The Future of Utilities: 3 Experts Discuss How Data & AI Hold the Keys to a Prosperous Energy Transition
At Neudesic, we’re committed to partnering with leading utilities companies to accelerate the transition to clean energy and help ensure reliable grid management. We’re working with Microsoft and other technology partners to help utility providers keep the lights on, which has grown more complex and challenging as extreme weather wreaks havoc on aging infrastructure and a rise in electrification pushes the grid to the limits. We want to play a critical role in helping utility providers face these challenges head on and future-proof their organization.
So, on January 31, we pulled together an expert panel to discuss the challenges associated with the clean energy transition and offer practical strategies for moving forward.
Director of Energy & Sustainability,
Manager of Distribution Strategy Development,
Salt River Project
Director of Utilities Innovation,
Neudesic, an IBM Company
While you should absolutely watch the full video, here are some highlights from each of our expert speakers.
We’ve only scratched the surface of putting operation data to work
Bilal Khursheed, Director of Energy & Sustainability, Microsoft America: I've been working with utility providers across North America and the globe, and I haven't come across a single one that doesn't have becoming a “utility of the future” somewhere in their strategic goals. And key industry drivers and challenges are forcing utilities to uncover new value propositions from technology.
Industry drivers and challenges forcing the need to uncover new value propositions from technology
The good news is that the majority of utilities already have the core data and competencies within their enterprise to enable them to address many of these challenges and capitalize on opportunities by:
- Transitioning to the cloud
- Adopting advanced analytics to drive advanced system planning
- Contextualizing data
- Aggregating AMI data with weather data for effective load forecasting
Watch the webinar for more insights from Bilal.
More customers + jumps in DER + more electric vehicles WILL impact reliability
Kyle Girardi, Manager of Distribution Strategy Development, Salt River Project (SRP): SRP is one of the nation's largest public power utilities, serving a million+ customers in the greater Phoenix area. We consistently rank high in reliability and customer satisfaction.
However, we are not immune to extreme weather and climate issues. In fact, we hit another peak system record this past year. Our service territory is seeing significant growth in both residential properties and large industry and manufacturing facilities, which will impact our peak load in the future. We also anticipate a 150% jump in customers who have Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and an 800% increase in electric vehicle adoption.
Cleaner Energy Sources for the Future
Each year, SRP steadily adds more clean and renewable energy sources that improve the air quality and help preserve the natural beauty of Arizona.
Given this growth, we are hyper-focused on ensuring that we can continue to meet our customers’ energy needs and future-proof our distribution system. It’s still early, but our current vision is making sure that we can collect and analyze our data, identify trends, and understand how things are changing—in real time. We have specific goals to meet that objective and are partnering with Microsoft and Neudesic to build a foundational tool that will be central to our goals.
Learn all about SRP’s goals, the solution that will help them become a utility of the future, and where they’re going from here, by watching the full webinar.
The energy transition is dependent on AI
David Bess, Director of Utilities Development, Neudesic, an IBM Company: The grid we have today is, for the most part, not a smart grid. While some utility companies, like SPR, are innovating, what we have now is basically a system that is more than 100 years old. The infrastructure is showing its age. But it’s difficult to balance and optimize the grid in real-time when we have many decentralized energy resources—rooftop solar, electrical vehicles, Building-to-Grid, Vehicle-to-Grid—going on at the same time.
Trying to balance a grid with millions of homes, tens of thousands of transformers, miles of power lines, and all these different devices is extraordinarily difficult. Understanding how people's behavior and consumption patterns change both in the short term (i.e., during the pandemic when many people started working from home) and in the long term is vital. Utility providers need insights to adapt quickly as things change. That ability will be enabled by data and AI, but it will require utility providers to adopt new technologies, like Microsoft Azure, for example.
Neudesic built the Azure Data and AI Platform Accelerator and specifically tuned and optimized it with utilities in mind. Basically, it is a hyperscale data and AI platform that enables providers to get up and running quickly and begin to manage and get value from the massive amount of data that will be coming at them from all these disparate sources. Harnessing that data will be key to helping them navigate the energy transition—and thrive in the future.
Watch the full webinar, “Bold Ideas Powering the Clean Energy Transition”.
Know you’re ready to speak to an expert in utility digitization? Contact us now.