la crème.”
Tridens Monetization is a well-proven cloud-scale Utility Billing Software tailored to the specifics of Water, Electricity, Gas, Waste, Heating, and Solar Energy businesses. It’s perfect for metered and nonmetered billing, complex price plans, dynamic tariff models, customer management, and more.
Want to get more information about our solutions? Leave a comment below or Schedule a Demo!