Houston’s Energy Transition: How Technology Will Drive the Change
Last year, Texas had a wake-up call to reevaluate their entire energy grid and avoid future tragedy after February’s cold snap, brutal storm, and ensuing power outages. Everything from fossils fuels to wind and solar power failed to keep Texans warm and safe during this volatile weather. What’s unbelievable is that the grid was only about 4 minutes and 37 seconds away from a collapse that could have lasted months.
Where this takes industry leaders will be a cross-section of innovative technologies that allow them to capture more revenue opportunities as the world changes. Here’s how industry experts anticipate these energy sector trends will cause organizations to evolve if they’re going to stay competitive.
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Harnessing AI & Machine Learning
Whether averting the next crisis or capitalizing on profitable new opportunities, the energy industry needs the ability to unlock hidden insight to stay adaptive, resolve challenges, and maintain profitability. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will become as integral as effective energy storage batteries or power substations. In the context of the energy industry, these types of decision-augmentation platforms can help utilities or private firms to synthesize complex factors into decipherable and actionable intel.
Consider the day-to-day task of running an energy grid. Factors ranging from meteorological conditions and wear-and-tear on individual power station components to the pressures of consumer demand or cyber threats all collide to determine how much power is generated and how profitable energy is. The right AI platform can nail down the complexity of energy demands, predict weather conditions, and anticipate maintenance needs in advance of failure, treating them as parts of the same story. As a result, businesses avoid more outages and maximize productivity during optimal timeframes.
More than just averting the next crisis, the predictive capabilities of AI platforms can balance fossil fuels and alternative energy sources. Renewable energy like solar or wind are at the mercy of weather conditions, where fossil fuels are not. When organizations can anticipate wind patterns or cloudy days, they can determine when to bank more energy in storage batteries or scale up natural gas to meet consumer demand. There’s so much that this technology can do and plenty of use cases to guide your exploration.
As a result, the energy industry will be more reliant upon the expertise of IT professionals with AI and machine learning skills. Artificial intelligence can help workers to focus on the complicated and sophisticated tasks while outsourcing some of the mundane or manual tasks to machines.
Creating a Unified System
As organizations in the sector diversify their energy sources, there is a greater necessity for interoperable systems. Very few applications and systems are designed for seamless integration with other platforms. Organizations need to mobilize internal experts or outsourced partners to break down silos in data and systems as well foster cooperation between different but complementary systems.
Let’s start with data. Unless there is a single source of truth on a unified format, your organization will run into obstacles creating reports, analyzing data, and expanding solutions. Reaching that level of interoperability requires the energy sector to embrace data governance practices that create consistency of use and configuration for leaders to leverage.
The ability for systems to collaborate and interact also requires direct intervention and oversight on the part of technical experts. Bringing together the end users as well as IT experts with a command of application development, network and systems administration, and cybersecurity expertise can create secure systems with APIs that effectively connect and allow your team to access elevated functionality.
In the end, energy firms need to recognize that greater interoperability is not just a means of eluding disaster, but a way to enhance their operations. When your leadership thinks of innovation as a way to grow profitability and solutions rather than checking a box, you can integrate these platforms, systems, and data in a way that helps mine them for their full potential.
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