Just as the telcos have driven the mobile revolution, so they look set to drive the next big one, the IoT, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati. While energy and water are among the foundations of smart cities, the utilities, and cities themselves, whether or not they deploy their own private and public networks, are still ultimately dependent on the telcos and their networks to complete their end to end communications. Indeed, the IoT will emerge from the linkage of all these networks, with national networks forming the backbone. Just how readily these can be delivered has been demonstrated in the Netherlands and South Korea, which in a relatively short space of time, have been equipped with national LoRa LPWANs. [Internet of Things comes to Netherlands and South Korea] And the companies are going full out to stimulate the IoT market in their respective countries.
Sustainability - an opportunity for utilities?
A recent survey from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment has found that the majority of businesses find that adapting to the needs of sustainability is challenging. Yet, they need to do so to survive – to achieve what customers expect of them and to improve their reputations. [75% of businesses find sustainability challenging] There is thus a golden business opportunity for utilities and other players to bring new products and services for businesses to better manage their energy use and improve energy efficiency. It is also an opportunity to build new industry partnerships since sustainability isn’t energy alone.
Apart from sustainability for others, what about utilities’ own business models? One area that has largely remained outside their purview is electric vehicle charging, with most of the development of charging infrastructure done publicly or privately. An exception is Consumers Energy, which is providing EV purchasers with a reimbursement incentive towards the installation of a home charger and will be deploying a network of charging stations across the state. Utilities also have the opportunity to tap into the demand response potential of EVs. [EV market is opening doors for sustainable utility business models]
Offshore wind farms, largely unconstrained by space as are their onshore counterparts, are growing in size. Latest to be granted planning consent is DONG Energy’s Hornsea Project Two, with 1,800MW capacity. If it goes ahead, it will be the world’s largest. [World’s largest offshore wind farm gets go ahead] Hornsea Project One of 1,200MW is already under way. With the development of the full Hornsea Project area, there could be 4,000MW of wind capacity in an area of more than twice the size of Greater London.
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