Software and data are transforming the utility industry and connecting energy users.
One of this century’s most important innovations is the emerging data analytics capabilities that are allowing utilities to use archived and real-time data to make systems more reliable, affordable and clean.
Cost-effective electricity generation from variable renewables is allowing new clean transportation and other electrification initiatives. But they will make the resulting clean energy economy dependent on a burgeoning and complex power system. Automated data analytics can provide the granular, real-time situational awareness to effectively manage it.
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The use cases for data analytics are wide-ranging and proliferating. Data analytics-based weather forecasting is prompting pre-hardening of systems against extreme weather events. Data analytics are delivering new services and savings to customers through utility-led energy efficiency programs that cut customer bills and lower utilities’ system costs. In addition, digital simulations are perfecting new hardware before it is installed.
The unprecedented interconnectedness of systems and available computational power through the cloud are allowing new system-wide data analytics application, the era of siloed utilities is over, and executives are working on creating high fidelity, high quality data structured to be used throughout the company.
No one software will be the answer, as increasing amounts of data and system integration are layered and analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning, he added.
That will lead to the next stage in data analytics in which a utility community pools data and computing power for the deep machine learning AI requires, this will allow shared, curated data and a secure platform to develop solution algorithms.
Data analytics can ultimately lead to a decentralized network that allows peer-to-peer energy transactions in a connected community, energy sector analysts told Utility Dive. But utilities must first fully assimilate and integrate the data and its capabilities.