Viasat has released the findings of a comprehensive global survey conducted among senior electrical utilities industry professionals.
The survey results highlight a range of emerging threats to national grid stability over the next five years, underscoring the importance of finding solutions to safeguard critical national infrastructure.
The study, part of Viasat’s ‘Critical National Infrastructure Series,’ sheds light on the role of satellite-enabled IoT technology in improving network reliability amidst these risks.
The survey identified several significant threats that utilities sector leaders believe will impact national grid stability:
- Climate change and natural disasters: Over 60 percent of respondents expressed concern about managing the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters. As climate-related events increase in frequency and intensity, this concern becomes even more pronounced among C-suite executives, with 66 percent acknowledging it as the top risk.
- Environmental-focused regulations: Around 58 percent of respondents perceive potential financial risks if utilities fail to meet new environmental-focused regulations. As governments worldwide prioritise sustainability and environmental responsibility, compliance with stringent regulations becomes critical.
- Cybersecurity concerns: Cyber threats, including state-sponsored attacks and cybercriminals exploiting vulnerabilities, were identified as the third most important risk, with 53 percent of respondents acknowledging the significance of this challenge.
- Transition to renewable energy: With an increasing shift towards renewable energy sources, 43 percent of utilities industry professionals expressed concern about managing fluctuating supply and demand patterns during this transition phase.
- Ageing infrastructure and increased consumer demand: Around 42 percent of respondents highlighted the importance of addressing ageing infrastructure, especially when the surging consumer demand puts additional pressure on power grids.
Despite these challenges, the survey revealed a high level of optimism among the respondents regarding the potential of satellite-enabled IoT solutions in enhancing infrastructure reliability. A significant majority (76%) believe that satcom will play a crucial role in mitigating risks and ensuring the stability of national electrical utilities.
The perceived benefits of satellite IoT solutions are diverse and extensive:
- Climate change and natural disaster mitigation: About 70 percent of respondents see satellite-enabled IoT as a means to tackle climate change and natural disaster-related threats through innovations such as environmental monitoring, early warning systems, and remote asset management in climate-sensitive regions.
- Cybersecurity enhancement: Nearly 79 percent of utilities sector leaders believe that satellite IoT technology can effectively address cybersecurity threats by employing advanced encryption, authentication mechanisms, and secure traffic routing systems.
- Business performance improvement: Over 57 percent of respondents anticipate that satellite IoT solutions will lead to better business performance by enabling cost reduction and risk mitigation through remote monitoring and control of assets.
According to Jat Brainch, Chief Commercial and Digital Officer at Viasat, as electricity networks face unprecedented levels of demand from modern consumers and businesses, their role as critical national infrastructure becomes increasingly evident.
“With the rise of threats from climate change, bad actors, and ageing infrastructure, managing the supply and distribution of electricity has never been so complex. The good news is that satellite-enabled Internet of Things technologies offer a proven, reliable way to tackle these risks head-on, and the industry is becoming increasingly open to leveraging them to protect and maintain their networks going forward,” explains Brainch.
“Over the next five years, we expect such technologies to become integral to the successful functioning of electrical grids, as well as playing a central role in the broader transition to renewable energy sources worldwide.”
As we move forward, satellite IoT is expected to become an integral part of electrical grids’ successful functioning, driving operational efficiencies, improving profitability, and promoting sustainable outcomes for critical national infrastructure as a whole.
By embracing satellite IoT, utilities can ensure the reliability and resilience of their networks, thus contributing to a more sustainable and secure future.
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