Power generators face multiple interrelated challenges as they strive for the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions including responding to shifting market forces, labor forces and next-generation technology.
Addressing the unprecedented level of dynamic complexity associated with the energy transition. Power generation and operations has always been a complex and asset-intensive industry, but the energy transition creates a new, more intricate balancing act between:
- Growing use and diversity of variable/ renewable generation resources.
- Decarbonization of dispatchable thermal generation resources.
- Increase in decentralized and “behind the meter” generation.
- Pressure to lower generation costs, but without impact to reliability.
- Increase in extreme weather events impacting demand and challenging grid stability.
Reorganize operations and human resources to streamline and make better decisions, faster.
Utilities and power generators are taking steps to organize and execute for the future now, including consolidating and organizing their teams and functions centrally. Many companies were evaluating such changes prior to early 2020, but the COVID pandemic and resulting strain on the workforce sped up the acceptance of less-human intensive and more remote operations, such as:
- Centralizing and co-locating operations, monitoring and diagnostics, and commercial teams.
- Enabling plant operations remotely to minimize staff at sites.
- Investing in AI/ML and analytics to improve operational decisions.
- Reskilling and redeploying resources across asset types (e.g., thermal, renewable, etc.).
Leveraging a greater level of data availability, transparency and integration.
Utilities and power generators are not new to digital transformation – many have invested heavily in solutions to improve asset reliability and performance. But the complexity brought by the energy transition – and the speed at which we must adjust to that complexity – is extraordinary. Meeting ambitious decarbonization goals requires an even greater level of data availability, transparency and integration across functions, processes and systems.