Cellular connectivity key to tackle surging electricity demand, says Ericsson report

  • Demand for electricity expected to grow at a 2% CAGR for the next
    two decades, largely driven by industrial motors, space cooling, appliances
    and electric vehicles.
  •  Renewable energy sources are shifting the energy value chain,
    allowing for “prosumers” to feed energy into the grid while simultaneously
    consuming it.
      Ericsson is partnering with several utility industry players to
    bring business value and digitalization through cellular connectivity. 
    Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) today released a Connected Energy Utilities report
    in partnership with Arthur D. Little, highlighting the significance of
    cellular technology in the digitalization of the energy sector.

As energy costs and demand for electricity rise, the report explores a
vision of the near future in which the utility sector harnesses cellular
connectivity to mitigate the increasing complexities of meeting the needs of
a rapidly evolving electric grid and consumer demand profiles – enabling
utility providers to expand capacity, optimize utilization of
infrastructure, increase grid reliability, and boost operational efficiency
through a secure and reliable network.

In addition to growing demand and an ever-evolving mix of energy sources,
the utility sector is also facing growing challenges in cost control and
cybersecurity. With the demand for electricity growing at an expected 2%
compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next two decades, the report
notes that utility providers need to make investments in new technologies in
order to meet these demands and best serve consumers. Ericsson technology
provides management services for private networks, public mission-critical
infrastructure and IoT deployments.

Also highlighted in the report are changes in the energy value chain. As
renewable energy sources continue to become more available and viable,
consumers are becoming “prosumers,” feeding energy back into the grid –
through solutions such as residential rooftop solar PV – while
simultaneously consuming it, shifting the value chain from traditional
one-way electricity flow to being circular in nature. 4G LTE technologies in
particular will prove to be crucial over the next decade and beyond in
handling the bi-directional energy flow from prosumers and increased
fluctuations in power production stemming from renewable energy sources,
with 5G connectivity expected to come into play in the future.

Koustuv Ghoshal, Vice President & Head of Utilities, Ericsson, says,
“Cellular connectivity is helping to accelerate the digital transformation
of utilities. Electrical infrastructure has an operational lifetime of up to
five decades. So for utilities, connectivity technology is a worthwhile
investment as it will continue to provide extensive business value for years
to come. As power generation methods expand to include renewables and the
demands on transmission/distribution grids become more complex, it is vital
for the utility sector to evolve along with it through continued integration
of advanced cellular technology.”

Several benefits of this technology have already been proven, supporting
internal communications, worker safety, automation, user experience and
insight-driven innovation, bringing digitalization to the forefront of
efficient business operations.

While still evolving, cellular technology also already presents use cases of real time data exchange, automatic grid fault detection, distribution automation, connected electric vehicle charging, and building energy management
<https://www.ericsson.com/en/enterprise/reports/connected-buildings>  and
optimization. Ericsson’s report also highlights future use cases in
partnership with enterprises across the globe such as Thales, Chungwa
Telecom, Southern Linc, and Blue Corner, from remote site drone inspections
and a digitally-enabled workforce to modernization of legacy communications
and predictive maintenance.