The energy industry is undergoing a paradigm shift with the disruptive changes in digital transformation. Increased use of renewables, as well as resiliency and sustainability concerns, is just a few of the factors behind the industry’s need to make encroachments. The digital age has not only brought us a ‘digital twin‘ version of the physical power plant that monitors every asset, but also provides an intelligent response with analytics. Thus, it activates appropriate actions from the maintenance and service perspective.
A few years ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential impact on industry were the untouched concepts. But now, it is transforming the way power plants and assets are monitored, serviced, and managed which has bought several advancements in the energy sector. However, according to a recent survey, it has been observed that improvements of as small as one percent in all of the world’s industrial assets increase the potential of over $60bn over a period of fifteen years in terms of gains for the power industry.
These changes in the energy sector are going hand-in-hand with the implementation of Big Data analytics and the IoT. Organizations in the energy industry are utilizing digital transformations to their fullest. Real-time analytics and wide range of connected devices are assisting energy providers to transfigure the way power plants and assets are managed, monitored, and facilitating them to determine where efficiencies and values can be traced.
Adoption of Data Analytics and the IoT
Performance Tracing: In the process of performance tracing, the information is recorded as well as digitally captured for the engineers to study operations with a deep-neck analysis over time and to make improvements. This approach can be enhanced through specialized software and few of them can be automated through smart technology. Also, knowing the performance of turbines at various points of time allows service schedules to be updated which can save on the engineering time.
Managing Remote Assets: This is an important aspect when rural areas are managed by the localized power supplies. With this aspect, power companies will explore more opportunities that could further improve efficiencies using data analytics. With the application of distributed generation, companies can shift the power production closer to the point of consumption via solar tiles or wind farms. This all becomes possible because the technology is now intelligent enough to plan, monitor, service, and manage the remotest of assets.
Cloud-based IT: Generating performance data from generators is more accessible that allows information to be faster responded and the appropriate resources to be deployed. Through data analytics, engineers can gain a better understanding of a particular device which is likely to get fail; helping to reduce the downtime. The top two reasons for adopting this cloud-based IT technology are to improve the agility as well as responsiveness and money-saving.
Increased Automation: Here, computer controlled automation is applied to turbines. The use of digital sensors brings in fine-tuning which not only extract more power out of the existing machinery but also keeps an eye on the performance and potential failure if equipment. Hence, it is all about making smart plans, capable of adapting the change more efficiently, in terms of cost and capacity.
Values and Efficiencies at par with Tech-Transformations
Recently, an electric firm has reported over 40% of improved service reliability since the implementation of data analytics. This shows that energy companies are looking to gain value and efficiencies through the use of new technology and to seek these key forms of transformation. Also, one does not have to look far to find industry trailblazers that are already implementing these innovative methodologies. ‘Smart Grids’ are aiding utilities to gain deeper views on capacity demand and to provide power consumption more intelligently as per the business and consumers.
For the power industry, digital transformation is combined with IoT connected field service which offers both a short as well as long-term solution. This solution would cope with the varying regulatory and pricing demands of the market along with dealing costs, uptime, and service more probably. Digital transformation has opened new opportunities for those who embrace them. Thus, digital transformation is apparently increasing the pace of innovation and broadening the competitive gap.
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