Atributes of Power Industry:
- The concept of renewable energy includes any naturally occurring, theoretically inexhaustible source of energy such as solar, wind, biomass, tidal, wave and hydroelectric power that is not derived from fossil or nuclear fuel.
- The utilities industry has great potential to embrace artificial intelligence in the coming years.
Here are some possibilities:
- Load forecasting.Short-term load forecasts are vital for utilities. Machine learning could be used to forecast supply and demand in real time and optimize economic load dispatch.
- Yield optimization.With AI, power providers can optimize generation efficiency with real-time adjustments across their assets.
- Predictive maintenance can be bolstered with drones for asset inspections, replacing time intensive and risky manual inspections. The drones are trained using deep learning algorithms to automatically identify defects and predict failures without interrupting operations.
- Demand management can be automated and made smarter with machine learning.
- Energy theft is a huge problem in some developing countries, such as Brazil, where theft accounts for up to 40% of the electricity distributed. AI can be used to detect usage patterns, payment history, and other customer data that may signal irregular behavior.
On the retail side, AI can unleash market forces as well as transform the user experience:
- Customer insights.Machine learning applications could allow utilities to craft electricity prices that maximize their margins while minimizing customer churn. AI could be used to create individual offers and services to help utilities retain their most profitable customers.
- Energy trading.In this era of the prosumer generating their own renewable energy and sending the excess back into the grid, platforms are emerging to allow peer-to-peer trading between producers and consumers. As supply and demand continuously fluctuate, AI can be used to more quickly match producers with consumers.
- Virtual agentswill revolutionize call centres, being able to respond to consumer queries and provide instant assistance. They will be able to automatically segment consumers based on service history and provide early warning of bad debts. The development of natural language technologies eventually unlock the capacity to fully automate customer service.
Consumers can also benefit from AI:
- Supplier selection.Machine learning can help customers choose their energy retailer by learning about their preferences – such as energy generation type, how much they’re willing to pay and their consumption patterns – and then scanning the market for the most suitable offers.
- Consumption insights.Meter data can be analysed to extract the consumption profiles of a household’s hungriest appliances and see how much each contributes to the energy bill.
AI opens a wide range of exciting possibilities for utilities but the changes will not be simple.Early evidence
suggests AI can deliver real value to serious adopters, but current uptake outside of the tech sector remains low.
Few companies have deployed it at scale. The opportunities and rewards are waiting for those willing to take the plunge.