In Denmark, around 50 percent of electricity comes from renewable sources, mostly wind power. Our mandate is to increase that to 100 percent by 2030. This creates some challenges for Energinet, Denmark’s electric transmission systems operator, because renewable energy always fluctuates. We have to manage the grid carefully to maintain the security of supply.

We’ve developed tools to manage the amount of renewable energy we have today, but as it increases, we’ll need new and better tools. Otherwise, we’ll likely have to make costly infrastructure investments or face brownouts and blackouts.Our current control room tools are good at modeling the grid to simulate error conditions, but the simulations and live data feeds generate big data that remains untapped. That led us to wonder whether an analytical tool could discover insights to improve grid management.

Big data and AI: Advancing grid management decision making

To test the concept, we collaborated with IBM Services on a pilot project. The result was a real technological leap for Energinet—a multicloud solution that gleans operational predictions from big data using AI.

Accessing the system from a web interface, operators get help answering questions like, “What would happen if we took equipment out of service at this time?” or “Based on past experience, which assets are at risk of failing?” It’s a huge step forward in decision support.

An important use case is helping operators evaluate planned maintenance. If the maintenance team wants to take down a line or transformer, operators need to assess the risks. The system’s predictions are likely to be more accurate than their intuitions. Other uses include assessing grid operations, understanding system bottlenecks and suggesting cost-effective investments.

From design to proof of concept in three months

Energinet personnel had the idea for the solution, but participating in design thinking sessions helped us understand what is possible and how to do it. Then, with an agile approach we developed the proof of concept in just three months. That’s very fast and cost effective compared to traditional systems development for the control room.

Key to the analytical power is preparing the big data for AI. Systems running on the Microsoft Azure cloud first create simulation and real-time datasets. IBM Cloud Pak for Data on Azure allows users to query the system and AI generates the analysis.

Of course, the usefulness depends on operators trusting the AI. The pilot addressed this by offering explanations for its predictions. We tested the capability by simulating outages with known causes and remedies. Experienced operators easily recognized what to do and why, and then compared their thinking to the AI analysis. The fact that they generally agreed increased trust in the system.

A positive step for a green future

In conceiving the solution, we aimed to help operators understand the risks of removing equipment from the grid. The project proved that possibility and more.

In the future, we plan to advance the concept to where we can look ahead, perhaps over the next 24 hours, to suggest actions that prevent a cascade of problems that might come later. Such AI capabilities can help assure a secure and cost-effective renewable energy supply.

Watch Einar Ritterbusch discuss about moving to renewable energy in a cost-effective way:

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

More from Cloud

Enhance your data security posture with a no-code approach to application-level encryption

4 min read - Data is the lifeblood of every organization. As your organization’s data footprint expands across the clouds and between your own business lines to drive value, it is essential to secure data at all stages of the cloud adoption and throughout the data lifecycle. While there are different mechanisms available to encrypt data throughout its lifecycle (in transit, at rest and in use), application-level encryption (ALE) provides an additional layer of protection by encrypting data at its source. ALE can enhance…

Attention new clients: exciting financial incentives for VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud

4 min read - New client specials: Get up to 50% off when you commit to a 1- or 3-year term contract on new VCF-as-a-Service offerings, plus an additional value of up to USD 200K in credits through 30 June 2025 when you migrate your VMware workloads to IBM Cloud®.1 Low starting prices: On-demand VCF-as-a-Service deployments begin under USD 200 per month.2 The IBM Cloud benefit: See the potential for a 201%3 return on investment (ROI) over 3 years with reduced downtime, cost and…

The history of the central processing unit (CPU)

10 min read - The central processing unit (CPU) is the computer’s brain. It handles the assignment and processing of tasks, in addition to functions that make a computer run. There’s no way to overstate the importance of the CPU to computing. Virtually all computer systems contain, at the least, some type of basic CPU. Regardless of whether they’re used in personal computers (PCs), laptops, tablets, smartphones or even in supercomputers whose output is so strong it must be measured in floating-point operations per…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters