SEPA Unveils Two Focus Areas in Alignment with New Industry Insights Survey

New Grid Integration and Utility Business Models "pathways" seek to support a clean and modern electric grid

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To help bridge the gap between the technologies utilities need and what solution providers offer, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) recently surveyed over 1,500 industry professionals to publish the first power technology market gap analysis, 2019 Grid Integration Insights. The analysis covers solar, EV infrastructure, microgrids, DERMS, advanced inverters and battery storage technologies, and identifies the largest pain points with grid integration processes in 2019.


The survey results confirm what SEPA's members face every day. Highlights include:
• There is a 16.8% gap in utilities using or evaluating EV infrastructure and solution provider focus.
• 72.9% of battery storage providers face regulatory and other barriers to markets.
• The number one challenge for increasing customer engagement is recruiting participants to programs, which is 40% more likely for municipal utilities than IOUs.
In order to address the emerging challenges of grid integration, along with the evolving future of utility business models, SEPA will focus on two new pathways moving forward: grid integration and utility business models, in conjunction with two previously announced pathways; transportation electrification and regulatory innovation.

"As highlighted in the results of our audience survey, one of greatest challenges facing the utility industry is the integration of increasing amounts of large scale renewables and distributed energy resources into existing grid infrastructure and operating practices. From large urban IOUs to small rural co-ops, continuing efforts to create a more responsive, adaptive, 2-way grid is at the forefront. SEPA is responding with our Grid Integration pathway, designed to provide the resources and community for our members to respond to these needs," said SEPA's President and CEO Julia Hamm.

To lead both the Regulatory Innovation and Utility Business Models pathways, SEPA recently hired Janet Gail Besser as Managing Director. Besser brings nationally recognized expertise and broad industry experience as a regulator, utility executive, developer, consultant, and consumer advocate to the role.

"Our utility audience is clear they need to adapt to a bold energy transition while making sure the lights stay on and prices are affordable to everyone. Integrating these exciting new technologies will take original ideas and a determined look at how utilities need to evolve to serve their customers into the next century. Our Utility Business Models pathway is designed to assist our members in making that smart transition and fostering innovation while maintaining reliability, affordability, resilience, and safety," said Besser.

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