For us, it’s an honor and a privilege we don’t take lightly; in fact, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that modernizing the power grid will help change the global trajectory of climate change, enable substantial reductions in emissions while accelerating technologies that support low or near zero-carbon power generation.
A More Flexible and Resilient Grid
As the industry converts to cleaner energy and renewable sources like wind and solar become more available, utilities must balance the power mix to ensure electricity is available when and where it is needed. This is called Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) orchestration. Unlike power generated in traditional power plants, renewable energy sources are intermittent – electrons flow when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, but the opposite is true on cloudy or windless days. Small-scale DERs tend to be scattered across the distribution grid, and they typically reside near where their output will be consumed. DERs are generally low-cost, carbon-free sources of electricity, which is essential as we move to a decarbonized world, but they can be tricky to manage.
As the grid was constructed throughout history, intermittency or variability were never part of the equation. Industrial software such as GE Digital’s Award Winning Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS) bring advances like DER orchestration, outage response and mobile applications onto a single platform to deliver secure, integrated operations across the Distribution grid.
Responding to Changing Environment
With climate change comes an increase in severe weather activity, such as forest fires, flash floods and tropical storms. These events up the ante for increased grid resiliency and reliability. That’s why self-healing grids are essential – using modeling technology to identify, isolate and fix issues before they wreak havoc across an entire system.
We’re leveraging digital twin and AI technologies to help operators see the bigger picture while shedding light on the blind spots. For example, utilities spend millions of dollars per year on vegetation management. Our Visual Intelligence solution uses computer vision to provide a holistic picture of the grid to help reduce costs and complexity associated with traditional inspections along power lines or other high-impact areas. Capabilities such as Storm Assist help utilities rapidly scale the number of dispatched personnel from any location–including remote offices, other regions, and assist- utilities–quickly and securely.
Flipping the Switch
Unfortunately, there is no magic switch we can flick to turn on digital capabilities across an ecosystem or industry or even a single enterprise. That’s why it’s vital that grid modernization includes working with existing systems, layering digital capabilities where and when it makes most sense. Interoperability is key, as is working with teams that have deep domain knowledge across the entire energy spectrum. For us at GE, we pioneered the electrical grid more than a hundred years ago and we are excited to pioneer the next hundred.
We're living through one of the biggest foundational industry transformations that you could ever imagine – and being able to help see the world safely through to the other side is both an honor and an inspiration.
Learn more about GE Digital’s role in the Future of Energy.