New global research reveals three-quarters of electrical utilities leaders believe satellite connectivity and technology partnerships will help mitigate emerging industry threats over the next five years.
Viasat has released the results of a global survey of senior electrical utilities industry professionals, revealing an alarming number of emerging threats to national grid stability over the next five years.
However, the majority of respondents (76%) are confident that satellite-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) solutions will play a key role in improving network reliability in the face of these risks.
The research commissioned by Viasat and conducted by Censuswide is part of Viasats Critical National Infrastructure Series The Crucial Role of Satellite Connectivity in Safeguarding National Electrical Utilities Infrastructure.
Managing the adverse effects of climate change or natural disasters (62%) emerged as the highest risk, deemed even more important by C-suite executives (66%), whereas potential financial risks from not meeting new environmental-focused regulations (58%) emerged as the second highest threat.
Cybersecurity concerns were identified as the third most important risk (53%), including state-sponsored attacks or cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, managing fluctuating supply and demand patterns while transitioning to more renewable energy sources (43%) was considered a key risk.
Ageing infrastructure (42%) at a time when surging consumer demand is putting power grids under increased pressure was also seen as important.
Despite these concerns, three quarters (76%) of those surveyed were optimistic about the ability of satcom to play a crucial role in improving infrastructure reliability, while 75% think satellite Internet of Things (IoT) technology is already helping to mitigate some of the biggest risks facing the industry.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents (70%) feel satellite-enabled IoT is helping to mitigate climate change and natural disaster-related threats through sustainability-focused innovations, including environmental monitoring, early warning systems, and remote asset management in regions prone to climate-related risks.
Almost four in five (79%) also feel satcom is helping address risks associated with cyber threats through advanced encryption and authentication mechanisms, and secure traffic routing systems.
Over half (57%) expect satellite IoT solutions to improve overall business performance through effective cost reduction and risk mitigation via remote monitoring and controlling of assets, highlighting the broader expected positive impact of such technologies over the years to come.
Jat Brainch, Chief Commercial and Digital Officer at Viasat, said: As modern consumers and businesses place unprecedented levels of demand on electrical power networks, their status as critical elements of national infrastructure is increasingly clear. However; 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.
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. Satellite IoT will also be key to driving operational efficiencies, improving profitability and strengthening sustainable outcomes for critical national infrastructure as a whole.