3 ways energy companies manage their data

Many companies realized that, in order to compete in the renewable energy sector, they need to invest in managing their data effectively.

Indeed, this investment can bring multiple benefits such as:

  1. Enhanced productivity
    According to the number of power plants a company has, there are several people spending many days each month for logging in, downloading, checking, organizing and copy-pasting data. Automating these tasks allows to focus on more valuable activities.

     

  2. Customer satisfaction
    Each customer has her own needs regarding the types of information she wants from the asset manager or O&M company. Delivering effective analyses, reports or bills to your customers greatly affects your perceived reliability and transparency.

     

  3. Increased asset ROI
    Overall, having the right data at the right time lets you improve your operations, increase the efficiency of your maintenance activities, also enabling predictive capabilities. All together, these enhancements can increase your asset ROI by 40%.

Renewable energy companies have multiple sources of data, such as those coming from monitoring systems, SCADA systems, sensors, meters, web portals, weather services and so on…

According to the volume of data, their variety and the velocity at which they need to process them, companies choose one out of three options to manage their data:

  • Spreadsheets

In many companies, energy asset managers find themselves using Excel sheets to make reports. Excel was not designed as a solution for energy asset management, so it is often inaccurate and inefficient for managing energy assets. Plus, it is really struggling to copy and paste data all day long, and the larger the portfolio the more difficult it is to handle all the data using just a spreadsheet.

  • Custom software

When portfolios grow, companies often ask a software house or the monitoring system provider to develop a customized system that automates reports or alerts. The immediate pro for a custom system is obvious: it is tailor-made to fit one’s specific needs. But what many don’t realize is how expensive a custom platform can be, or how long it takes to build.

  • Web based platforms

This is doubtless less expensive and fastest option to deploy than a custom software. In addition, Saas platforms are used by others too, so they are tested and improved constantly. Obviously there are risks too: while buying a platform that isn’t custom-made it won’t perfectly match everybody’s needs.

Each choice has pro’s and con’s. In order to select the best option, an asset manager should carefully analyse the three V’s (velocity, volume, variety of data), the internal resources of the company and the customer needs. 

 

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

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New business opportunities from digital energy technologies

We’re entering an era of massive change in the energy sector. Renewables are demanding for new capabilities: data collection and exchange are growing exponentially, creating digital threats which are at the same time valuable opportunities.  

These opportunities are present for all the renewables actors, but let’s dive in in each category’s new revenue opportunities:

Asset management: Highest system performance at the lowest maintenance cost

In the digital era O&M companies are able to automate their asset management. Thanks to dozens of systems they can automate most of the tasks, such as financial and performance reporting, contracts management, and improve their results from many other tools, leading to a more efficient asset management.

Energy trading: Managing price volatility in the energy markets

This is a revenue opportunity for asset managers and sometimes O&M companies. Indeed, energy trading has never been so simple, thanks to lots of energy trading and risk management (ETRM) and load optimization software in the market. Nowadays’ applications can cover all aspects of a transaction lifecycle, eliminating any chance of human error while aggregating, blending, and analyzing inputs from all data sources, which allows you to manage and automate your energy trading.

Energy communities: Allowing multiple participants to benefit from one solar array.

In liberalized markets, PV developers and system integrators with strong technical and financial background can operate energy communities. Many tools allow to automate the billing process, optimize complex energy production, storage and consumption systems and trade energy or flexibility sources in electricity markets. So, thanks to the digital energy these companies can now compete with larger utilities.

Aggregators: Maintain grid stability and reliability.

Today it seems that every energy trader and power producer wants to become an aggregator of renewable energy, storage or demand response resources. They can do this, by exploiting the aggregation and real-time action of energy assets and industrial loads can provide accurate frequency regulation and demand response. Nowadays energy trading softwares operate in an asset-agnostic environment that leverages open APIs for asset integration. This enables various DER asset types and tailors optimization needs to the specific value proposition in any geography. 

 

Indeed, the software necessary to achieve all these great opportunities is out there, companies just need to understand what they really want to achieve and go for it.

This is the third of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"