What lies Beyond Digital?

News Article

We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift, where AI is no longer a niche sector. Utilities are now embracing the exponential technologies and transforming their business models, from investments optimisation, to electricity loads management and customers interactions. But what are the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead? What use for AI in the power sector?  

Eurelectric launches the expert platform Beyond Digital to design an AI vision for the power sector. Our industry’s evolution in a post-digital age relies on the ability to unlock the potential of exponential technologies, and their integration in our core activities.

Digital innovation leads to more efficient processes across the entire value chain, and improves the interaction with customers. New solutions and services emerge thanks to a better understanding of the collected data. Also, deep learning techniques feed into predictive algorithms, bringing about new approaches in power generation or grid management.

An analysis conducted by the German utility EWE found that the shift towards a data-driven business model led to a 30% increase of the performance on stock markets and it could create an up to 80% future value increase.

An exponential growth in revenues is expected, if data strategies lead to the creation of platforms able to scale and leverage all the assets in the ecosystem. However, the current mind-set of directing only 5 % of the investments towards operational expenditures, hampers this transformation.

Cross-sector alliances and partnerships play an essential role both in diversifying the services offered to customers, and in collecting valuable data on consumption patterns and assets behaviour. But according to Enel, the amount of data managed in 2020 is 20 times bigger than the one collected a decade ago. This calls for new data governance tools, effective regulations and technologies that enable its use.

According to Adina Braha-Honciuc, Government Affairs Manager at Microsoft Corporate,

“when integrating AI in daily businesses, six human centric principles should guide our works: fairness, privacy and security, reliability and safety, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability.”
“Creating a data culture in your company is essential. As well as encouraging your employees to integrate it in their daily activities. By using AI, experts can benefit from augmented intelligence”, said Giuseppe Amoroso, Head of Digital Strategy and Governance at Enel.

For instance, digital solutions enable the remote monitoring of maintenance in wind farms. AI algorithms can accurately detect, monitor and predict maintenance needs, through the analysis of hundreds of pictures taken daily by drones.

Digitisation, decarbonisation and decentralisation are the main drivers of the energy transition. This is also reflected by the European Commission’s decision to prioritise and closely interlink the Green Deal and the digital policy.

The Beyond Digital platform will continue its works throughout the organisation of six online and offline events in the coming months. On these occasions experts will look into education and awareness, ethical guideline, cybersecurity and data protection as well as into the need for public and private investments.