Applied AI in Energy

“Exponential technology is rapidly pushing electricity to reach the point of eventually becoming nearly free” - Pascal Finette, Singularity University

What does the future hold for AI in Energy?

The intersection between AI and energy is a magical place. Here lies one of the keys to solve many of the problems we will face in the future. A future that is already here with climate change, depleting resources, and unequal living conditions.

In a 2017 blog post addressed to the global community of university students Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, wrote:

"If I were starting out today and looking for the same kind of opportunity to make a big impact in the world, I would consider three fields. One is artificial intelligence. We have only begun to tap info all the ways it will make people's lives more productive and creative. The second is energy, because making it clean, affordable, and reliable will be essential for fighting poverty and climate change..."

While both being separate areas of significant opportunity, the intersection of AI and Energy - although still in its infancy - holds tremendous promise. With huge amounts of data are generated across power systems some even argue that AI will be the brain of future smart grids.

Like other sectors, Artificial intelligence will not only impact the energy sector with industry specific applications but also with sector agnostic solutions, such as bots, which can be used by for example utilities to service customers 

 

The energy sector range far, from generation, transmission, distribution and consumption, and holds a multitude of opportunities for applying particular artificial intelligence solutions.

Many solutions, like GupShup in the video above, can and will address multiple sectors at the same time, energy being one of them. Based on the same AI core, companies like AppOrchid addresses both the energy, insurance, and healthcare sectors.

Electricity-595b40b85ba036ed117dd0b7.svg
Electricity generation

The use of data is not new in the electricity generation industry per se. Gas and wind turbines have been equipped with sensors for decades. Today, one of the most promising aspects of artificial intelligence lies in being able to look ahead of the curve.

Historically, this data has been utilized to check if assets were performing as planned and to get notifications when something went wrong. Now, thanks to AI and large amounts of data, it is becoming possible to go from preventive to predictive asset maintenance allowing the operator to detect anomalies at the generation asset in a timely manner before its failure, and thus avoid costly, and sometimes dangerous, unplanned maintenance.

Please refer to our case about SpaceTime Insight.

Transmission Tower
Transmission and Distribution

In transmission and distribution, SCADA systems and PMU's generate vast amounts of data. By augmenting these systems with AI capabilities, it becomes possible to predict failures in the grid and multiple other areas of the transmission and distribution of energy, similar to the abovementioned use-case.

AI can not only help predict failures, but the technology can also identify voltage instabilities and secure avoidance of blackouts on the grid just as AI can be applied in various energy trading scenarios.

Companies, such as Drift, which seeks to streamline electricity purchases, use AI to foresee energy consumption by factoring in things like the daily energy usage of individual customers over time and microclimate weather data estimates.

End Users: The fundamentals are changing

At the end of the supply chain, the fundamentals of current energy systems are changing; users are now able to store and produce energy with what is often noted as distributed energy resources (in short DERs) for which AI can be applied to predict new patterns linked to the overall energy systems.

Generally, AI can make the use of energy more efficient. An example of such is Bidgely, a company working to solve the challenges that utilities face in meeting their demand-side energy by engaging the end users directly. Based on live metering data, AI can engage the end consumers providing them with information about their energy consumption. Providing both the utility company and the end user with valuable consumption insights has the potential to both change the way electricity is sold as well as disrupt markets for the sale of home appliances.

Research projects are looking into various fields on how to double energy productivity. In the smart building space, the strategic Danish-American research project COORDICY that investigates energy efficiency of public and commercial buildings can be highlighted.

Selected Research Cases in the AI Energy space

Two research cases with the Energy space: NASA and COORDICY.

Which AI technologies will transform the energy sector in the near future?

During the Applied AI Project, we have collected four sample companies with technologies based on artificial intelligence that are being applied today in the energy industry.

Looking into the future of energy and telecommunication: A Danish applied AI case

SE DK.pngBackground & Mission

SE is a modern utility and telecommunications company headquartered in Esbjerg, Jutland. SE is owned by their more than 316.000 utility customers, and they have a total of 1500 employees working from various locations around Denmark.

As a response to decreasing energy prices, and intense competition between network providers SE initiated a new strategy in 2016 with the aim of becoming a more national, digital, focused and integrated utility and telecommunication provider.

Through a merger with utility company Nyfors in Northern Jutland in 2016, SE expanded their utility service offerings in Denmark, and furthermore they expanded their digital portfolio through the acquisition of the Danish tele-company BOXER in 2017.

SE Brands

Se brand 1.pngSE Energy and Climate
Through the Energy and Climate division SE provides both private and business customers with electricity, gas and advisory on energy consumption and optimization opportunities.

SE brand 2.pngStofa

Stofa is the second largest cabel, internet and telco company in Denmark providing their services to both private and professional consumers in Denmark.  

Se brand 3.pngBoxer
Boxer is one of the largest digital content and television providers in Denmark utilizing the national broadcasting network to service their more than 250.000 customers.  

SE brand 4.pngSE Wholesale

SE Wholesale is a separate entity in the SE Group, and they do broad band capacity trading cross network.

SE brand 5.pngSE Next Step

Looking into the future of energy and communication technologies SE Next Step's vision is to drive development and growth in the local area around Esbjerg, where SE is headquartered.

SE mølle.pngSE has committed to making Denmark fossil free in 2050. In collaboration with PFA Pension they own SE Blue Renewables who is the biggest Danish operator of wind turbines located on ground.  

SE penge.pngEvery year ”SE Vaekstpulje” and ”SE Vaekstpulje Nyfors” each donates up to 15 million DKK to various projects in Denmark as part of SE’s vision to future- proof and engage actively in society.

Bots and customer engagement: SE is applying AI to find the right answers

SE is continuously working to provide Denmark with sustainable energy and better digital communication. With those goals in mind the company is looking into applying AI in the following cases: