In an article with Industry Today, Baker Tilly Digital Manager Ana Belén Durán López shares insights on the challenges and opportunities driving digital transformation in the utility sector including the electrification of transportation, growth in renewable energies, expansion of microgrids and how shifting into a more integrated and open energy model requires investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). To navigate this transition successfully, utilities should focus on five critical digital initiatives.
Firstly, utilities need to define and drive a digital transformation roadmap. Evaluating their current state, identifying deficiencies, and establishing a clear vision for the future enables the development of a comprehensive digital strategy and roadmap. This may involve migrating to the cloud or upgrading core enterprise systems.
Secondly, modernizing architecture, infrastructure and security with cloud-based services is crucial. Scalable, flexible and secure cloud solutions facilitate seamless integration of renewable and distributed energy resources. However, addressing cybersecurity risks is essential as more devices connect to the grid.
Thirdly, centralizing data fosters cooperation, efficiency and communication. Bridging the gap between customer and operational data provides a holistic understanding of their mutual influence. Implementing a strong data governance program ensures efficient data management with clear policies, processes and protocols in place.
Fourthly, advanced data and analytics streamline operations, forecast demand, and enhance the customer experience. Leveraging data insights enables optimization of energy consumption patterns, demand response strategies and asset management. Accurate energy demand forecasting enables personalized experiences, targeted energy-saving recommendations and flexible pricing models.
Lastly, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies is essential. AI and ML analyze vast amounts of data and enable predictive analytics, empowering utilities to proactively address issues. These technologies optimize energy distribution, match supply with demand and enhance operational efficiency. AI and ML can also anticipate customer needs, enabling proactive resolution and improved customer service experiences.
To succeed, utilities should strategically plan, invest in technology, prioritize cybersecurity and embrace digital transformation. By doing so, they can position themselves as leaders in the energy transition and drive a sustainable future for the industry.