Data analytics will drive the modern power grid. This is a self-evident realisation as nearly every conversation around integrating renewables, energy storage, microgrids and other modern challenges such as locating wind farms quickly turns into a conversation about data, big data and agile control systems.
However, it does raise a concern around skills and capability. Many utilities are facing a demographic time bomb and report big gaps in skills [Data Analytics Growth Falls Behind Big Data Growth.] Furthermore, they are struggling to recruit the bright young minds to a sector perceived as unsexy and slow moving.
This market gap will be filled with an array of cloud-based start-ups who will provide the data driven services, skills and solutions the power and utility sector desperately needs and will not be able to build and scale in-house. The start of this trend can already be seen if you look at our recently reported 10 companies to watch [Energy And Technology Pioneers – Ten Companies To Watch In 2015]
The other impact of this paradigm shift will be an accelerated adoption of distributed generation driven by the availability of cloud-based services, from microgrid control systems through to energy management systems for large industrial consumers, particularly the retail sector.
As with every industry, these small inputs with observed data from Google trends hint that we may be at the inflection point of digital disruption in the power and utility sector. In 10 years’ time we will not recognise today’s ecosystem - we certainly live in interesting times.
More from Engerati this week
With the high potential for wind integration and the absence of commercial products offering the needed level of accuracy, Idaho Power Company has opted to develop a Renewables Integration Tool (RIT) comprising a series of models and databases for forecasting weather conditions and the availability of wind energy resources.
European Union utilities, specifically in the west, are losing hundreds of billions of dollars in market capitalisation due to the growth in distributed generation. Public and private investment in distributed technologies has grown significantly as new business models, such as third-party owned systems (specifically the solar lease and solar power purchase agreement), have been deployed.
Germany may have found the missing piece of its puzzle to deliver reliable, low-cost, low-carbon power grids: Utility Wemag has opened Europe's largest commercial battery energy storage system, bringing online its new facility with a capacity of 5MW – enough to power 2,500 households.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Common Wealth Edison Co (ComEd) with a US$1.2 million grant to build a master controller that could drive the operation of microgrid clusters. The utility is taking a lead role in positioning interconnected microgrids as viable energy systems that help address ongoing challenges of national energy security, sustainability, and resiliency.
The rapidly growing electricity demand from air conditioning is posing challenges to electricity reliability and energy security. At a roundtable at the recent Fifth Clean Energy Ministerial in Seoul, South Korea, participants looked into this issue, with the aim to understand and address the emerging challenges.
Brazil is set to diversify its energy mix in the coming decade with increases in the use of renewable energies and locally produced natural gas and the more widespread use of distributed generation, coupled with a drive for energy efficiency.