SP Group, owner and operator of the electricity and gas (T&D) transmission and distribution business in Singapore, developed and published the world’s first Smart Grid Index (SGI) for utilities in 2018. The framework reviews and uses seven key dimensions which are based on the definitions of smart grids by the European Union Commission and the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
These key dimensions are:
- Monitoring and control
- Data analysis
- Reliability of supply
- Integration of distributed energy resources (DER)
- Green energy
- Empowerment and customer satisfaction
These key dimensions measure and compare the network intelligence achieved by 85 utilities in 37 countries and markets. This annual benchmarking exercise for 2020 began in May and ended in December 2020.
Global trends 2020
Utilities around the world continue to focus and invest in network intelligence, as confirmed by an average improvement of 6% from 2019. Results for 2020 indicate that utilities are now focusing on growing on the use of data analytics as they expand their smart meter coverage network and adoption of analytical applications for asset health assessment and / or network planning to to benefit from the data collected.
In general, utilities are now taking steps to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities and physical infrastructure in the face of growing threats to their businesses and networks. More and more utilities are complying with national guidelines to protect their assets against cybersecurity threats.
With the growing urgency to respond to the desire to reduce carbon emissions, there is a need to invest heavily in sustainable energy solutions. DER integration and green energy are emerging trends seen among global utilities. This is especially true given that the cost of DERs has seen a significant reduction over the past decade.
Public service results for 2020
Utilities in the three regions, namely Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, scored high on surveillance and control, a basic requirement for smart grid development. All the utilities that participated in the survey have implemented a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, with around 60% of utilities now having a distribution management system ( DMS) and / or installing an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS).
As a region, European public services have improved the most, especially in the areas of data analysis, DER integration, security and green energy. This is likely attributed to the wider coverage of smart meters and an increase in compliance with national security guidelines. In addition, utilities are now benefiting from a greater contribution from renewable energy sources, for example wind and solar, supporting the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and the deployment of energy storage systems through large-scale battery.
Utilities in North America continue to dominate smart grid development due to the disruption of their electrical industry earlier than in other regions. These utilities are now the world leaders in data analytics, security and DER integration.
Utilities in the Asia-Pacific region significantly improved data analysis with an increase of 15%, the biggest jump in this category among the three regions. These utilities have also seen growth in their smart meter coverage and more widespread use of data analytics to monitor asset health and grid planning.
SP Group first developed the SGI to advance its own network development and then introduced it to its industry peers to promote the sharing of best practices to improve the quality and reliability of the distribution system. energy, reduce costs and enable a more sustainable environment.
IMS reflects the pulse of the industry as utilities around the world now become more responsive and adaptable to the evolving and changing needs of their customers. In addition to network reliability and increased security, utilities are redoubling their efforts to go green and become more sustainable. Applying this index can, hopefully, help utilities identify and learn best practices from each other to build a smart low-carbon energy future for all.