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Energy Resilience In The Time Of A Pandemic

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By: Pritil Gunjan

As the coronavirus outbreak worsens in Europe, most governments have declared a national emergency. Energy suppliers across the continent are working out different measures to ensure that they can meet customer needs, particularly those in vulnerable situations who may need to self-isolate. Business continuity across the energy industry is critical to ensure people don’t experience any hardships in heating and lighting their homes. Across the energy value chain, utilities are the most likely to be affected as a large percentage of workers are impacted by this pandemic. While the national economies are preparing for economic disruptions and implementing efforts to flatten the curve, a reliable power and electricity supply is needed to prevent any additional disruptions. Supply chain disruptions and decarbonization are the most serious issues for developers who have extensively relied on sourcing from China without hedging their risks.

Energy Management Strategies for Utilities

Utilities must take proactive steps to ensure that the building blocks of critical infrastructure—electricity, heat, and water—continue to be delivered despite these new challenges. The demand for power will shift from commercial and industrial segments to residential consumers as remote schooling and work from home arrangements become the new norm. The change in energy consumption patterns across Italy and China illustrates this imminent fact. To ensure greater resilience, accessibility, and energy security across consumers, utilities will need efficient energy management technologies that can unlock business continuity. Energy stakeholders will need to think ahead of the curve to ensure their systems offer the flexibility and agility needed to deal with these challenges. Redefining strategies across the energy sector may include the following:

  • Distributed Energy Resources (DER) can offer the energy industry an opportunity to meet increasing local demands while meeting emission mitigation goals and dampening increasing price rises.
  • Self-generation can help utilities reduce costs, improve reliability and resilience, and achieve the environmental benefits of emission reduction.
  • Digital technologies and DER energy management tools can help utilities take control of potential disruptions from supply chain optimizations to storage for managing intermittency. 
  • Local sourcing can relieve supply chain issues and save massive transport-related carbon emissions around the world.

The energy industry is one of the most resilient industries. Once the pandemic has run its course and power demand has stabilized, the energy sector may have unlocked opportunities through efficient operations, innovative technologies, and an agile supply chain.

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