CIGRÉ News Issue 15: Modular Infrastructure

Smart Wires sponsors Issue 15 (FY16 Q1) of USNC CIGRÉ News

Fundamental changes are affecting the electric utility business, creating new challenges for utilities around the world as they seek to reliably serve their existing customers and to nurture growth in their service territories.

Given the dramatic changes in how electricity is generated and consumed, transmission utilities have a unique opportunity to redefine their approach to modernizing grid infrastructure while positioning their organizations for success in this new reality.

At Smart Wires, we believe the key to pioneering the future electric transmission business involves taking a modular and flexible approach to infrastructure development. Recent work by researchers at Columbia University examines the advantages of “Small Modular Infrastructure,” a strategy that challenges conventional thinking on economies of scale.

The researchers propose a novel design philosophy, “one that replaces economies-of-unit scale with economies of numbers, that phases out custom-built, large-scale installations and replaces these with large numbers of mass-produced, modular, small-unit scale technology.”

Moreover, modular units can be immediately or gradually deployed, or-redeployed as needs evolve, reducing risk and providing significant option value. In addition to highlighting the advantages of a modular design and technology approach, the research also reveals the need for revised project costing methods.

These new models should account for the economic benefits of the modular approach, including scalability, optionality, reduced lead time, and re-deployability, among others, when calculating total project investments.

We encourage you to read through the paper and look forward to exploring with you how a modular approach leveraging Smart Wires technology could deliver benefits to your business.

You can read the white paper here.