Following on from my previous blog, where I explored the challenges facing different types of renewable energy, I’ll look at how we can address these challenges using technology. Data is absolutely key in bridging the gap between conventional and renewable energy… if we know how to use it.
Across all the renewable energies, we are finding that IT is not necessarily embedded into what the industry is trying to achieve, which is somewhat at odds with other industries. For instance, in the finance industry technology is completely embedded - from backend systems to customer facing mobile banking. The key questions are: does the energy sector just not recognise the true value of data yet? Or is there a lack of confidence in the current data?
Another consideration is that the data currently being gathered and used is not standardised, as this really does impact the ability to scale solutions. Ultimately that needs to adapt and improve as we move forwards to a more open, data driven and agile component-based landscape. A major part of data bridging the gap will be found in solutions and building intelligence on top of the data. Businesses are looking to generate new value for the whole value chain and to measure better performance, by focusing on better energy management and production forecasting solutions.
Certainly, it’s an area that is still evolving and has a long way to go, but there are some interesting use cases. For example, in trading, algorithms take data forecasts from different energy production sources like wind and solar energy, in combination with energy storage. Combining these production forecasts with consumption forecasts enables organisations to make better energy trading decisions in real time to maximise revenue and profit.
The role of data is going to be crucial and the importance of pulling together the right data sources in real time to enable efficient and effective decision making.
All the businesses that we speak to want to grow and optimise their renewable energy portfolios. From solar farms to hybrid plants, they want to build or buy new assets and really get the most out of them. Businesses are keen to integrate new assets into their operations quickly and to generate power at maximum capacity, keeping downtime and maintenance to a minimum. On the flip side, they also want to be able to off-board quickly. If a business wants to sell an asset to get something bigger and better they need it to be able to do this quickly and easily.
Data-driven predictive maintenance, supervision, and control can empower businesses to optimise their production processes whether that’s managing spare parts, workforce optimisation, or even distribution into the wider partner ecosystem. Data insights can also help organisations improve the safety of their production.
Business leaders within the renewables industries are looking for how they can leverage digital to deliver better insights from the data they have today. They’re also interested in collecting more data as they grow their portfolios, and how these data insights can help them better analyse the energy supply from generation versus the demand from growing energy consumption. Often this can be supported by having one platform that manages and reviews all the data.
Data driven decision making
Energy companies want to make better, more dynamic decisions to get them through the peaks and troughs of the customer demand. They want to have a predictable cost of the energy transition journey so they can provide energy as a service to their end customers.
Automation will play a significant role in the energy transition, particularly in improving efficiency and cost in the operation of assets. It's going to be more important than ever for organisations to effectively manage, operate, and optimise their global asset portfolios across all energy types. The way to achieve this is through one consistent system or platform that leverages data for maximum efficiency.
Want to discuss the role of renewables in your organisation? Get in touch to explore the challenges you’re facing on your energy transition journey.