Microsoft Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2011, released today at CERAWeek 2011 in Houston, shows only a modest increase (8%) in the number of utilities moving past smart grid planning and into implementation. The survey also shows a general industry expectation (73%) that budgets to support these efforts are on the rise.
The survey, which polled more than 210 professionals within electric, gas and related companies around the world, also highlights the challenges utilities face -- from financial and regulatory to technology and return on investment -- as they move from planning to actual smart grid implementation. One of the survey's key findings is that utilities need architectural and implementation guidance to be certain that future smart grid technology advances will integrate with and help protect their existing technology investments.
Responses to a new survey question show that, despite their confidence in today's smart grid technologies, 64% respondents said they don't have a clear view of the enterprisewide information and technology infrastructure they will use to structure current and future smart grid deployments. An equal number (64%) said the flexibility to adapt new or future technologies is paramount to achieving the grid of the future.
In similar ratios to the 2010 survey, utilities professionals and executives (72%) perceive distribution management as the most important solution needed for successful smart grid implementations. Many (60%) see their budgets for distribution and energy management technologies increasing this year.