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Data and the Digital Transformation

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The need for cleaner, more efficient energy.

The increase in distributed generation.

Innovative new technologies.

There are many changes and challenges facing utilities. With a digital transformation underway, distribution utilities must adapt in the new energy world.

They must digitize to tackle new challenges like the introduction of distributed energy resources (DERs) to the grid. Digitization can also help improve the smart grid and increase reliability as well as efficiency.

A cornerstone piece of digital transformation is data.

Because new technologies are creating exponentially more critical data, it is a central component. Data collection however isn’t the only objective. Advanced analytics are crucial in order to make the information meaningful and maximize its value.

Analysis of this data can help utilities to make decisions that affect the entire range of operations. From utility asset management to grid management, data analysis has the power to improve facility and network performance.

Here are four areas where data can provide a big boost to distribution utilities:

Intelligent metering — While smart meters can help customers understand and reduce their energy bill, intelligent meters provide more direct benefits to the utility.

Using the data intelligent meters collect, utilities can identify power quality issues, improve revenue accuracy and better balance supply and demand. Intelligent meter data provides more control and awareness, helping utilities improve network reliability and reduce power outages and issues.

Smart grid advancements — Power grids are being modernized into intelligent electricity grids with digital communication technologies that track, evaluate, predict and optimize electricity generation, distribution, and consumption.

Data generated from a smart grid when analyzed provides real-time insight into the grid’s performance. With information like this, utilities can improve situational awareness, increase network resiliency, and promote better efficiency. Even safety can be improved through fault identification and detection.

Data-driven asset strategies — Translating raw data into valuable information through analytics allows utilities to make better decisions about their costly infrastructures including smarter investment planning for the future and more efficient regular maintenance operations.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As digitization continues, the amount of data produced will increase as well as the insightful benefits gained.

DER management — Analysis of data can help determine how best to balance today’s distributed grids which experience a more volatile supply and demand. Data analysis can help ensure effective operations. The ability to predict and analyze needs and optimize the energy mix helps to maximize both Capex and Opex.

Download the white paper  “How distribution utilities succeed in digital transformation” for a closer look and a more detailed strategy for improving digitization.

Paul Golden's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on January 16, 2019

Great overview of how data collection and then smartly using that data will be critical in the coming years. Eager to see how these trends shape out and ramp up

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