Energy Source and Distribution catches up with Capgemini Australia’s head of energy and utilities to talk about the changing business landscape, distribution and new technologies.
How have you seen power generation, transmission, supply and distribution change in recent years?
Given energy consumption has fallen, wholesale prices are at very low levels. There is an increased trend in gas-fired generation as a result of the introduction of the Carbon Tax. Carbon pricing is well adrift with the European Union and we’d expect this to be addressed now the federal election has happened.
Gas prices are expected to rise sharply as Australia becomes interconnected with Global LNG markets. This will put upward pressure on wholesale prices in the next two years. Generation has struggled to attract talent, which means asset management and optimisation skills are in demand.
Distribution is under a lot of pressure from a federal and state level due to falling revenue and a need to reduce costs. We can expect disposals of non-core assets cost cutting to be the key focus. Metering is on the agenda as the Productivity Commission is recognising consumer engagement needs to be part of the strategy to tackle rising costs. Solar penetration is also having a significant impact in terms of grid stability and revenue.
Transmission has suffered somewhat from fall of revenue and there will be pressure to reduce operating expenses, although this is less severe than distribution.
What energy services are Australian customers using now that weren’t being used few years ago?
Interval meter data, asset survey and condition monitoring as a service, and smart meter operations are a common example.
How do you expect the market to evolve in the near future?
We are seeing an increasing trend toward sophistication as a service offering for operational reporting, early warning and root cause analysis. We could also see power stations using more SaaS (software as a service) offerings for enterprise resource planning, for example. Ownership is highly fragmented and each power station is an islanded business.
For distribution there will be a lot of effort placed on improving processes, driving out costs and using new technologies to improve asset management. Victorian distributors will increasingly use meter data to effect better network outcomes in terms of reduced investment and better maintenance regimes.
What role will Capgemini Australia play in this new energy landscape?
Core to our success in the market will be access and knowledge of IP that can or will change the customer’s operating model. Effectively identifying the impact of and integrating new technologies to get the full benefit will be key. Distribution remains the key target area and Capgemini Australia will be leveraging meter data into business insights, advanced grid control, advanced imagery, dispersed device management to improve core operating processes and platforms. New, more aggressive offshore support models will also be introduced.
What are some of your biggest challenges as head of energy and utilities?
The changing business landscape with significant state-based industry re-structuring and an evolving regulatory environment, all form part of the transformation occurring in our energy sector. Our challenge is to remain at the forefront of this change with our clients and partners, leveraging our local and global thought leadership and innovation.