How Digitization can Optimize Power Generation?

How Digitization can Optimize Power Generation?

By Energy CIO Insights | Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Electrical grids are changing everyday and the capacity at which they produce energy is increasing as well. Digitization can help simplify the operations and increase productivity.

FREMONT, CA:  The power generation sector is evolving at an extraordinary rate. Renewable energy sources are burgeoning and have produced more power than coal-generated in the USA for the first time in April 2019. Factors such as the proliferation of electric vehicles, a decrease in the cost of energy storage, distributed power generation, an increase in the number of smart grids, and evolving customer preferences are adding to the electric-power generation. Despite all the progress, gas and coal are likely to be central to the global energy supply for at least the next decade. The United States has 1,800 gas plants and 300 coal plants that provided three-quarters of energy in 2017. According to McKinsey, the United States will actively use 725 GW of fossil-based power generation in 2030. However, the power generators will run the most efficient fossil-fuel plants in the world.

To achieve significant improvement in the performance, fossil-fuel plants must combine digitization and advanced analytics with classic lean operations. Digital solutions can bring a wide range of benefits. Digital solutions can help utilities to ramp up electric-power generation quickly, reimagine workflows across the value chain, and equip staff with transferable skills as fossil fuel reaches retirement. The energy sector is large and constitutes of sophisticated equipment and assets. A small incident could start a catastrophic chain of events. Thus, safety is paramount. By utilizing safety records, operational data, and data from external sources to advanced statistical analysis, operators can understand risk better and understand the factors that increase it drastically.

Energy providers massively plan power outages but spend very little time on planning and executing day-to-day maintenance. Inefficient maintenance can have consequences on the performance of the plant.  For instance, if a scheduler planning a particular job fails to confirm the required parts and tools needed to perform a task, the maintenance crew can experience a 'tag out' or a 'lock out.' Another issue with maintenance is the shortage of talent. Maintenance crews with insufficient experience depend on seniors increasing the ‘wrench time’ executing a job.  With the help of an analytical tool and dashboard, employees can track end-to-end workflows and provide a platform for sharing best practices.

Digital tools and technology can create value only when used appropriately by the team. To ensure that new solutions provide value, they must be co-designed with the front line rather than leaving to the team to learn on their own. Value can only be achieved by changing how work gets done. 

See Also: Top Energy Tech Solution Companies

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