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The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Renewable Energy - 2020

Technology is advancing at an unbelievable rate. To the point many of us are not able to effectively keep up. With the ever increasing sophistication of Artificial Intelligence (AI), our world will be changed over the ensuing years and decades in unbelievable ways!

The field of renewable energy is no different. AI is able to observe trends and learn from vast quantities of data. This consequently allows it to make adjustments to maximise the efficiency, conversion and even distribution of energy. Such systems allow for accurate weather and load forecasting. Mitigating the risk of an electrical surge, amongst countless other applications. 

Moreover, these trends are not simply limited to major utility scale projects, with teams of engineers and technicians to maintain it. This has the very real potential of becoming imminently scalable. For smart homes, offices and industry.

Over the next decade, AI systems will greatly increase the efficiency of renewable systems through automation. This will become especially prevalent in both the solar and wind industries. The combination of increased generation coupled with the cost savings delivered by automation will afford Independent Power Producers (IPP's) the latitude needed to be able to offer ever more competitive business models and services. 

Naturally, any participant in the renewable energy sector would like to know what some of the potential new revenue streams could be. I would posit that with the ability to accumulate and assess vast amounts of data, this would allow for the creation of consumer focused applications. Assessing their energy consumption and habits, so as to allow for the most efficient use of electricity tailored to their personalised lifestyle. 

Another tremendous opportunity is in the Operation and Management (O&M) of systems. This allows one to accurately assess the potential downtime of components. This can not only help boost the overall productivity of a plant, but also lessen the replacement cost of components by improving their overall life expectancy. This not only offers an enormous opportunity at a utility level. But can be extended to the maintenance of corporate and residential systems. Making a very exciting and potentially very lucrative strategy for service contracts with O&M centric service providers. 

IPP’s will be able to build plants for less in order to achieve their targeted output. Fewer components, less manpower, and overall growth in both efficiency and predictive analytics. This is a  very powerful market trend. And one well worth noting for any industry participant wanting to obtain and retain a competitive edge.

Furthermore, according to Allied Market Research (AMR), the smart grid market will grow to almost US$170bn by 2025. This is compared to US$67bn in 2017. As a consequence, AI driven solutions are not only an efficient solution for market participants to use, but also a very lucrative one.

From research I have reviewed, it generally points to North American and Asia-Pacific players being the strongest adopters of such technology. And consequently the ones who are presently reaping the greatest benefit from it. I submit that this is a trend which European industry should take notice of and seek to quickly address in order to maintain competitiveness over the longer term.

In conclusion, this is a truly exciting trend within the renewable energy space. And one which will almost certainly revolutionise both the generation and consumption of electricity. This is a trend to watch closely! 

Written by Gareth Fouleks-Jones

 

Gareth Foulkes-Jones's picture

Thank Gareth for the Post!

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Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 5, 2020 11:57 am GMT

I agree that AI-based strategies will be key to the enhanced efficiency of renewable installations-- but I wonder, do you think AI will also be a tool that can be used in the planning/siting of renewables in more optimal ways? Will it be able to transform that part of the process, too?

Gareth Foulkes-Jones's picture
Gareth Foulkes-Jones on Jun 5, 2020 12:44 pm GMT

Hi Matt

I cannot profess to be an experct on all things AI. However, I believe one Israeli University has already developed technology that can map our the irradiation levels down to the individual houses in a city. Therefore, I think for it to be applied to planning is entirely realistic and probably well on the way!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 5, 2020 4:12 pm GMT

Oh that's really interesting-- I'd love to read more about that if you happen to have a link!

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