Helsinki is fast becoming the smart city role model, pioneering the kind of ICT that is already revolutionising the energy sector. Major projects such as the EU’s mySmartlife and the Finnish Smart City Project are not only leading the research into smart grids and the potential of energy data analytics, but applying that research in real world situations across the globe.
“Fundamental re-engineering of the industry is now inevitable"
The roll-out of smart grid technology means that a fundamental re-engineering of the electricity services industry is now inevitable. The only question is how quickly the traditional energy companies can get to grips with the advances in specialized energy ICT.
At the heart of the smart grid is real-time data, generated from smart metering and other sources, together with advanced analytics. The advance of data analytics, the accelerating use of wind, solar and geothermal energy sources, and the demands of the consumer in a time of rapid change make the case for a new style of cooperation between the energy producers (electricity, heat, gas), energy distributors and ancillary services.
Finnish energy ICT specialists Hansen Technologies (prev Enoro), who consult on the Smart City Project, are currently facilitating workshops that bring together all the players in the energy services to debate a new vision for the energy sector in the light of the Smart City revolution. The aim is to explore the potential of shared data and common ICT platforms for the benefit of all, and of course the consumer.
“For a smart grid to power a smart city, no energy player can act in isolation”
For a smart grid to power a smart city, no energy player can act in isolation and still optimize their efficiency across the entire business process. In this new energy business model, electricity, heat and gas distributors, and energy suppliers are integrated through a common platform of shared data intelligence and sophisticated analysis.
To fully realise the benefits of a shared data eco-system, the energy sector must be convinced that there is a distinct advantage to business by increasing cooperation and sharing data intelligence – especially now that second generation smart meters are providing near real-time data. Analytical services and enhanced ICT platforms streamline and optimize energy systems and business processes.
The benefits of enhanced communication and shared data analytics in the energy sector include:
- An optimized and balanced eco-system of conventional and renewable electricity producers, distribution companies, energy service providers and end users.
- Improved efficiency and supply reliability across the industry through benefits such as enhanced load-forecasting and demand response initiatives.
- Data analytics that work with the marketplace to reduce costs, from producers to consumers.
- A consistent and flexible approach to the challenges of regulation and the expectations of energy production and distribution on a shared platform.
- Flexible systems designed for the increasing addition of renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal heat and power into the marketplace.
- A better customer experience with optimized tariffs and transparent billing.
- Shared smart meter data analytics that can predict usage and help avoid peaks.
“Advantage to business by sharing data intelligence”
Negotiating the needs of the market players, with that of the consumer, and the political and ecological demands of city authorities and of environmental regulations, demands a co-operative new approach. Smart cities require smart thinking that not only benefits the global energy industry but also secures a promising and sustainable future for the consumer, which is all of us.
Thanks to Leena Sivill, Energy Consultant at Hansen Technologies, for contributing to this article and sharing her passion and expertise in the field of energy strategy.
Continue this discussion with Leena at firstname.lastname@example.org
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