In his keynote presentation, “Energy Market Distribution and Transition Through Advanced Analytics,” Jorge Calzada of National Grid in Boston, MA, discussed applications of advanced analytics in the energy industry.
The energy industry, one of the last industries to adopt advanced analytics, is currently in the midst of a great transition, after a very stable period lasting from 125-150 years.
Historically, the financial component of the energy industry began with generating electricity, and later transitioned to moving electricity from place to place.
Now, as more and more people want to generate their own electricity via solar, wind, etc., the financial component has made a big shift toward the management of electricity. In addition, as electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace, there are many complex factors to consider with electricity management. And the way to do that is through advanced analytics.
Utilities and planning cycles are currently very incompatible. While energy assets (such as pipes used to transport energy deep below the ground) are very long-lived, customer needs are quickly changing. Advanced analytics helps us to respond to these changing needs.
Calzada gave an example of an application of advanced analytics for the energy industry, using remote sensing to evaluate roofs for solar panel placement.
Many factors must be considered before approving a roof for solar panels, let alone where to place them. By using high-resolution imagery, you can detect information on roof structure, orientation, shading, the tilt or angle of the roof and how it relates to the sun, the direction the house is facing, roof age and material, and roof size, among others. All these factors impact the amount of energy that could potentially be generated by solar panels on the roof, and from there, the financial return.
By using advanced analytics, Calzada shared that they can model a system, and from there model the financials, and are currently outperforming human inspectors.