Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
June, 17th 2015
6:38
 

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

By Ron Ambrosio

You walk into a room at night and flip the light switch on the wall. The lights come on. You didn’t think twice about that …you were certain it would work. While we’re not at that point everywhere in the world yet, it is true of most industrialized regions that electricity is a highly reliable resource. But the reality behind that simple action of turning on a light switch is a constantly evolving list of uncertainties that utilities deal with 24/7.

Uncertainty takes many forms in the utility industry, from the health of individual devices as they age, to volatility of fuel prices, to the behavior of you, the consumer, and your use of electricity or natural gas. And uncertainty can be equated to risk — the risk of failing to achieve both operational and business objectives. That’s not a risk any business wants to take.

The utility industry does a remarkable job dealing with uncertainty, but there are numerous factors at play that are increasingly making it more difficult. If you put uncertainty into mathematical terms, every source of uncertainty represents a new variable in the equations that utilities use to plan and operate their business — from what to charge to how much energy to generate. As the number of variables increases, the techniques used to model and solve those equations have to evolve. Not only does the utility industry have to solve more complex equations with more variables, but has to do it faster.

In our discussions with utilities, the IBM Research Smarter Energy team has identified six propositions that represent key factors driving change that contributes to uncertainty in the utility industry:

1.    “Distributed”is the keyword for the new utility system: the generation and storage of and intelligence about energy are all becoming more distributed. This can have benefits such as fewer critical points of failure, leading to more resilient infrastructure, but will also lead to new business models such as those being discussed in New York State as part of the Public Service Commission’s “Reforming the Energy Vision”initiative that is a strategic approach to developing a clean, reliable, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.

2.    The utility system is increasingly instrumented and intelligent: utilities are becoming “data rich,”but we have to put all that data to use in an effective way in order to have a positive impact on operational and business performance.

3.    Energy cost is increasingly based on time and place of use: we need to be on the lookout for ways to more rapidly engage and influence when and how customers use energy.

4.    Renewable energy sources are becoming cost competitive: photovoltaics, or converting solar energy into direct current electricity, is below 10 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour, which is lower than grid-supplied electricity in some regions.

5.    Renewable mandates are accelerating investments: environmental policies, in the form of regulatory mandates, are driving further investment in renewable supply technologies. This week for example, the White House hosted a Clean Energy Investment Summit highlighting more than $4 billion in private sector commitments to scale up investment in clean energy innovation.

6.    Uncertainty will only continue to increase: weather impacts, demand, consumer behavior, fuel costs, policy changes, and disruptive technologies are all contributing factors to a growing number of risks that utilities are facing.

At the 3rd annual IBM Smarter Energy Research Institute (SERI) Conference taking place this week at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, uncertainty and how to quantify and manage it will be the main topic of discussion with nearly 30 utilities (including our SERI partners), government and academic organizations attending. Those discussions and, more importantly, the collaboration with our SERI partners to solve these challenges going forward has important implications for the utility industry.

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29 Comments
 
September 3, 2016
2:46 am

great post thanks


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June 14, 2016
7:56 am

Well done. Keep it up.


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 14, 2016
7:55 am

Awesome.


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 14, 2016
4:27 am

I concur with bullet five: that “Renewable mandates are accelerating investments: environmental policies, in the form of regulatory mandates, are driving further investment in renewable supply technologies. This week for example, the White House hosted a Clean Energy Investment Summit highlighting more than $4 billion in private sector commitments to scale up investment in clean energy innovation”. Faced with the reality of energy constraints communities are being forced to be innovative for survival. I a community can tap on wind energy, solar etc, the better for other communities elsewhere


Posted by: George Michuki
 
June 14, 2016
3:31 am

A well thought out article.


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 14, 2016
3:31 am

Great ideas.


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 14, 2016
3:30 am

Very great article


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 14, 2016
3:29 am

Excellent blog here!


Posted by: Alice Ngigi
 
June 10, 2016
2:27 pm

trimakasih skali


Posted by: harga mobil honda semarang
 
May 14, 2016
10:21 am

It really is an uncertain world! Glad someone out here is trying to make it better


Posted by: tabby
 
April 11, 2016
12:55 am

nice . . . .


Posted by: obat hernia
 
March 5, 2016
9:27 am

nice


Posted by: imo for pc
 
March 3, 2016
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Posted by: snapchatpc
 
March 3, 2016
12:33 pm

nice article
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Posted by: mobogeniepc
 
January 20, 2016
8:07 am

nice


Posted by: psiphon for pc
 
January 6, 2016
2:42 am

I strongly advocate for greener energy. Greener energy such as solar will help the world preserve the ecological system


Posted by: Alex
 
November 6, 2015
2:09 pm

Renewable energy I believe holds a big key for helping to diminish the problem of global warming. I do like the 3rd point about being smarted when using energy and being careful about using too much energy but there are also ways of diminishing some of the energy required to power some products by using energy efficient products. I believe this could be key for our energy use especially when using non renewable resources for power which pollutes our atmosphere and energy efficient products could definitely help with reduction of power usage.


Posted by: Fostik
 
November 5, 2015
2:55 am

Nice article.


Posted by: خرید ملک در ترکیه
 
November 4, 2015
4:42 am

ohhh. interesting


Posted by: درب ضد سرقت
 
July 13, 2015
10:15 pm

Nice article.


Posted by: Kaos Ready Stock
 
July 10, 2015
2:57 am

We need to think out the box how we can make use of smarter energy.


Posted by: toko kaos polos
 
June 24, 2015
6:27 am

Good comment Alex…”We need to think out the box how we can make use of smarter energy”


Posted by: Dennis
 
June 19, 2015
2:37 am

Good article,the energy cost is increasingly based on place and time,so we need to scale up awareness inorder to have a positive on operational


Posted by: mercy nyambura
 
June 18, 2015
5:51 am

We need to think out the box how we can make use of smarter energy.


Posted by: Alex
 
June 18, 2015
5:50 am

You are absolutely right in your article. We have all the resources for a smarter energy but we live in uncertain world; in this, i mean we are confused which is the right one to invent and use without getting exhausted


Posted by: Munyole
 
June 18, 2015
5:28 am

Nice article. It has made me think twice


Posted by: Joan
 
June 17, 2015
7:48 pm

Global warming is having significant and costly effects on our communities, our health, and our climate.

Unless we take action to reduce global warming emissions, these impacts will continue to intensify, grow ever more costly and damaging, and increasingly affect the entire planet — including you, your community, and your loved ones.


Posted by: Joseph
 
June 17, 2015
11:07 am

The danger with global warming is that it’s such an ‘elitist concept’ to many people in poor societies. When the rain fails in such societies, some hold the view that God is unhappy, when the rainfall pattern becomes irregular, they blame it on some supernatural being, when temperatures rise, it’s obvious whom they blame. In some regions rivers are disappearing, regularity of drought is intensifying but the peoples belief system has remained fixed on associated God with such occurrences. Few people in such societies are conscious of linkage between their recklessness towards nature and some of these occurrences. To them global warming is an alien concept. We need to break the concept global warming in ways that such people can understand. My belief is that each one of us, has a role to play in enhancing sustainability and securing a future for ourselves and posterity.


Posted by: George Michuki
 
June 17, 2015
10:58 am

Renewable energy sources hold the future for a smarter planet. The newly industrializing regions of the globe have an opportunity to invest in smart energy options (e.g. solar, geothermal). In Africa, Kenya is on a right path, as evidenced by the growing investments in renewable sources of energy (wind power in Ngong, Marsabit and Nyandarua etc; geothermal power generation in the Rift Valley). However, we need to scale up awareness on the part of the population on the promise for smarter living and posterity that can accrue from these sources of energy. Finally, let’s industrialize, but in an energy smarter manner.


Posted by: George Michuki
 
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