Nothing is forever. Like oil and gas, our natural energy sources are on the brink of scarcity, but global energy consumption is growing each fleeting day. The only way to earn extra time is to optimize its use correctly or gradually shift to renewable energy. To do that, big data and analytics help in automating and digitizing production, demand, and supply.
What is big data and analytics, you ask? IBM defines big data as any data that cannot be captured, managed, and/or processed by traditional management components and techniques. While analytics uses advanced mathematical techniques on diverse big data sets from different sources and in various sizes. In other words, data becomes big data when traditional methods, or a single computer, cannot be used to deal with data. Then, it becomes analytics when these big data sets are processed.
Meanwhile, the power and energy sector produces and collects large data sets continuously over some time. This data comes from their technology infrastructure, including sensors, cloud computing, wireless, and network communication. Smart meters alone in about a million households can collect 200 terabytes per minute.
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Competitive edge of Big Data and Analytics
Businesses across the power and energy industry face many challenges to manage this data and draw insights from it. But when they start to invest in big data and analytics, data-driven companies will cultivate benefits in the long run. So, let’s look at the seven biggest advantages of implementing a big data strategy for power and energy companies.
1. Energy Efficiency
Energy preservation has always been a global issue. While there are advancements in using renewable and reusable energy, necessity still lies in saving it. But in today’s scene, companies should look more into using energy efficiently, requiring less energy for the same function, which is possible with technology.
By 2035, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in which the Philippines actively participate, targets a reduction of aggregate energy intensity by 45%, based on 2005.
Big data analytics can play a significant part in the power sector’s role in this situation by deriving data coming from smart meters, asset operations, business policies, and weather data. In fact, it can be integrated and analyzed over time, which helps design electrical devices with energy-efficiency parameters, thus reducing power requirements. Moreover, energy efficiency plays a vital role in reducing carbon emissions. To achieve this, power corporations can forecast usage and predict savings by leveraging big data solutions in this manner.
2. Risk Management
Implementing a big data strategy in any business model can work wonders in assessing and managing hefty risks. In addition, it eliminates the practice of deriving business decisions from gut-feel and empowers executives with hard evidence instead. The truth can be said for the power and utility industry. Making informed investment decisions is the pinnacle of effectively utilizing the power of big data analytics.
Moreover, energy companies can derive valuable insights from power generation and consumer consumption. Predicting anticipated prices, creating dynamic pricing based on peak usage and demand, and adjusting the business operation model to cope with challenges can be done with data-driven decision-making. Enterprises that can embrace big data solutions’ advantages will have a strong market position and attain sustainable business growth.
3. Power Planning
Coming up with optimized power generation planning is another significant benefit of a big data analytics strategy. The strenuous task of matching power supply with the demand for energy on the grid, or economic load dispatch, can be performed quickly and efficiently by applying advanced big data analytics techniques. In effect, it improves energy production efficiency and lowers production costs.
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4. Data Collaboration
Understanding what problems to address is first and foremost before implementing an analytics strategy. Big data analytics can predict production demand in the power sector, enhance efficiency, and optimize the operation process. Whatever it may be, enterprises can work with a wide range of data. Bringing all this data together can take a lot of time, but using big data analytics tools to collaborate all data can streamline the process and present visualized reports.
5. Supply Chain Visibility
The retail industry utilizes big data effectively, especially in managing its inventory and forecast demand to improve supply chain management. The power sector is no different from retailers with its utilities. Technologies today, such as smart meters and smart grids, integrate with big data systems. This strategy enables enterprises to balance demand and supply, facilitate dispatch decisions, increase efficiency, organize inventory, and enhance reliability.
6. Customer Engagement
It is of vital importance for energy companies to be a data-driven and customer-centric business. Technology advancements, government regulations, and shifting customer behavior fast-track an optimized plan for consumer engagement. With big data analytics implementation, energy companies can shift to engage with customers in highly personalized environments, which can increase customer satisfaction, promote new products and lower the service cost.
7. Predictive Maintenance
Logical algorithms can consolidate and assess a large volume of data for power companies, enabling them to develop more effective business strategies. Energy providers can respond quickly in near real-time by predicting the market using specified vital indicators. Implementing big data will improve equipment monitoring and maintenance that will minimize production hours and system disruptions.
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Transformation through Big Data and Analytics
With innovations such as predictive analysis, the power and energy industry is experiencing a large-scale transformation. With the assistance of predictive analysis, grids and meters are becoming more intelligent.
It is more evident today than before that this sector has a vital role to play in delivering essential products and services necessary to the world’s economy. Regardless of the industry’s shifts, power providers should continue to satisfy essential standards to provide energy services that are efficient, accessible, and sustainable.
Businesses continue to grow each day, but there are so many out there who do not have this technology and are not experiencing its benefits. Likewise, there are real-time predictive analytics, grid operations analytics, and consumer analytics that power and energy providers can invest in.
Investment is mission-critical in this scenario to reap the real benefits of big data and analytics. Each day offers new opportunities, and the best solutions to today’s problems are yet to be done. The new normal calls for new innovations, and it is prime time for the power and energy sector to embrace this idea fully.