Electric utilities – the backbone of modern society

The power of electricity touches nearly every aspect of modern life – in a trend that shows no sign of stopping. As technology usage escalates, so will the electric grid need to accelerate its growth to give industries and communities the electronic lifeblood they need.

That growth takes place against a backdrop of upheaval – the largest since the inception of the electric utility industry. Renewable energy and sustainability goals, cybersecurity mandates, unpredictable extreme weather events, and the rise of electric vehicles are all making rapid and significant impacts to a venerable infrastructure.


Top Priorities

Achieving a net-zero carbon footprint has emerged as a global priority, and electric utilities play a pivotal role in the decarbonization efforts of other industries that are becoming reliant on clean energy. The electric sector has spearheaded the transition towards sustainable energy because of the availability and use of commercially mature technologies. While natural gas and coal generation will persist in the mix for the foreseeable future, a steady transition to low-carbon technologies ensures a diversity of methods for a consistent and affordable energy supply that accommodates the escalating demands of society.

Leveraging technology is critical in the move to sustainable, carbon-neutral energy and the electric utility industry can implement a number of initiatives to ensure its viability:

  1. Invest in a number of green technologies such as hydroelectric, solar arrays, and wind farms.
  2. Institute security solutions to protect a broadly deployed array of assets such as solar panels, wind turbines, and substations from theft, vandalism, and even terrorism.
  3. Innovate with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies for biomass and existing natural gas plants.
  4. Build more electric substations and transmission lines to transport generated electricity from the new diversity of sources.

The rise of electric vehicle (EV) transportation and electrified heavy industry plants present substantial new demands that the grid must accommodate. A third source of increased demand stems from incentives to convert fossil-based home heating to heat pumps. These emerging sources of demand are bringing about significant changes to peak power needs and the grid’s load profile. While the integration of additional solar and wind power generation aims to deliver additional capacity for these changes, the variable and imperfectly predictable output from these renewable sources necessitates a substantial enhancement in system flexibility for electric utilities to deliver sufficient capacity.

Technology offers a range of valuable solutions to bolster the flexibility of electric utilities. Here are some approaches that can be employed:

  1. Use multiple power storage methods capable of storing surplus renewable energy and functioning as a backup power supply during periods of peak demand.
  2. Transition to smaller autonomous substations, and increasing their number, to efficiently serve specific regions and automatically redirect power as needed.
  3. Encourage grid-connected renewable energy systems installed on-site at customers’ premises to satisfy local energy needs.
  4. Invest in improved nuclear power options that can generate a reliable baseline of electric capacity.

Power outages pose a serious public safety and economic concern, underscoring the need for prioritizing power-grid security. All aspects of the grid, from generation to transmission, require protection from numerous threats. Extreme weather events require resilient and robust infrastructure. Potential cyberattacks from adversarial governments, terrorists, and cyber criminals necessitate strict cybersecurity measures. Even localized incidents like copper theft or vandalism can disrupt regional power distribution without adequate security in place.

In order to help safeguard the power grid, numerous technology-driven initiatives can be explored. These include:

  1. Perform a threat and vulnerability analysis to uncover potential threats, weaknesses, risks, and effective mitigations for critical grid infrastructure.
  2. Augment existing physical security solutions with intelligent security lights, video and thermal cameras, and intercoms at substations, power farms, and transmission lines.
  3. Ensure that all digital infrastructure components adhere to best-practice cybersecurity technology.
  4. Share information regarding physical attacks, digital attacks, and threat methodologies with government intelligence, law enforcement, and other relevant sector partners.

Creating a highly adaptable electrical system while improving its distribution capacity – in other words, making the grid “smarter” – requires digitization of existing equipment. This digital transformation provides an opportunity to upgrade the underlying components since approximately 20 percent of electric grids worldwide need replacing within the next decade. Accommodating the demands of flexible power routing not only requires upgrading existing infrastructure, but also implementing new switching equipment, transformers, meters, and other critical elements.

Several measures can be undertaken to achieve modernization:

  1. Implement management systems for wide-area monitoring and control to provide comprehensive visualization and oversight of the entire system.
  2. Integrate distributed energy resources management systems (DERMS) to effectively manage dynamically changing distribution patterns.
  3. Automate substations to streamline operations, enable real-time responsiveness, and capture valuable data for analysis and future improvements.
  4. Install residential smart meters that can understand and collect demand-side data, especially as consumers interact with the grid in novel ways through EVs and solar panels.

Key Forces of Change


Countries around the globe are trying to meet lower carbon goals with widespread legislation and regulation that impacts industry, transportation, and electricity generation. For electric utilities, net-neutral carbon energy sources play a crucial role in meeting regulatory compliance as well as fulfilling public-facing objectives. As a result, electric utility portfolios are poised to expand further into wind, solar, and hydroelectric generation sources. However, to address the inherent variability of clean power generation and potential mismatches in timing between generation and demand, the exploration of power storage technologies becomes imperative. This includes high-capacity batteries, hydrogen cycle plants, and pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

Electric Vehicles

The transition of our transportation systems towards predominately electric power is triggering a significant transformation in the power load profile of the grid. However, electric vehicle batteries can also serve as supplementary energy storage within a smart grid, effectively buffering the system against spikes in demand. Embracing and harnessing this potential of transportation systems that involve hundreds of collaborative partners and a great many moving parts demands a high deal of agility and adaptability.


To meet the needs for flexibility and energy security, the power grid must undergo a digital revitalization through incremental upgrades. Yet handling a large influx of new technologies is challenging for any well-established industry, and that includes the electric power sector. Digitalization is a key impetus for significant changes not only in electric utility technology, but also in processes and personnel. It also has a significant impact on the customer experience, as smart utility technology enters the home and fosters a more interactive relationship with customers.

The Future

No one can truly predict what the future holds. That’s why organizations need to focus on developing frameworks and infrastructure that empower them to make decisions and implement policies that can rapidly and meaningfully adapt to changing requirements.


All of the various factors influencing the power grid are converging towards a more distributed and decentralized configuration. This entails leveraging a network of distributed energy resources (DERs) that rely on strong collaboration with microgrids and municipal entities as well as the integration of on-site and residential generation. This transition brings with it significant advantages such as increased resilience, improved adaptability, and reduced vulnerability to single-point failures.


+ Read more

However, the decentralized structure of the power grid poses a significant challenge in effectively managing the integration of widespread energy resources. Addressing this challenge requires the development of a more complex and adaptable grid that can reconfigure itself in real-time. Overseeing this grid requires more intelligent control systems and AI-aided predictive tools that are fueled by massive amounts of data collected from demand-side edge devices.


In addition to the diversity fostered by decentralization and external collaboration, electric utilities are poised to further diversify their internal generation options. This approach allows utilities to invest in multiple technologies, allowing them to capitalize on the unique benefits of each system. Consequently, the industry is shifting from relying on a limited number of large-scale generation facilities to a framework encompassing numerous smaller generating plants. 

+ Read more

With the huge number of promising yet emerging technologies, the biggest question is determining where to invest. The acceptability of nuclear power has experienced a resurgence with next-generation nuclear plants that include passive safety features such as small modular reactors (SMRs). Tidal turbines present a green and consistent method particularly suited for coastal areas. Meanwhile, ongoing research continues in the realms of energy storage, hydrogen cycle technology, and solar farm advancements.


A stable power grid is the bedrock for sustainable societal and economic growth. The trends of decentralization and diversification play a significant role in ensuring grid stability since they introduce a myriad of locations, methodologies, and materials in tomorrow’s power plants. This diversification helps fortify the grid against many operational, logistical, economic, technological, and environmental disruptions.

+ Read more

Nevertheless, this same diversity and distribution also poses a significant challenge in terms of protecting utility assets from environmental or adversarial threats. To maintain grid stability. It becomes imperative to consistently use and update advanced cybersecurity technology current as well as establish cost-effective measures for physical protection across a multitude of individual sites.


Hover over a hotspot to learn more

Detect unauthorized perimeter intrusions

Senstar offers the widest range of perimeter intrusion detection sensors in the industry, ensuring optimal, cost-effective solutions for sites of all sizes and security requirements. Fence-mounted sensors such as FlexZone and FiberPatrol turn an existing fence into a smart fence, while intelligent perimeter lighting like the Senstar LM100 can deter intruders while improving the assessment capabilities of the existing surveillance system. For gate protection, Senstar offers a range of options, including wireless gate sensorsmicrowaves, and outdoor people and vehicle tracking video analytics.

Common Operating Platform

Senstar’s Symphony Common Operating Platform provides centralized video, security, and information management. An open platform, Senstar Symphony supports cameras from all major manfucturers, works with industry-standard access control hardware, supports both Senstar and third-party video analytics, and includes built-in support for Senstar intrusion detection sensors.

Protect Remote Sites

Senstar sensors and video management software can not only deter intruders but can improve situational awareness for remote monitoring personnel:

  • Automatically engage deterrence devices like security lights, intercoms, or sirens
  • Direct PTZ cameras to the intrusion location and auto-track intruders within restricted areas
  • Provide local security forces with still images or live video via email, SMS, or mobile apps
  • Avoid nuisance alarms by rejecting distributed events generated by environmental conditions
  • Avoid unnecessary maintenance visits with hardware redundancy and comprehensive remote management software

Integrate with Existing Systems

Senstar sensors work with virtually all security systems. Software integrations are available for industry standard video and security management systems, while built-in I/O capabilities ensure that sensors can report zone, supervision, and equipment status events to on-site intrusion panels or alarm systems. Sophisticated aggregation capabilities enable sensor data to be linked and integrated with SCADA systems. For remote, unmanned sites with limited network connectivity (such as cellular or satellite-based communications), bandwidth requirements are minimized and local fallback options are available.

Multi-Layered Protection

Senstar products are designed to work together to provide comprehensive, multi-layered protection. For example, Senstar video analytics can identify authorized maintenance vehicles and temporarily mask gate alarms while outdoor analytics can direct PTZ cameras to record high-definition video of potential intruders before they trigger a fence sensor. In addition to new security capabilities, all events can be managed from a single software interface that improves respond times and reduces training requirements.

Minimize Light Pollution

A well-lit site is standard security practice. But for electrical utility sites located adjacent to residential neighborhoods or protected wildlife, light pollution can be a major concern. Senstar offers several solutions, including intelligent lighting that offers dimmable, targeted illumination along the fence line as well as thermal camera support for use with outdoor people and vehicle tracking analytics.

World Energy Outlook 2020, International Energy Agency (IEA) 


2023 Power and Utilities Industry Outlook, Deloitte


North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Standards


Contact Us

Senstar can help protect your operations and mitigate risk. 
Contact our team to discuss how Senstar technology and solutions 
can help address current and future challenges to your logistic operations.