The arrival of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) may be the single largest disrupter that electric utilities have ever faced. Renewables are now the second largest source of electricity in the US, decentralizing how consumers get their energy. This trend is not isolated to North America. Many countries across the globe see more energy being fed in directly at the Distribution level, instead of flowing down from Transmission, which threatens the operational paradigms of the Grid. Furthermore, the scale of DERs will only increase as countries around the world work towards climate-neutrality over the next 20 years.
This much is clear: The grid capable of handling today’s needs and those of the future will require major advancements in its capabilities and innovation to support these evolving needs. The engineering at the very foundation of legacy automation and control systems are facing serious challenges and utility business models are scrambling to find their footing in a new and demanding landscape.
All the data is pointing in one direction—AI. Artificial Intelligence can offer the necessary instruments for utilities to continue servicing their customers at the highest level while controlling the chaos that DERs wreak and turning those DERs into an opportunity for a new more efficient way of operating the grid.
How AI Will Transform the Grid
AI will transition traditional systems toward automated grid optimization. It will leverage exceptional processing abilities, sensors, software technology and advanced analytics to connect and share data and systems across the utility landscape. In doing so, it will deliver new insights and drive necessary business productivity with easy assimilation of devices, assets and communications—both customer-facing as well as internal to the utility.
Plus, AI has limitless potential for the future. It can accelerate the network’s agility and has the ability to deploy, automate, and harmonize security for today’s fledgling networks.