Report: Utilities Face Disruptive Changes In Smart Grid Roll Out

You’ve heard us talk about smart grids a fair amount in the past few months here at EarthTechling. It makes you wonder – how fast is this technology actually being deployed? To this date not so fast, as one takes into account new survey data released by Microsoft at CERAWeek 2010 in Houston. The Microsoft Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2010, in a nutshell, found that only “8 percent of utilities around the world have completed their smart grid technology implementations while 37 percent have projects underway and more than half haven’t yet started.”

It is said, according to Microsoft, that one of the big reasons behind this slow deployment is the “disruptive character” of this new technology. Utilities, given the widespread architecture of technology they have to deal with to deliver power, find that “the magnitude of change for everything from business models to systems is overwhelming, especially given utilities’ existing asset and technology investments combined with the need to ensure profitability and reliability.” They find themselves, despite these issues, to be pressured in the smart grid implementation direction “in the face of growing demand for electricity, political desires for a cleaner environment, and acknowledgement that a smart grid operating environment could benefit every utility company’s overall financial performance and efficiency.”

Microsoft Smart Grid Survey

image via Microsoft

“As this study clearly shows, the disruptive nature of the smart grid revolution, and the innovations it brings, has caught many in the industry by surprise, including many utilities that already have embraced smart grid technologies,” said Jon Arnold, managing director for the Worldwide Power & Utilities Industry at Microsoft, in a statement. ” “Some incorrectly assert that the utility industry is unwilling to change, but the survey shows the opposite. It’s the magnitude of change to everything from business models to systems that’s overwhelming.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.