Even though it is a relatively new technology, artificial intelligence is already being used in the energy industry, and it has several advantages in terms of plant design, operation, and maintenance, grid management, end-use management, safety, and environmental sustainability.
The energy sector is facing several urgent problems, with the depletion of conventional energy supplies and their negative effects on the environment being the two main ones. Fortunately, artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the energy sector by improving resource distribution efficiency and making energy generating a more sustainable process.
The figures show that energy corporations are interested in AI capabilities: by 2024, it is predicted that the worldwide AI energy industry would be worth $7,78 billion.
In this post, we’ll look at the specific ways in which AI may help the energy industry and how the technology can be incorporated into various business operations. We’ll also look at the leading companies in the sector who have already integrated AI into their processes.
What is Artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has no single definition; nonetheless, the fundamental idea refers to a computer that can learn from data such that it can adjust its actions without further human reprogramming. Advanced search engines, speech recognition algorithms, self-driving cars, and other technologies are examples of AI at various stages of evolution. Generative AI, on the other hand, can speed up processes like creating standard texts, images, and software code by combining a vast number of sources and data.
It’s a quick revolution, with advancements occurring at a previously unheard-of rate. In fact, AI is already in use in many, frequently obscure fields. And this is only the beginning.
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Artificial Intelligence and its benefits to Energy sector
AI in the energy sector can assist assure efficient energy production, save costs, minimize carbon footprint, improve customer appeal, and provide a safer working environment.
Here is a more thorough list of all the advantages:
Efficient production of energy
Numerous energy-related data points can be processed quickly and effectively by AI. Any pertinent information is acceptable, including past energy usage statistics and news articles about power failures and system overloads. Once patterns and dependencies have been found, AI can offer practical techniques for maximizing energy production and dividing it across times and places with high and low demand.
Decrease in carbon emissions
Energy suppliers may accurately customize their energy output to meet consumers’ needs because using AI in the energy business enables them to defy the exact quantity of energy required at a given time or location. Less carbon is released into the environment since there is no extra energy produced.
Artificial intelligence can also be used to forecast weather conditions that favor the use of renewable energy sources, such as sunny or windy days. Energy suppliers will be able to better organize their production strategy this manner, making the most use of sustainable energy sources.
Companies in the energy sector can reduce recurring costs thanks to AI. For instance, energy companies can utilize artificial intelligence to predict machine maintenance, giving them the chance to spot and address potential issues early on. This will lessen the need for pricey repairs and financial loss in the event of a closure.
Additionally, lower production costs for energy providers may translate into more competitive energy offerings for consumers.
Better workplace safety
Energy professionals are frequently exposed to hazardous materials and run the risk of accidents or explosions while working in hazardous situations (such as offshore drilling rigs or high voltage power lines).
By automating jobs like monitoring the performance of machines situated in remote or dangerous places, artificial intelligence might lessen this risk.
Greater attraction to consumers
Customers today pay great attention to the efforts that energy companies take to improve their sustainability and reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Utilizing AI to address these environmental problems can provide as compelling evidence that an energy supplier is making investments in greener technologies and procedures, giving them a competitive edge in the market.
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AI in the electrical industry
There are already many applications in the electrical sector due to the enormous amounts of data and the value of the information that can be collected, especially for the benefit of efficiency, the energy transition, and renewable sources. Artificial intelligence (AI) can provide helpful, even forward-looking, indications about available resources and plant efficiency, as well as potential risks related to soil characteristics or extreme weather events, when it comes to identifying the most suitable sites for a wind or solar plant.
By delivering more precise and trustworthy weather forecasts (wind and irradiance), artificial intelligence can also aid in plant management by improving estimations of projected production. Due to the study of sensor performance data, production can be optimized. In the case of hydropower, more accurate predictions of water flows aid in lowering waste and raising output.
As smart as grid
Electricity must be delivered and distributed after it is produced. Grids, and specifically smart grids, are necessary to fully integrate renewable energy sources into the energy system. In this area, AI systems can be very helpful, especially in light of the arrangements for emerging power systems, where distributed generation and multidirectional energy flows multiply the variables and their complexity.
It is not surprising that the prospects presented by artificial intelligence for grids were recognized in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) paper “Artificial Intelligence and Big Data” from 2019.
To improve grid management, AI can cross-reference predictions of demand and its volatility with estimations of the volumes that can be generated by wind and solar plants. AI can effectively control grid flows in this way, including through rapid and autonomous decision-making. The application of AI (both at the predictive and decision-making level) in the management of storage systems, i.e., electricity storage, a critical component to correcting for the intermittency inherent in renewables, makes the grids more flexible, and as a result, more efficient and dependable.
Providing security to peoples
Finally, the energy sector will be able to take advantage of all the protection and safety benefits that AI has to offer, including cybersecurity, the fight against fraud, and especially workplace safety, which is a major priority for the Enel Group.
This is a particularly interesting area since AI will make it possible to catalog and analyze historical incidents to estimate risks and lower them more accurately. Confirmation that artificial intelligence is a technology capable of significantly enhancing people’s lives and places of employment, even though it will not develop to the point where it animates the ideal offspring of science fiction.
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