Decarbonization and electrification are twin trends that have come to define modern energy systems. The power and utilities (P&U) sector, particularly electricity generation, is undergoing dramatic change as a consequence. Renewable energy, both grid-scale and distributed, coupled with the digital revolution, alters the grid’s topology and adds colossal complexity to the electricity supply chain.
Digital connectivity has also exposed networks to cyberattacks from malicious nation-state hackers and criminal gangs. Amongst a growing list of incidents are a suspected state-sponsored assault on India’s power grid via IoT devices and cameras1 and an attempted poisoning of Florida’s water treatment system.
Climate-related weather events like fires, flooding, winds and extreme heat and cold are a further threat, accentuating the vulnerabilities of aging assets and raising the specter of lawsuits for damage to the environment and people.
All this comes as the sector faces a surge in demand as the world recovers from the COVID-19 disruption, along with high energy and commodity prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Customer expectations are changing rapidly, with consumers seeking new, digital engagement channels while also becoming suppliers to the grid through self-generation.
It’s no exaggeration to say that electricity underpins nearly every facet of modern life — without which our daily existence is threatened. To deliver the 24/7 service that society demands, P&U providers must remain solvent, efficient and secure in a volatile market with high capital and maintenance costs and talent scarcities. Additionally, regulators are placing higher demands on the P&U sector to demonstrate it has done everything it can to avoid outages.
In this first edition of Plugged In magazine, we look at how companies can face up to the increasing levels of risk in the P&U sector to remain resilient and continue to power people, organizations and nations.
From globalism to national security discusses how the conflict in Ukraine has altered notions of global energy supply chains while looking at ways to tackle this and other risks like cyber, distribution, investment and asset management.
In ESG and cyber security are two sides of the same coin, we argue how trust in renewable power sources can drive the decarbonization revolution — by overcoming the threats caused by cyberattacks on a distributed grid.
Another article, From continuity to resilience, charts the shift in focus from ’response and recovery’ to ’resilience by design’ to maintain services 24/7 through strategies like infrastructure hardening, weather event modeling, improved cyber security, and access to the right skills.
The fourth and final piece, Incident readiness: a playbook for your worst day, takes a realistic view of the various threats and considers how P&U providers can keep on top of risks, to prevent them in the first place and be fully ready should the worst happen, to minimize the fallout.
Technology will play an increasing role in risk and resilience, with automation, AI, IoT and VR/AR helping to simulate the impact of future attacks and weather events, increase control and monitoring over networks, identify breaches, adapt swiftly and trigger recovery. 5G will likely be at the center of these efforts, while the emerging metaverse can open up new opportunities to test, communicate and learn new capabilities.
It’s an exciting yet challenging time for the P&U sector, and KPMG professionals are working with clients at the cutting edge to help power the future.
Enjoy the articles!