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Extreme Weather Driving Investment in Network Resilience

With the number of extreme weather events increasing, we were not surprised to see in our latest research that utilities are investing in smart technologies like advanced weather prediction tools in response to power outages caused by extreme weather and disasters.

Extreme weather conditions have doubled power outages in the U.S. over the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, with many states experiencing significant weather-related disruption, making it more challenging to meet customers’ needs in traditional ways.

Published to coincide with DistribuTECH 2024 in February, our research among senior professionals from U.S.utility companies shows that they are looking to boost network resilience with smart technologies and tools.

The results are not unique to U.S. companies. We would expect to see the same attitudes elsewhere with respondents adopting new approaches to mitigate outages and improve recovery times, while also looking at ways to control rising costs.

What’s clear is the need to build extreme weather events and other disasters related to climate change into the risk profile of any utility company.

While advanced weather prediction tools top the list of initiatives to bolster network resilience, there is also a greater focus on renewable energy integration, grid modernization, and disaster response and recovery plans.

Utilities are also looking to predictive maintenance analytics and enhanced communications to help improve outage recovery times, together with the use of drones and robotics to inspect assets.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding its way into a diverse range of applications, including utilities. Our respondents recognize new opportunities to integrate AI technologies as part their network infrastructure, with use cases ranging from energy consumption forecasting to automated fault detection.

The research confirms the increasing reliance of utilities in their access to data from their network. Any new technologies and applications are only as good as the communications network infrastructure supporting them. The role of reliable, robust and secure networking cannot be underestimated.

Our message is simple – Wi-SUN Field Area Networks should be the network of choice.

In our next blog in this series, we will take another look at the findings and a deep dive into the subject of cybersecurity as a top priority for utilities over the next five years.

For more on our research findings, and to read the full release go here.