Utility Energy Market Research-Project Examples
Utilities: Electric and gas power supply, generation, transmission, distribution, consumption and scheduling. Microgrids. Investor-owned, cooperative, municipal, state, federal.
Compact, portable power-repair and maintenance-power utility, smart grid generation, transmission, distribution
Project Scope: A major supplier of compact, trailerable gas powered generators was seeking to expand its business in utility operations repair and maintenance. North American utilities were challenged on many new fronts to maintain grid stability with a greater degree of system control, and were increasingly investing in solutions to ensure high availability and reliability, reducing risk of service outages and lost revenue.
As a result, utilities planned increasing spending on solutions offering modularity and portability such as standby-emergency power solutions for black starts, outages using balance of plant (BoP) equipment including standby power, blowers, compressors, and related.
Execution: This research assessment relied heavily on direct feedback from key plant personnel at major utilities to better understand current and changing requirements across all operations including generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power.
In-depth research feedback was obtained from plant personnel, maintenance, contractors, other OEMs, ISPs (independent service providers), and other experts. These were actively seeking better solutions for renewable integration, reliability, self-healing, energy efficiency, and resilience to physical and cyber attacks, all related to improved control of grid architectures and continuous real-time operation.
Key topics included: current solutions, changing needs, unmet requirements, features of greatest interest, pricing, qualification and contracting approach.
Separate research was also conducted directly with key competitors (unbranded, not acknowledging client as sponsor) to gain critical insight on current strategies, key positions and future tactics.
Result: As a result of this custom opportunity assessment, this company now had a comprehensive understanding of this highly dynamic market, and was able to make critical decisions with regard to product design, application focus, pricing, sales targeting, potential revenues and market share. This greatly accelerated the company’s time-to-market and helped ensure optimum success.
Wireless gas detection and inspection-power utility operations-remote monitoring, security, data analytics
Project Scope: A leading supplier of fixed and portable gas detectors seeking to expand its business in the global power utility market. This industry was steadily moving toward connected sensors and advanced data analytics tools to enable faster system performance, improved collaboration, remote monitoring and diagnostics, and reduce system complexity, and support enhanced security.
Wireless networks were expanding as part of control systems and there appeared to be interest in wireless gas detection solutions, communications, intelligent alarms, and related technologies for plant operations, health and safety, IT, and worker communications.
The company needed an independent assessment to better understand steps it should take to be successful.
Execution: Although extensive published material was in the public domain, this company required a custom assessment specifically related to its product offerings.
Utilities were seeking to transform into more connected and distributed grids, with mobile work forces, centered around Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. As a result, this research heavily emphasized direct feedback from key decision-makers including Power Utility Plant Managers, Engineering, Instrumentation/Controls, Operations, Reliability, HSE, Automation, IT, Purchasing, and related areas, and related areas.
Major topics included: current level of adoption, wireless applications of interest, future adoption plans, major features of interest in wireless gas detection, decision-making process to adopt.
Final report output included custom spreadsheets showing specific plant (target customer) timetables for likely adoption 10 years forward including key contact decision-makers.
Result: This company now had current understanding of this highly dynamic market, a clearer understanding key motivators for adopting wireless, and the role that fixed and portable gas instrumentation would likely play in the broader industry transition to wireless. It allowed them to better gauge the seriousness of competitive threats, make informed decisions on internal technology investment, and plan sales and marketing efforts.
Power utility opportunity assessment, unmanned aircraft drones for generation, transmission, distribution operations
Project Scope: A leading provider of small unmanned aircraft systems for US and global military applications was seeking to expand and diversify its business in power utilities. This appeared to be potential growth area, utilities traditionally deployed staff labor and fixed wing/helicopters, but drones offered potential lower cost and improved safety (liability) benefits.
Emergence of BVLOS and FAA willingness to provide waivers when adequate safety measures were in place were key factors. This company also had developed new automated, remote sensing, aerial inspection solutions for improved data gathering and analysis. To insure it had guidance directly related to its unique interests, and prior to making a significant market entry, this company required a custom market opportunity assessment.
Execution: The objective was to identify, analyze, and describe specific opportunity directions in the Power Utility market which would generate the most attractive price/margin and revenue growth for this company’s particular high-end UAS data solutions, and define specific pricing to capture maximum achievable total addressable market. This research would also recommend specific next steps and go to market channel strategies.
This emphasized direct, extensive interviews across a number of topics with key decision makers in Transmission, Distribution, and Power Generation sectors at a wide range of top U.S. power utilities in various geographic regions (Duke Energy, San Diego Gas and Electric, Hawaiian Electric Companies, Southern Georgia Power, Ameren, Consumers Energy, others) and included top Technology Development Managers, Transmission Specialists, Grid Infrastructure Managers, UAV Operations, Maintenance and Inspection Operations.
Original, in-depth feedback was assembled on traditional practices, unmanned experience, particular applications where a high-end UAS solution would be of most value, relevant cost structure and pricing, and other issues. It also gathered detailed insights on manned and unmanned solutions deployed, competitive approaches, changing needs, and decision process to engage a new UAS supplier. Final calculations also used in-house market intelligence and select secondary data.
This research identified several key opportunity directions addressable by this company’s solutions and specific price points, addressable overall market size, competitive pricing (manned, unmanned, flight services). It also recommended key capabilities this company should offer in future UAS designs, and specific recommendations on "go to market" strategies to secure new power utility customers.
Result: With this custom research and analysis, this company now had a custom, in-depth understanding of the power utility market tailored specifically to its unique offerings and interests. This also included key use cases it should emphasize and specific prospects to target. They were now able to implement a targeted sales plan following final report presentation, well ahead of its original plan using internal staff.
Distribution Substation Repair-Market Assessment New Mobile Electric Power Solution
Transmission Line Maintenance and Overhaul Solution. Market Assessment New Mobile Power Solution, Key Applications