Utilities around the world are leveraging digital technologies to enhance efficiency and optimize production. Examples show impressive returns, but we wanted to understand the wider picture of the value and benefits of digital plants. We surveyed 200 senior executives in utility companies around the world with annual revenues of more than $1 billion to know about their digital plant initiatives.

Our research has found that utility players expect digital plants to bring in a step change in performance improvement in all key areas of production, especially in crucial cost items which would lead to a drastic reduction of annual production costs. A case study in this report shows that an average combined-cycle power plant in US can save about US $20 million of annual production cost. We have also found that, by enhancing fuel efficiency, digital power plants can reduce global CO2 emissions by 625 million metric tons which is equivalent of having 28.6 billion more trees on earth or eliminating annual emissions from 133 million passenger vehicles.

Value of digital utilities

Our analysis of digital plant initiatives in eight countries across three continents shows that Europe and US are the early adopters while China and India are planning to catch up. We have also found that the lack of digital maturity in utility companies’ operations is a major hindrance in attaining the full potential of digital plants.

Our study shows that digital maturity can help a utility company to have a much higher success rate of digital plant initiatives and save 33% extra in crucial cost items. Drawing on the analysis of the survey data and our experience of working with utilities around the world, in this paper, we have provided a set of actions that utilities can take to enhance their digital maturity and realize the full potential of digital plants

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