TRC Companies, engineering, environmental consulting and construction-management services provider, has released its top predictions for 2018, which include the US government's pumping trillions into aging infrastructure and utilities building smarter, more balanced grids.
“2018 is shaping up to be a dynamic year across all of our market sectors,” said TRC CEO Chris Vincze.
“With the new administration in Washington entering its second year, a mix of new legislative initiatives, ongoing regulatory changes and always-changing market forces will combine to trigger a year of big transition – most of it positive to the economy and the environment.”
Here are TRC’s predictions for 2018 as determined to be most relevant to readers of Metering & Smart Energy International:
Comprehensive federal infrastructure legislation will bankroll projects big and small across the US.
“With the US House and Senate trying to reconcile separate tax reform bills that each include corporate tax rate reductions, the next big piece of legislation will be long overdue infrastructure funding. These two significant pieces of legislation will spur continued growth and tax revenue to keep the economy growing well into the next several years. This will bolster federal, state and local government budgets, resulting in additional infrastructure investment from all levels of government.”– Doug Massih, President, Infrastructure Sector.
States will rely on alternative approaches to planning and construction in order to pay for their projects
“Expect a large upswing in design/build transportation projects and more public/private partnership procurements. These more agile delivery methods could be the best way for states to meet their funding goals, depending on what happens with the Trump administration’s planned infrastructure push and potential staffing cutbacks at state transportation departments.” – David Clevenger, Principal, Transportation Design.
The transition to renewable sources of energy will continue unabated.
“[We are] experiencing strong demand in solar siting projects, and overall US spending on renewables – solar, wind, geothermal, hydro – is anticipated to exceed $13 billion per year through 2020.” – John Cowdery, President, Environmental Sector.
Expanding energy storage and finding new uses for old power plants will become priorities.
“Interest in grid-integrated energy storage and distributed generation will remain high. Look for growing interest on the part of utilities to supplement grid hardening activities in order to make them more resilient to storms, natural disasters, cyber attacks or terrorist threats. And interest in alternative uses for low capacity factor and shuttered power plants will grow as land developers capitalise on the unique infrastructure that these sites provide.” – Mark Hall, Vice President, Power Generation.
The push for smart grids will pick up from both the utility side and the regulatory side.
“Utilities will continue to review, evaluate and invest in distributed generation while working with regulators to pilot projects and demonstrate the value of intelligent grid systems. The key to truly smart grids will be IT and telecommunication upgrades that optimise system measurement and monitoring capabilities. This will improve the ability to prevent system outages and reliability/quality impacts from the integration of renewable technology or natural disasters.”– Stephen Persutti, Vice President, Utility Development.