Studying the evolution of the electricity grid and opportunities for the future

GO15, a voluntary initiative of the world’s 19 largest power grid operators representing more than 70% of the world’s electricity suppliers, has announced a study of three key areas to ensure future operational and economic sustainability for the transmission and system operator industry.

Thava Govender

Thava Govender, the president of GO15, addressing energy experts at the transmission and distribution session of the recent Africa Utility Week which took place in Cape Town, said that it is imperative that the energy industry worldwide explore how new ideas can be born through collaborative networks of research institutions that bring business, utilities, and countries together. In this way, we can define a research agenda to address our specific industry needs, to build infrastructure, local skills, and capability, and to develop appropriate intellectual property.

The key areas to be researched include reliability and resiliency; the integration of renewable generation and distributed resources; and exploring a new utility business model and market design.

Three work-groups, comprising volunteer experts from 19 of the world’s largest grid operator member companies, have converged to research and present high-level recommendations by 2020.

The work group on reliability and resiliency is currently exploring the effects of, and solutions to, climate change, cyber-security, and grid reliability services for system operators worldwide.

A second group is examining the integration of renewable generation and distributed energy resources and the advanced technologies and tools that are required for optimal operations and management.

Understanding the realities of the utility death spiral, the third group is studying opportunities for, and the evolution of, a new business model and market design for economic and operational sustainability.

GO15 acknowledged the unprecedented evolution of the power supply system and the substantial investments required, not only in transmission infrastructure, but also in the increasingly sophisticated IT technologies required for their management.

According to Govender, this evolution requires in-depth cooperation among the main actors of the electricity domain, including regulators, transmission and distribution system operators, and generation suppliers of critical technologies and equipment, while continuing to deliver at a reasonable cost reliable and green electricity to customers, in line with clean energy policies.

In an increasingly complex world, grid operators must deal with uncertainty and volatility and need new tools and a new market model to accomplish their mission, Govender said. Moreover, reliability impacts of a changing power generation mix require that special emphasis be placed on further development and adoption of the regulatory framework for power grid operations to define technical specifications and to ensure grid sustainability and resource efficiency.

GO15, founded in 2004, comprises grid operators from Africa, Asia, Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, the UK, and the USA.

Contact GO15,


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