Stop looking backwards, start looking forward: TransGrid

The newly privatised New South Wales power grid owner TransGrid will explore a range of business opportunities in telecommunications, renewable energy connections and maintenance services, while tapping into emerging technologies and consumer trends.

New chief executive Paul Italiano has outlined a dynamic future for the transmission company, sold by the NSW government for $10.3 billion, that is intended to ensure the network increases its relevance to consumers even as they turn to renewable energy and self-generation.

“If we are not changing, if we are not adapting, if we are not innovating, we will die like dinosaurs,” Mr Italiano said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We have to stop looking backwards at the role that the networks played; we have to start looking forward.”

Instead, the former Western Power boss pointed to a future where the grid plays a vital role supplying consumers with the reliable and affordable energy they want – increasingly renewable power – but where also the lines blur between the traditional roles of generators, transmitters and distributors.

“This is the phenomenon of disruption: emerging technology is giving different players along the supply chain the opportunity to perform functions or do things that traditionally they weren’t able to do,” he said.

The company has yet to reveal its telco plans but Mr Italiano pointed to “very encouraging” developments that would allow TransGrid to make better use of the telecommunications capacity embedded in its network. It could also invest in new grid connections for customers to wind turbines and solar panels, and take over maintenance of those instead of leaving that to others further down the electricity supply chain.

“There are assets that are extremely complementary with running a transmission system that sit outside what was traditionally considered to be a boundary point where TransGrid is extremely well placed,” he said.