Tag: Global Energy Sector

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Top 4 Benefits of Competitor Analysis That Can Help Energy Sector Companies to Flourish

The US energy sector is facing unprecedented challenges like unpredictable government policies and regulations, growing competition, the aging workforce, modernizing grid infrastructure, and cyber-attacks. The target and policy measures agreed by the governments of many countries to reduce CHG emissions are exerting pressure to move away from fossil fuels consumption. This is resulting in an immense increase in the competition among the companies, especially in the US energy sector, and new research unveils that this competition is going to be even fierce in the years to come.

Increasing competition demands for more efficiency. It can become a roadblock for the entry of new players in the market. Additionally, it can also hinder the growth of a company if it is not able to analyze the competitors’ strategy. Therefore, the companies need to have a proper competitor analysis framework in place to gain actionable insights on current market position, end-consumers, and key competitors, and the credibility of their partners and associates.

At Infiniti Research, we understand the pain that companies in the energy sector face in the process of competitor analysis and competitor profiling.  So, to help companies identify and profile the competitors in the target market while evaluating their strategies to determine the strengths and weakness of the services rendered, our team of experts has listed four crucial benefits that competitor analysis offers in the energy sector.

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Benefits of Competitor Analysis for Companies in the Energy Sector

#1: Competitor analysis guide inaccurate forecasting of competitors’ move

Competitor analysis help companies to analyze and assess the next move of their competitors, which helps in better brand positioning. It helps companies in the energy sector to:

  • Find new markets to enter or increase the presence
  • Predict competitors’ actions
  • Improve product development
  • Beat competitors to market
  • Improve and personalize consumer interaction
  • Give consumers what they want and increase market share
  • Find new products and tech that will disrupt the competitive landscape
  • Identify political or legislative issues
  • Stand out from the crowd with a distinct corporate identity and tone of voice

(more…)

IR22

Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy You Should Know

The origins of nuclear energy can be traced back to 1932 when physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that immense amount of energy was released when lithium ions were split by protons from a proton accelerator. After subsequent discoveries from Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, nuclear energy was able to power nuclear reactor for energy generation. Today, uranium, a common element in the Earth’s crust, is the element of choice for conducting nuclear fission for generating electricity. Going by today’s consumption rate of the element, numerous studies estimate the IR_Brochurereserves to last for another 200 years’ worth of supply. Nuclear energy is distinct from any other source of energy and has its own sets of pros and cons.

Advantages of nuclear energy

Continuous electricity generation

Nuclear power unlike other sources of energy is independent of natural conditions. For instance, solar and wind energy is highly dependent on hours of sunlight or wind which doesn’t usually coincide with fluctuating energy demands. A nuclear power plant is generating electricity about 90% of the annual time which is relatively high compared to other forms of renewable energy. In comparison, natural gas generates an average electricity of 50% of the annual time, while coal and wind produce energy at almost 51% and 32% respectively.

Output efficiency

A significant advantage of using nuclear power over fossil fuel is the relatively low amount of fuel it is required to produce an equivalent amount of energy. The cost of nuclear fuel, i.e., uranium, accounts for only 20% of the cost of electricity generated. Such high levels of efficiency also make it easier in transportation, handling, and extraction of nuclear fuel and subsequently reduces the overall costs in the supply chain.

Clean source of energy

The only byproduct generated out of a nuclear power plant is used uranium which is safely stored in pools or concrete containers. Unlike other fossil fuel source, it does not emit CO2 causing air pollution and acid rain. Of all the clean energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro, nuclear power is the most significant source of clean-energy generation in the US contributing to 64% of the total output.

Disadvantages of nuclear energy

Radioactive waste

The radioactive waste generated as a byproduct of nuclear power is hazardous and has to be carefully stored and monitored for several thousand years. Although high-security standard is maintained to store this waste effectively, accidents can still happen with deadly consequences for both humans and nature. A nuclear or radiation accident such as Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Chernobyl disaster, and Three Mile Island accident have posed serious questions to the safety of nuclear energy.

High capital investment

Capital Investment

Although the fuel source of nuclear power, uranium, is relatively low, the cost of electricity is significantly driven by the high rate of initial investment for constructing a nuclear plant. So nuclear plant will have to run for a number of years in order to recoup the initial investment. Additionally, nuclear plants also have a limited life; after expiry, they have to be dismantled. The construction time for a nuclear power plant usually takes 4-5 years with a payback period of over 30 years which is relatively high considering other source of energy.

Fuel availability

Fossil fuels can be mined in many parts of the world, which is not particularly accurate for uranium, which is a very scarce resource. Only a handful of countries have uranium ores, and getting the approval from several international authorities is a tiresome process before building a nuclear power plant. As a result, not many countries can depend on nuclear energy to fulfill the energy demand.

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Top 5 Hydroelectric Power Benefits

Hydroelectric power is one of the oldest forms of electricity generation dating back to hundreds of years where it was used to power domestic power lifts, sawmills, and to perform mechanical tasks like grinding grains. However, the use of hydroelectric power has evolved over time and it is currently the biggest source of renewable electricity. It also contributes to about one-fifth of the entire world’s electricity. The consumption and demand for hydroelectric power are continuously on the rise as it’s a clean fuel source and also one of the cheapest forms of energy today. Apart from generating electricity, hydropower can be used for agricultural activities, industrial uses in hushing, and powering IR_Brochurewater clocks. Here is how hydroelectric power benefits the society, nation, and the world at large:

#1 – Economic source of energy

One of the most pivotal hydroelectric power benefits is the relatively low cost of extracting electricity. For many investors, the upfront cost of constructing and installing hydropower plant can be very high. The prices include not only the plant cost but also the cost of building a dam. But once the power plant is in place, the cost of operation and maintenance is meager. As a result, the marginal cost of per kilowatt of electricity will reduce significantly. Also, since water is used in electricity generation, it is not required to be purified like fossil fuel. The source of hydroelectric power will remain perpetually and have an insanely long lifespan.

#2 – Renewable and clean resource

Since water is the primary source of hydroelectricity, the resource can be used until the end of time. A notable benefit of hydroelectric power is its ability not to consume water, as water powering the turbine ends up in the water stream again. They only derive the energy from moving water and convert it to electricity.

#3 – Eco-friendly

A recent report from the World Energy Council reported that hydroelectric power accounted for about 1,064 GW of installed capacity in the year 2016. To put that in context, each KWh takes about 0.36 kilograms of coal to generate. Thereby, hydroelectric power is an eco-friendly option compared to coal and fossil fuel, which accounts for a major chunk of  the total emissions. Also, using hydroelectric power mitigates the emissions of greenhouse gases that is equivalent to the combustion of 4.4 million barrels of petroleum each day. Additionally, hydropower production doesn’t have any toxic byproducts that would harm the environment.

#4 – Flexibility

An interesting hydroelectric power benefit is its ability to scale the supply of electricity as per the need. When the demand for electricity is low, excess energy can be used to pump water to an upper reservoir. Conversely, when the demand for electricity surges, the stored water is released to power the turbines. The drawback of other form of energy such as wind or solar is that they can only be used when there is sufficient wind flow or sunlight; whereas, water is constantly available. Additionally, at the time of blackout or peak demand, hydroelectricity can be flawlessly fed into the main electric grid system compared to other energy sources.

#5 – Picks up water shortage slack

Hydropower has various other uses apart from electricity generation. The collected water can be easily used for irrigation, for drinking water purpose, or rainwater harvesting. Storing water in such a way also assists in the reduction of vulnerability during droughts and floods. Additionally, impoundment hydropower can create a reservoir for recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating.

 

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IR18

Infiniti’s Market Segmentation Assists a Renowned Renewable Energy Provider Profile the Most Profitable Customer Segments

In the US alone, it is estimated that the renewable energy sources can provide 80 percent of electricity by 2050.

The renewable energy industry is witnessing a transformation with the relative advances in technology, cost declines, and the influence of new financial structures. The industry at large comprises of energy sources including hydroelectric, wind, solar, and liquid biofuels. Despite the availability of fossil fuels, organizations in the renewable energy space are investing heavily on the R&D to meet the growing demands for cost-effective and environment-friendly energy sources. The recent international climate agreement is also focusing on promoting policy incentives for clean energy development. Apart from the regulatory government support, the growth of renewable sources energy space will also be marked by the commercialization of energy and the growing concern to minimize the reliability of fossil fuels for energy consumption. Although the renewable energy space is witnessing a promising growth, owing to the environmental concern, several factors may fuel the growth of the industry. They include:

High capital investments: With the growing environmental concern to shift toward clean energy, organizations are finding ways to improve their R&D capabilities and stay compliant with the government regulations. Investing heavily in R&D not only includes time but also includes the need for high capital investments. Also, the growing concern to minimize the use of fossil fuels to provide efficiency and productivity is further compelling organizations to leverage the use of renewable sources.

Intense competition: With the growing entry of global leaders, the renewable energy industry is witnessing the threat of new entrants offering similar products and services. This, in turn, is forcing organizations to include innovations to enhance their service offerings.

To address these challenges and adequately allocate the resources to meet the customer requirements, organizations in the energy sector are utilizing the need for a market segmentation study. Market segmentation can be defined as the practice of dividing customers into smaller segments based on their interests and spending habits.IR_Brochure

The Business Challenge

  • The Client: Renewable energy provider
  • Area of Engagement: Market segmentation

The client, a renowned renewable energy provider, wanted to identify the potential customer segments and segment the customers based on their preferences. The client wanted to devise their marketing efforts to target specific and smaller groups. With the help of a market segmentation study, the client also wanted to identify the key segments and implement a segmentation strategy to deliver services for each specific segment. The primary concern of the client was to better match their offerings with that of the competitors and tailor pricing to meet the needs of each segment.

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Our Journey

To efficiently segment the products to the end-users, the market segmentation experts at Infiniti carried out extensive research methodology comprising interviews and discussions with prominent stakeholders in the renewable energy space. Moreover, to gain a better perspective on the market scenario, the experts also compiled information across a wide array of secondary sources such as paid industry database, company presentations, and industry forums in the renewable energy space.

The Solution Benefits and the Business Impact

The market segmentation solution offered by Infiniti helped the renewable energy provider create multiple segmentation strategies to differentiate the markets based on geography, distribution, and price. The client was able to realign their marketing campaigns to target and position products effectively. The customer segmentation solution also helped the client target the most profitable market segments to maximize their returns on the investment.

The Future:

The future of renewable energy will be marked by innovations with a considerable number of households leveraging clean energy at their disposal. The renewable energy space will also help countries reduce global warming emissions, improve public health, and thereby, provide related job opportunities. Moreover, in an 80 percent renewable future, countries will witness a radical decline in the carbon emissions by 80 percent, and water use by 50 percent.


A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the renewable energy sector.

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Connected Car Technology

Why You Can Expect ‘Clean Energy’ To Become Cheaper In 2018

 The rising need for maintaining environmental sustainability is garnering increased attention in the clean energy sector. Furthermore, the exorbitant rates of extracting fossil fuels are leading to flexible and cheaper sources like renewable energy to become more popular. This changing trend is going to be one of the critical factors that are going to influence shifts in investment decisions, household usage, business models, and employment patterns. What makes clean energy more appealing is the fact that it is far easier to extract and that too at a lower price than non-renewable sources of energy. As we step into 2018, here are a few factors that would influence the prices of clean energy to be inexpensive:IR_Brochure

Drive in the sale of electric cars

Advancements in technology are driving down the vehicle prices and simultaneously increase the sale of electric vehicles. Though several industry analysts have predicted slow growth in this sector, there are chances for sales of electric cars to rise rapidly due to bulk purchases of these vehicles by several companies. Also, factors such as breakthrough inventions in battery storage technology and increase in auto industry’s capital expenditure are also expected to facilitate the growing sale of electric vehicles.

electric vehicleDeclining popularity of coal

The demand for coal as an energy source has been seeing a declining trend over the past few years. The main reason for this being the rising usage of several affordable, clean energy replacements. This is also going to lead to investments in coal-fired power plants to drop. You can also expect to see cancellations of several proposed power plants and retirements of existing ones in the years to come.

 Wind and solar energy prices will continue to go downhill

The previous year saw a remarkable reduction in the rates of clean energy such as solar and wind. Renewable energy is slowly taking charge of driving electricity markets in different parts of the world. Solar and wind energy has been particularly successful in reaching out to larger sections of people at lower prices; this trend is expected to continue in the following years as well. During the growth period though, clean energy will experience some political and financial setbacks. However, the industry will overcome those obstacles as it becomes a permanent and growing part of the energy landscape.

clean energy Rise in the oil prices

Over the past two years, the oil prices have been on the rise like never before.  The oil and gas industry is slowly moving from massive capital expenditures to strategies that focus on reducing cost, limiting investments, diversification and cash generation. This trend is likely to make clean energy replacements like natural gas in high demand.


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Market Intelligence

Why is Business Intelligence a Hot Topic in the Energy Sector?

Why has energy efficiency suddenly become the new buzz word in the energy sector you wonder? The demand for energy is increasing at an exponential rate with each passing day, raising severe concerns. Therefore, energy efficiency is the need of the hour in the energy sector to avoid any shortage in supply. Energy efficiency refers, in a nutshell, to providing the same service by using lesser energy. How can this be achieved, you ask? We can take a step towards energy efficiency by the better utilization of electronic items, more usage of solar and renewable power resources, using less energy-guzzling devices, etc.IR_Brochure

Business intelligence (BI) and the energy sector might sound poles apart, but believe us when we say that BI can work wonders in this industry. It can help in collecting, collating, measuring, and analyzing data to offer actionable insights. The players in the energy sector can utilize these insights to make the right decisions. A smart BI solution must assist players in the energy sector in making effective decisions in the following business areas:

  • Gain historical data on energy consumption that would help to monitor and track the energy usage over time and make appropriate measures for energy consumption
  • Help predict the risk associated with energy trading
  • BI solutions must help analyze energy generation and power outages and also assist in solving the issues in real-time
  • Companies must be able to devise BI for customer services intelligence to monitor and streamline service center and call center operations

Here are a few benefits that energy sector companies can gain by adopting business intelligence solutions:

Better information quality –  Poor information or data about past or current activities can lead to improper decision making. BI solutions help businesses achieve improved information quality with accurate data, making decision making fair and authentic.

Efficient MDM – BI helps to maintain updated records of the company’s database. Master Data Management (MDM) provides valuable data about the company’s key business entities such as customers, vendors, products, etc. Energy sector companies rely heavily on this data for critical decision making.

Promotes data governance – Data governance is responsible for determining information quality, setting standards, and ensuring that the information quality is achieved. An effective BI solution ensures that these processes are carried out in an orderly fashion.

 


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Transport and logistics

Market Segmentation for a Prominent Client in the Energy Sector Helps Promote Business Efficiency

It is estimated that globally, more than 1 billion people do not have access to electricity and more than 3 billion still use fuel sources like wood, charcoal, coal, and dung for cooking and heating.

The global energy landscape is witnessing rapid transformations, owing to the technological improvements and environmental concerns. The energy sector at large is moving toward a lower carbon future to meet the regulatory compliance requirements. Also, at the fundamental level, the energy sector is influenced by population, economic growth, and energy efficiency improvements. Although the energy sector is witnessing promising growth, several factors pose a hindrance to the growth of the global energy market. These factors include:

  • Uncertain regulations: With the stringent regulations imposed by the government, leading organizations are compelled to enhance competition and drive efficiencies. The regulation is applicable to all countries and is focusing on issues pertaining to fair pricing, security of supply, and environmental concern. With the rising need to address these regulations, leading organizations have to refine their existing architecture to push for efficiency, economic performance, and quality of service.
  • Increasing competition: The shift from monopoly to a more competitive environment is opening up the space for new market entrants in the energy sector. With the entry of prominent global leaders, the market has witnessed an increasing level of competition with new entrants attempting to gain a major share of the energy space. Also, the shift toward renewable sources of energy is resulting in the entry of new service providers, which is affecting the current supply landscape.
  • Heightened customer expectations: Since the demand for energy services is spurring significantly, prominent utility companies are facing relentless pressures to maintain a secure, reliable, and affordable supply to the customers. With the customer expectations increasing, leading companies need to switch suppliers frequently to meet the needs of the target audience.

To address these factors and enhance business performance, leading organizations in the energy sector are facing the need for effective market segmentation studies. Market segmentation helps leading organizations classify promising market segments in terms of the geography, distribution, and lifestyle.IR_Brochure

The Business Challenge

  • The client: A leading company in the energy sector
  • Area of engagement: Market segmentation

A prominent client in the energy sector with a considerable number of service offerings wanted to profile the most promising segments and accordingly allocate resources to these pre-determined segments. The client wanted to classify the customer’s demand for services and efficiently target specific audiences in a cost-effective manner and reduce the risk of an ineffective marketing campaign. The primary concern for the client in the energy industry was to better profile the customer segments and allocate their attention and resources.

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The Journey

To effective identify potential market segments and target specific customer groups, the market segmentation experts at Infiniti carried out extensive interviews and discussions with prominent stakeholders in the energy sector. Additionally, to measure the market size, the market segmentation experts at Infiniti also compiled information from a wide array of secondary sources such as paid industry databases, company presentations, and industry forums.

The Solution Benefits and the Business Impact

The market segmentation solution offered by Infiniti helped the leading organization in the energy sector effectively define the markets into subsegments and profile the market based on similar needs, wants, and demand characteristics. The market segmentation engagement also focused on designing a marketing mix that can go on par with the expectations of the customers. The engagement also sought ways to supply the needs of the entire market and better allocate their resources to meet the client’s requirements. The market segmentation study also offered personalized marketing campaigns to target specific audiences in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, the engagement further helped the client in the energy sector match the expectations of the targeted market.

The Future

Globally, energy companies are shifting from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more personalized approach to better meet the needs and wants of the customers. With the recent shift towards renewable sources of energy, leading organizations are redefining their existing architecture to transform their business models and manage their operating costs more efficiently.


A must-read market segmentation case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the energy sector

IR_RFP

IR6

What’s Bothering the Energy Industry Across the World?

The energy industry comprises of the petroleum, gas, electrical, coal, nuclear, and renewable energy sectors. In recent times, renewable energy has started taking precedence over non-renewable energy sources such as petroleum and coal. This is because of rising consumer awareness towards global warming and government initiatives to curb pollution. Although both the renewable and non-renewable energy industry is growing at a healthy rate, there are some challenges faced by both these sectors.IR_Brochure

Challenges Faced by the Energy Industry

Meeting Decarbonization Targets

In the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, 200 countries committed to COP21, which has identified an ambitious set of goals. In a bid to limit the global warming activities across the world, countries are putting up legislations to curb emissions and provide incentives to businesses with lower or no carbon emission. Numerous reports list that 41% of the world’s total CO2 emissions are caused by the energy industry companies, resulting in initiatives to decarbonize energy supply with renewable energy resources. To show its commitment to COP21, countries such as UAE have vowed to reduce its fossil fuel subsidies and have invested US$163 billion in renewable energy projects. Also, nations and companies having positive carbon balance can sell its carbon credit to companies with higher emissions. Such incentives discourage companies to reduce its carbon footprint and the energy industry players to opt for such alternatives.

Ease of Access and Affordability

Energy access has been largely limited to only the developed and urbanized parts of the world. The accessibility problem is still posing as a significant challenge to the energy industry. The energy prices vary across the globe depending on numerous factors. In multiple regions, the affordability issue seems to be more prominent as it drives the prices of all other consumer goods. For instance, Germany has the highest rate for per kilowatt hour of electricity at 28.18 euros, which is compelling the manufacturing units in the country to outsource production to the low-cost region.

Investment and Returns

The level of investments required for energy generation projects is so significant that it usually has to be backed up by investments from world bank or governments. The typical project cost for energy generation runs over billions of dollars. For instance, in 2005, a conference on renewable energy investment in India had private companies committing around $200 billion in investments into green energy. With such massive investments, the pressure on returns is much higher. The increasing cost of operations and maintenance can reduce the plant availability for power supply to the grid; thereby, diminishing the returns. Additionally, regulatory approvals, construction and technology risks create a significant challenge for the energy industry in delivering energy projects on time, within the stipulated cost and quality targets.

 

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Top Five Wind Turbine Manufacturers Contributing Towards Sustainable Development

The world leaders and power corporations have been prioritizing clean and renewable energy in order to promote sustainability and fulfill the ever-increasing power demand across the world. Many alternatives exist in the form of solar energy, hydropower, nuclear energy, and natural gas. But, amongst all the available alternatives, wind energy is considered to be the most efficient, almost double in terms of energy efficiency (Levelized Cost of Electricity LOCE), compared to the second most efficient energy source, geothermal energy. To convert wind into energy, large wind turbines are installed which can generate 50-750 kW of electricity. A lot of wind turbine manufacturers are investing in research and development to develop the efficiency of this energy source.

Top Wind Turbine ManufacturersIR_Brochure

Vestas

Vestas Wind Systems is a Danish company involved in the manufacturing, distribution, installation, and servicer of wind turbines. Founded in 1945, Vestas generated revenues of around €8 billion in the year 2015. Recently though, Vestas shares dipped by 20% after it lowered its profit guidance on concerns over US subsidy cuts.

Goldwind

Goldwind is a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer and one of the largest wind turbine manufacturer in terms of total installations. Amongst one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers, Goldwind also provides power technology services, technology transfer services, along with investment and sale of wind power projects. Earlier this year, Goldwind Americas has signed 60MW wind turbine supply orders with One Energy.

Enercon

Established in 1984, Enercon is focused on delivering high-quality projects on strict timelines with high emphasis on their customers, service, shareholders, and employees. The German wind turbine manufacturer has worldwide power installation of 43.1 GW with 26,360 wind energy converters (WEC) installations across the world.

Siemens

Siemens is one of the most recognizable names amongst other wind turbine manufacturers. According to Reuters report, Siemens had a market share of about 63% of European offshore wind turbines in the year 2015. Siemens is highly focused on driving down the cost of wind turbines down and make it viable even without subsidies.

Suzlon Group

Suzlon Group is an Indian wind turbine manufacturer, which operates across 18 countries with 17,000 MW of wind energy capacity installed globally. The company is highly driven to enable sustainable development across the world. Out of 17,000 MW capacity worldwide, Suzlon has added over 11,000 MW of wind power capacity in India.

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IR15

Distributed Energy Resources – Is it Threatening the Existence of Traditional Utility Business Models

The world has witnessed the rapid development of gigantic power grid lines that are powering houses and industries across the globe. The world’s first central power station was built in Pearl Street, Manhattan, by Thomas Edison, but had problems scaling economically to a larger geographic area as it needed installation of numerous power stations nearby. This problem was solved by Nicola Tesla’s idea of using alternating current to supply electricity over large distances efficiently. However, over time, this system has proved inefficient, as it cannot effectively scale-up or scale-down, as the power demand surges or goes down. To tackle such problems, distributed energy resources have been looked up as a promising alternative.IR_Brochure

Why Distributed Energy Resources?

Distributed energy resources are being used as an alternative to tackle the increased demand for electrical power systems, power blackouts, power quality problems, and electricity price hikes posed by distributing power through large power stations. Instead of constructing large, expensive central power plants and high-voltage transmission lines, distributed energy resources offer consumers a low-cost option which is highly reliable with increased energy efficiency providing them energy independence. For instance, by using a solar or photovoltaic (PV) system, homes and business owners can offset the electricity costs by reliably producing electricity. Additionally, these power sources are local and renewable, providing significant environmental benefits.

Distributed Energy Resources Challenges

Currently, there are numerous distributed generation technologies ranging from solar, wind turbines, microgrids, and gas-fired microturbines for backup power generation and energy storage. Amongst these, solar power and wind turbines output are dependent on an intermittent resource, making it difficult to predict the amount of power that will be available at any given time of the day. The other problem with this technology lies in the distributed energy resources management system, as the system accounts for a higher percentage of system losses in comparison to higher-voltage transmission systems. Apart from the technical factor, distributed power generation requires a high amount of investment from each individual user along the network. For instance, installing solar power system for a regular home can cost anywhere in the range of $25,000-$35,000, with a payback period of 20 to 25 years. Despite the challenges posed by distributed energy resources, many analysts and consumers are optimistic that technology cost reduction will increase penetration of this model, threatening the existence of traditional utility business models.

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