The Smart Grid is poised to transform the energy industry using digital information to enhance efficiencies and performance for utility customers. As the Smart Grid continues to expand, demand for advanced big data analytics capabilities to better manage grid operations is growing as well. Utilities are looking for ways to effectively manage the large volumes of complex and unstructured data flooding the network to provide real-time, predictive and highly actionable intelligence to the enterprise.
What are the key challenges facing the Smart Grid that can be helped by advanced data analytics? The following are some that we are seeing:
- Distributed resources and power generation: a new energy industry is emerging – one that is more decentralized and able to integrate many different sources of power into highly reliable grids. This means data is flowing in from multiple sources – wind farms in the desert, oil rigs at sea, and residential solar power. The issue is to analyze these sources in real-time to maintain uninterrupted energy flowing at the lowest cost possible.
- Predictive analytics: Utilities are looking to leverage predictive analytics to better forecast energy demand to avoid outages and optimize power distribution. Analytics can also be used for long-term projections of energy demand and how resources will be used in the future, as well for stopping equipment failures before they happen with maintenance alerts.
- Oil and gas infrastructure: For many utilities, a large amount of data is generated every day from multiple oil and gas facilities, including seismic measurements, well records, drilling figures, transportation, and more. Optimizing this information for value is critical in these complex operations.
- Cybersecurity: Many cybersecurity professionals worry that the Smart Grid may be vulnerable to attack with the end-game of malicious hackers in shutting down transmission. With advanced data analytics, cybersecurity departments in energy companies can better monitor misuse of networks, including operational technologies, IT systems, and end access points.
- Data governance: Developing a data governance framework for the Smart Grid is critical to ensure quality sourcing, storing, integration and analysis of static and real-time, structured and unstructured data to maximize accuracy and speed decision-making.
In the coming years, data from the Smart Grid will be as plentiful as the oil, wind and sun that powers the country. It will be up to utilities using ‘smart data’ solutions like the Anzo Smart Data Lake® to take full advantage of the opportunities available in this new energy era.