Making value-based decisions has become increasingly critical for utilities as grid modernization takes center stage. From extreme weather to security threats, the race to transform existing infrastructure is accelerating. In a recent webinar, Copperleaf’s Solutions Consulting Lead, Rachel Grillot, facilitated a discussion between Jay Oliver, GM of Grid Strategy and Asset Management Governance at Duke Energy, and Joe Zhou, Sr. Managing Director of Infrastructure Modernization at Black & Veatch.
Throughout the webinar, Jay and Joe discuss how value-based decision making can help organizations take advantage of emerging opportunities and solve the challenges of the energy transition.
Grid Transformation is Accelerating
The lessons learned from recent climate events in the United States serve as a good reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done—and it needs to be tackled with urgency. While the grid of the future will certainly help mitigate the major threats utility companies face today, such a transformation requires a massive infrastructure overhaul. Duke Energy and other utilities need runway and the right tools in their arsenal to truly modernize the grid.
Challenges of Grid Asset Investment Planning
It’s not uncommon for different lines of business within an organization to develop their own plans, and rarely do those plans intersect with one another. To truly optimize grid transformation, as Jay stressed, businesses can no longer operate in siloes; integrated system planning needs to be the driving force across an organization. Asset investment planning facilitates this integrated view by enabling stakeholders to work more collaboratively and efficiently across traditional siloes, resulting in more transparent and consistent decision making at the enterprise level.
While integrated system planning certainly increases the complexity of the planning process, it gives utilities more confidence that the whole system is going to deliver reliable and resilient service—and that the right trade-off decisions are being made across the business as a whole to move the grid forward. This process gets even more complex for companies like Duke Energy that operate across multiple jurisdictions—one of several challenges Jay and Joe address during the webinar.
How can you possibly develop a consistent approach and address differences in regulatory requirements from state to state?
Developing a Grid Investment Framework
To tackle the challenges of grid investment planning, one common theme emerged: value. Utilities need a comprehensive and consistent way to value investments across all asset classes—and demonstrate the short- and long-term benefits of those investments to customers, regulators, and other stakeholders.
The Copperleaf® Value Framework creates this basis for quantitative decision making. It allows Duke Energy to evaluate all investments on a common economic scale and ensure decisions are aligned with its grid modernization strategy and roadmap, while taking into consideration the different priorities in each jurisdiction.
Sometimes the legislature will make laws that apply to us about the types of investments we need to do. Sometimes the commissions will enact rules. We take that into account and make sure we value investments appropriately for what’s important in those states.
Duke Energy relies on the Copperleaf Decision Analytics Solution to construct multi-year plans with defined and measurable benefits across all jurisdictions. Having the ability to run multiple investment scenarios allows Duke Energy to select the best plan that drives the value their regulators expect and demonstrate they’ve done their due diligence.
For more insights on how Duke Energy is approaching grid modernization, please watch the full webinar.
Clean Energy and Investment Planning Working Group
To develop and align industry best practices with regards to clean energy investments and their impacts to T&D, Copperleaf has teamed up with Black & Veatch to form an industry working group around investment planning.
We’re seeking a small group of utilities to be founding members of this working group. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Russ Stothers.
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