Breakthroughs of the digital transformation impact the energy industry as well. The power sector is facing multiple challenges, like increasing the share of renewable energy sources or sustainable development.
Technological innovations are not only reflected in automated documentation processes and elimination of paperwork. The next step involves new ways of how energy and utilities companies do business, how they engage and cooperate with their clients. We are standing at the doorstep of the Energy 4.0 era.
The present digital revolution, referred also to as Energy 4.0, also involves construction of smart networks or managing renewable energy sources.
Hardware manufacturers and software development companies are gaining experience in creating and integrating business solutions with huge corporate systems, with a stress put on internal reliability and ecology. For now, with costs diminishing and technologies growing fast, digitalization provides Energy 4.0 companies with opportunities of developing new business models and sustainable strategies of energy production and delivery.
As energy companies are becoming more efficient in production and delivery, improvements are obviously noticeable also in the areas of distribution and management and, as a consequence, reaching the end users and exchanging data with them. Real-time data analysis is revolutionary.
IoT in the energy sector
By 2020 the IoT sector is expected to reach a global market value of over 22 billion dollars. One of the key drivers here is the impact of digital transformation on the energy sector. Internet of Things solutions are doing well in mining, oil and gas industries. Data used by IoT appliances help to improve decision-making processes, mitigate vulnerabilities and reduce risk factors.
For the past years we have seen a number of implementations such as drones and IoT solutions which are successfully used in facility control and distribution line inspection. Smart meters provide essential data for controlling the demand for oil, gas, water or electricity. IoT devices are monitoring changes in temperature, moisture and vibration, preventing hardware failures and improving human safety.
Smart energy as a part of smart city
Smart cities will help their dwellers and improve the quality of people’s lives by, at the same time, reducing their demand for energy.
This is why 78 European cities started a joint initiative called “Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership”.
The project’s major goal is to cooperate to develop a vision of smart cities and infrastructures. It comprises the reviews of assets and capabilities to provide services within an emerging business model. The initiative stakeholders spotted the need for public-private partnership.
By the end of 2019 EIP-SCC intends to integrate about 300 European cities.
The blockchain technology represents a potentially new approach to trading and delivering energy. Blockchain allows automatic registration and confirmation of transactions, accounting for emissions or guaranteeing that the purchased electricity actually comes from contracted sources. The technology significantly reduces delays and settlement costs.
Blockchain still has its limitations and is not yet ready for use in areas where big transaction volumes are processed within a short period of time. However, it is clearly becoming more and more widely used in logistics and transportation.