Artificial intelligence is everywhere in our lives, from powering search engines, through product recommendations, to phone unlocking by facial recognition…So how can artificial intelligence be defined? “In its simplest form, artificial intelligence is a field that combines computer science and robust datasets to enable problem-solving” (IBM).
This concept and its use are becoming increasingly popular in the field of energy management, in spite of some doubts and misconceptions. Indeed, while some professionals are still sceptical about AI’s effectiveness, others may be reluctant to share their data or are still hesitant to take the leap because it seems too complex.
The use of Artificial Intelligence in the energy sector is very diverse and can be applied to any industry. There is an enormous potential for Energy Services Companies to benefit from technology and help clients achieve their energy efficiency goals. But how can AI be leveraged to provide the right customer with the right information at the right time so that they make more enlightened decisions that will directly affect costs?
In this article, we will talk about how AI is (re)shaping the energy sector and how ESCOs can benefit from its use. So… if you still have some reservations, or if you are interested in Artificial Intelligence and want to know more, keep on reading!
How is Artificial Intelligence Shaping the Energy Industry?
Artificial Intelligence Contribution to Energy Transition
Artificial intelligence (AI) has tremendous potential to both accelerate and support the global energy transition as it can be widely implemented across the energy value chain. It can act as a smart layer in many implementations to detect and identify patterns, enhance system performance and forecast the outcome of complex situations.
In addition, the global energy system, reinforced by the current energy crisis and the global awareness of climate issues is experiencing a radical transformation. It will in the coming decades continue to be further decarbonised, digitalised and decentralised. This is why using AI is more meaningful than ever and unfortunately, companies that are not ready to make this transition will pay heavy consequences...There are already many companies that can benefit from the power of AI, and you can be one of them too!
Today, this particular technology has already demonstrated its worth in the renewable energy sector by making significant progress in different areas…and it is just the beginning.
“In energy, we are only seeing the beginning of what AI can do to speed up the transition to the low-emissions, ultra-efficient and interconnected energy systems we need tomorrow,” added Roberto Bocca, Head of Energy, World Economic Forum.
Energy Efficiency Initiatives: a Pressure borne by ESCOs
Energy service companies (ESCOs), despite being in operation for quite some time, have grown in popularity in recent years as an optimal channel to reach new energy efficiency standards and objectives. The global ESCO market, valued at $25.2 billion in 2020 is expected to reach $49.6 billion by 2030 (Allied Market Research).
Therefore, ESCOs are often the ones that feel the brunt of energy efficiency measures and encounter some challenges when trying to apply energy efficiency measures, as they are the first in line. Some of the reasons, among others can include:
- Multivendour automation systems, running in silos, which complicate and delay Energy Service Company’s project phases/cycles;
- Failure to monitor and gather detailed real-time data (granular data) on building performance and improvement actions...
- ....or Gathering too much data but not being able to process it;
- Lack of a data-based focus to proactively assess and adjust performance;
- Failure to produce actionable insights that can lead to better decision-making and better action before it becomes too late.
As a consequence, these kinds of challenges might make it hard for you, as an Energy Service Company to run and scale up several projects at the same time, preventing some of your large clients from upgrading their regular business practices and thus, reaching their ESG objectives.
The future of Energy Management for ESCOs
1. Data Digitalisation to increase your competitiveness
As in other fields, the trend is towards personalisation and the energy sector is no exception. As ESCOs have a lot of data to manage and many still do it manually, implementing an energy management system like the Dexma Platform will save you a lot of time. Indeed, some of the advantages for ESCOs to use AI include data storage, handling and management in a faster and more cost-efficient way. In addition, if you were to decide to implement innovative technologies and new methods of operation, you would become more competitive and relevant in a highly competitive and ever increasingly volatile market.
2. Predictive Analytics to drive better decision making
Predictive Analytics or Forecasting will help you answer the question “What might happen in the future?”
With well-aware clients who always want to pay less for high-quality service while getting more choice and transparency, relying on advanced technologies (such as machine learning, and algorithms) and analytics will help you meet their expectations.
You can glean new insights to streamline decision-making, sustain automated processes and enhance the customer experience with business intelligence tools, such as the Dexma Platform. Indeed, forecasting with predictive analytics draws on both historical data collected in your client's equipment and our energy database to find key linkages that will enhance performance, lower operating costs and extend the life of the equipment of your client.