Data and analytics hold the key
for many global industries facing a future with difficult obstacles and new
opportunities. Few industries are facing challenges as significant as those in
the energy and utilities field.
Today’s aging energy
infrastructure isn’t just being battered by dramatic weather events. Increases
in cyber attacks on the grid have skyrocketed – from 2012 to 2013, more than 53
percent of cyber attacks have been on energy installations.
|Dr. Jonathan Pershing|
“Energy demand is rising, but
supply is dropping … and our aging infrastructure is vulnerable,” said Dr.
Jonathon Pershing, the principal deputy director for the Office of Energy
Policy and Systems Analysis at the US Department of Energy, who keynoted the second
Energy Research Institute Conference at IBM Research, before more than 125
energy and utility experts from companies around the world
SERI was formed
in 2012 with the goal of bringing together the world’s top energy and utility
companies to build the energy utility of the future using data analytics. It
pairs IBM’s open analytics toolkit platform of application-specific code with
energy and utility companies’ ideas, needs and expertise to develop new
software applications that solve their operational problems. At this
year’s conference, Institute partners Alliander, Hydro-Québec, DTE Energy and
IBM spent two days with representatives from 18 companies from around the world
to learn how the big data analytics applications demonstrated at the conference
can address these challenges.
In his keynote Pershing also pointed out that “50 percent of natural gas transmission
infrastructure in the US was built between the 1940s-60s … and by 2030 the US will need to invest between $1.5 and $2 trillion in utility improvements.”
In 2013, the US averaged 140 minutes per
electrical outage, its highest rate in history.
He said this comes at a time when more than 60 percent of those working in this industry are likely to retire in the next decade. As part of Pershing’s role with the DOE, he is leading their Quadrennial Energy Review Project, a four year effort to improve the country’s energy
production, generation, supply and demand, and entire value chain. And he’ll count on the innovation of groups such as SERI to deliver solutions to these
Predictive Analytics: Energy
solutions through smart software
country faces similar energy challenges. DTE Energy, Alliander, and Hydro-Québec are using software – big data analytics – to better understand and
solve these challenges.
Take weather prediction. Data, and lots of it, is behind the collaborative project Outage Prediction Response Optimization (OPRO) application, led by SERI partner DTE Energy. It is designed to predict weather and potential damage to the grid in order to help the utility optimize resources and prepare its response proactively. OPRO can predict where the storm will hit, down to one kilometer; who it will affect; and even utility service response times.
weather isn’t the only thing utilities need to predict. Grid maintenance costs
in the US
increased 42 percent between 2011 and 2012. Another DTE Energy-SERI project,
Asset Risk Management and Optimized repair-rehab-replace (Armor^3), applies
predictive and prescriptive analytics to grid data to quantify and optimize
infrastructure maintenances planning for all electrical assets, including
transformers, cables, poles, circuits, and more.
partners are working on a handful of other applications that, among other
things, use data to optimize the management and preservation of energy we
depend on from all sources. Energy and utility companies interested in joining
SERI can read more about how it’s building the utility
of the future, and about some of the partners’ projects already underway.
This article is by Cody Frankel, a senior at the University of Rhode Island's Harrington School and intern with IBM Research Marketing and Communications.
Labels: energy, SERI, smarter energy research Institute, utilities