Data analytics in the electricity sector

DNV Group Technology & Research white paper 2018

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‘Big data’ might be a bit of a buzzword, but data analytics has already changed several industries and the electricity sector is next. Data analytics helped Amazon become the retail powerhouse it is today, while companies like Airbnb and Uber successfully applied big data to shake up the hotel and taxi sectors, respectively. 
In the electricity sector, the growing decarbonization and decentralization of energy grids requires smarter and more flexible solutions – and this is where Data Analytics comes in. Data enables real-time management of the grid infrastructure, more reliable forecasting for investment and maintenance, and enables the development of new energy business models and services.
Forecasting activities like predicting changes in power flow, making long-term investment decisions, and modelling consumer behaviour all rely on the availability of both good data and data analytics. Also, data analytics provides better insights into asset management, resource planning and dispatch for renewables, and demand forecasting 
For operations as well as operations of power generation, reporting is becoming more automated, and so too will data analysis. This will allow operators to anticipate risks and respond faster to changes, for example, making it easier to balance renewables and manage risks. 
Settlement is already data intensive. Here, data analytics will help speed up and automate the process of allocating metering data to the responsible market parties and allocating payments. This will be crucial to deal with the increasing volumes of data from smart meters. Moreover, data analytics will be driving new business opportunities, such as smart contracts, energy management across organisational boundaries and will support high frequency energy trading.
However, there are still challenges to be overcome. The report looks at some of these challenges, including how to effectively capture and share all this data, and how to manage data quality, privacy, and cyber-security. 
Michael Wilkinson, Global Segment Leader Energy Digitalization, provides some further insights into the impact of Data Analytics in the Electricity Sector in one of our recent DNV Talks Energy podcast episodes. To listen to this episode or others in the series please visit DNV Talks Energy.