Backed by a survey of more than 600 power sector stakeholders, Black & Veatch’s 2020 Strategic Directions: Electric Report details an electric industry waging a sweeping transformation, much of it propelled by the rising tide of renewable and distributed energy and how to best integrate it into the grid.

Challenges — and opportunities — abound in this constantly shifting, complex ecosystem of everything from conventional power generation to energy derived from the sun and the wind, and the growing use of microgrid systems. Hydrogen is widely expected to make a star turn over the next decade with help from advances in battery storage.

The quest for sustainability, reliability and resiliency continues to drive utilities and power developers toward broader investments in decarbonization, some more quickly than others, as more states, counties and countries impose mandates that power sources become cleaner and greener. The proliferation of electric vehicles is adding to the pressure to meet added charging needs and respond to increasingly empowered, emboldened consumers.

All the while, regulation remains a focus area even as the integration of generation, transmission and distribution assets takes a stronger foothold and utilities find new ways to make their aging systems more resilient against severe weather shocks and a changing climate. The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an unforeseen complication, in many cases shifting power loads to residential suburbs and away from commercial and industrial sites that have been forced to shut down to stem the virus’ spread.

This report takes the industry’s pulse on those issues and more, using survey findings and thoughtful analyses to paint a clear picture of a power sector repowering itself, modernizing with new technologies and concepts about better ways to keep the power flowing to industry, businesses and homes.

Read the full report by Mario Azar, President, Black & Veatch’s power business