During his presentation conducted at the Smart Geospatial Solutions Conference 2017 Gilles Prud’homme (a GE Energy Connections – Software Solutions representative) emphasized that digital transformation of utilities has started. Gilles indicated challenges faced by renewable energy companies and the best ways to deal with these challenges.
Challenges in energy sector – Gilles’ presentation
The increasing importance of digital transformation in utilities is reflected in the dynamic growth of renewable energy generation. Unfortunately, such generation is not always driven by demand but rather by weather conditions. This in turn causes disruptions in demand, transmission and distribution as well as issues with processing large amounts of data. Increasing number of new players in the renewable energy sector also don’t improve the situation of renewable energy companies. Because of that many utilities see the digital revolution as a threat to their business model. However, massive opportunities await those able to transform themselves ahead of the curve.
Utility of the future
All of the mentioned challenges and emerging issues are a great opportunity to introduce some changes. These changes should go in the following directions:
- becoming a customer-oriented service provider with program tailored to customer preferences
- transforming legacy technical approach into digital and automation
- using Big Data and analytics – understand what happen, adapt and anticipate
- using IT where it has proven step change in productivity
- cyber security alignment of IT to OT
- adopting cloud solution into OT
- conquering new electrification domains - transportation and heating
- encouraging creativity and agility.
Utilities from a current, vertically integrated and regulated model of operations will be gradually transformed into decentralized and unregulated companies providing such services as: demand management, e-mobility, IoT and support of smart cities expansion.
Ready for Tomorrow’s Energy Challenges ?
Operational activities should be continuously supported by analytical activities related to the network, its current capabilities as well as energy production and demand. Transmission and distribution system operators will therefore need fully integrated solutions where importance of analytical and forecasting tools will be increasing. GE is continuously developing tools tailored for utilities – among others advanced analytical and predictive engine – Predix. The tool supports all TSO and DSO core activities by optimizing operations, business and asset performance management. So as Gilles summed up his presentation, the real tomorrow’s energy challenge is to combine energy assets with high value IT solutions.