What Benefits Will AI Bring To Energy? 11 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 30 September 2019
  • Sam Mire

The sunshine comes after the rain, and once the kinks are worked out in the initial rollouts of AI for energy, the benefits will begin to take shape. We have some idea of what those benefits could be, and we tapped several industry insiders to elaborate. Here's what they said:

1. Andrew Tang, Vice President, Energy Storage, Solar and Integration at Wärtsilä

AI has the ability to help reduce power system emissions while increasing resilience and reliability. Utilities currently manage most of their power grids and generating assets using manual controls. Decision-makers must assess data on load demand history, weather and other factors to turn different systems on and off, depending on what type of energy makes the most sense to economically dispatch at a given time. AI technologies bring the power grid into the digital age, automating these decisions while providing robust analytics and far greater efficiencies. For example, Wärtsilä GEMS, powered by Greensmith, synchronizes all grid assets and factors in key data that utilities haven’t had the ability to account for in the past.”

2. Jeff McGehee, Director of Engineering at Very

“The number one benefit of AI in any industry is efficiency. Traditional mathematical optimization, as well as newer approaches like deep reinforcement learning, give AI the ability to automatically assess a situation with combinations of inputs and outcomes beyond the comprehension of the most intelligent humans, and make the optimal choice every time. The newest techniques learn to predict future events and make optimal choices within this context. These types of technologies, when applied to the industry, will yield both more efficient energy usage/storage and more efficient energy production.”

3. Shuli Goodman, Executive Director of LF Energy

“The complexity of the future grid far exceeds the capacity of human oversight and management. The stability of the future grid will be dependent upon being able to weave together industrial scale renewables and storage with “generate local and consume local”. Electric mobility will play a big role, PLUS the future grid will require the ability to fully enable orchestration of the edge as a choreographed flexibility service.”

4. Jason Kram, Executive Vice President at Adapt2 Solutions

“AI enables energy industry players to do more with less. Very few extract maximum value from their data, with the right AI technology in place, the industry can leverage predictive analytics to inform and evolve trading strategies over time as the algorithm learns each day, hour, minute. These quicker and enhanced calculations allow for maximizing business opportunities influencing both the supply and demand of the energy economy. One result is the creation of specialized microgrids to replace large regional grids that better accommodate and manage local energy needs. Imagine a day when severe weather doesn't cause outages or afflict the broader power system.”

5. Mark Chung, co-founder and CEO of Verdigris

Mark ChungEnergy and specifically electricity is a really complex problem. The complexity of that data and meta-data generated is not suitable for human analysis and decision making. Energy is the life blood of our planet. But as you can witness, we are seeing changes in the cost of energy to human civilization – we're carbonizing the atmosphere and destroying our ecosystems.  AI's allows us to more carefully manage and accelerate that transformation of energy towards electricity. As well as an instrument a much more complex and efficient energy usage model.  It could bridge the gap towards sustainable renewable energy.So, I think the number one benefit is that AI in energy, awkwardly, has the ability to save humanity.”

6. Greg Slater, General Manager at Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics

“There are three areas which have important benefits:

– How AI can enable faster response times— AI that is saving an energy company time, collapsing time tables in any way, is also saving that company money.

-How to do more with less number of people-  AI can optimize processes that may have required several people to complete.

-Achieving specific corporate goals-  AI can be tuned to optimize specific, internal milestones and create business benefit by optimizing processes and intuitively responding to corporate needs

The three important benefits are speed, — solutions delivered quicker than before, scale – AI can grow and learn as corporate needs increase and new business models.”

7. Larsh Johnson, CTO of Stem 

“AI has democratized the benefits of technology by being agnostic to volume and variety of inputs from customers. Today, a homeowner can expect the same level of intelligence in the operation of their home air conditioners as that used by power generators for participating in energy markets. For example, Stem's AI allows us to serve diverse customers from hotels and coffee shops to refineries.”

8. Muffi Ghadiali, founder and CEO of Electriphi

“AI/big data solutions are at the forefront of moving energy and building intelligent feedback channels. We only see it becoming more and more of competitive distinction especially as we move to electrons. As an example, an AI platform like Electriphi's tracks energy consumption pattern and can dynamically determine how, when and where to fuel the next generation of electrified vehicles. This means much smarter, easier, and cost-effective ways to use and transport energy – which is what customers want.”

9. Morgen Henderson, Journalist at Solar Power Authority

“Although AI utilizes energy to function, it's main goal is to conserve and process energy in the most efficient way possible. While this goal hasn't been achieved yet, the energy industry has made significant advancements in only a few short years and I believe we'll see more dramatic improvements sooner than later. I think we're closer to reaching our goal than most others might believe.”

10. Edwin Chen, AI Solution Consultant at Dynam

“Using AI solutions to predict power generation downtime and increase generation efficiency, resulting in OpEx and CapEx reductions and improve ROI.”



11. Binu Parthan, Principal Consultant at Sustainable Energy Associates

“The #1 benefit would be better planning, forecasting and dispatching and increasing the share of renewable energy for energy utilities and better energy efficiency for users.”


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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.