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Empowering ideas

A look at ten of the top emerging issues in the power and utilities sector


Empowering ideasInternationally, the power and utilities industry faces virtually unprecedented levels of uncertainty. Spiralling energy demand requires organizations to invest heavily in infrastructure renewal, additional base-load generation and new technologies for carbon capture and smart metering. Operators need to coordinate action with regulatory authorities to expand transmission and distribution lines. Additionally, they must accomplish these tasks despite resource constraints caused by competition for capital and limited access to skilled talent.

Given the enormity of these emerging trends, many power and utilities players are moving quickly to identify the optimal response strategy. To help you plan your organization’s response, Deloitte has developed Empowering ideas, a report that outlines the top ten issues power and utilities must address. They are:

  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Investing in renewable energies
  • Developing a strategy around resurging nuclear power generation
  • Improving power plant efficiency
  • Averting looming power supply shortages
  • Displaying innovative regulation and management – for both public and private utilities
  • Adopting technologies for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) and smart metering
  • Attracting and retaining a new generation of skilled workers
  • Tackling infrastructure obsolescence
  • Finding innovative ways to curtail demand and meet rising demand without increasing generation

Each of these issues will affect your organization differently, depending on your business model and jurisdiction. One thing is clear: regardless of your role in the power and utilities industry, you need to carefully prioritize your investments to align your spending with your long-term goals and obligations. This mandates the review of your emissions inventory and portfolio, the examination of an array of possible future scenarios and the willingness to conduct in-depth situation assessments, economic forecasts and financial analyses. In many cases, it may also require a wholesale rethinking of your business model, your talent attraction processes and your regulatory framework.

Further reading:

Read Time right for renewal (David Pett, Financial Post; Dec. 4, 2009; posted with permission)

Read Carbon management: In the power and utilities sector, standing by the sidelines is no longer an option (Jane Allen, Green Business; Jan. 19, 2010; posted with permission)