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William McEvoy04 Jun, 2020

Analytics in the age of renewables

The electricity system as we know it is in the midst of a transformation, as traditional models are disrupted by innovation and new technology. Across different sectors, there are three major trends that are changing the industry. 1. Electrification of large sectors of the economy such as transport and heating.

2. Decentralization spurred by sharp decrease in cost of distributed energy resources like distributed storage, distributed generation, demand flexibility, and energy efficiency.

3. Digitalization of both the grid with smart metering, smart sensors, automation, and other digital network technologies beyond the meter. The Advent of the Internet of Things has created a surge of power-consuming connected devices that are having massive effects on the grid.

However, these trends didn't come out of nowhere - there are have been macro-trends that have led to this movement, such as the expansion of grid edge technologies, consumers becoming prosumers, and overall changing regulatory and utility business models.

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The World Economic Forum estimates that there's more than $2.4 trillion in value from the transformation of the electricity grid over the next 10 years, largely driven by technologies like electric vehicles, smart pumps, network technologies, and IoT devices, to name a few. These technologies will have a broader impact on society as well - a cleaner generation mix is better for the environment and creates new jobs, all while giving consumers more choices than ever before. As communities, cities, states, and various industries are striving to reduce their dependence on carbon energy sources, the energy market will continue to change.

Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) have proven to be effective solutions to help meet these challenges, but choosing the right solution to scale for customers can be highly complex. Data transparency and security is vital as customers navigate the ever-changing energy landscape, and this data can only be unlocked with tools that can simplify the complexities surrounding DERs and their inter-connectivity.

Successful integration of DER technology with existing data sources can have a transformative impact on a business, allowing customers to visualize a holistic overview of their environmental, technological, and financial goals, all while reducing the need for fossil-based energy resources. Once best practices have been established that allow utilities to securely interact with grid edge devices, then businesses can start to truly reap the benefits of the new future of electricity.

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William McEvoyIndustry Principal for Power & UtilitiesBill McEvoy is the Industry Principal for Power & Utilities at OSIsoft, with over 30 years of experience in the utility and information technology profession.
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