The Future of AI in Renewable Energy

Until fairly recently, artificial intelligence may have been something you only really heard thrown into a talk by Elon Musk, or popping up in a Sci-fi horror, but increasingly it is proving to be the key to future developments in a wide span of industries.

Renewable energy is becoming widely accepted to be our one true hope for a sustainable future, the new that replaces the old in how we get about, and how we power our homes. However, as we move toward a green future, the acceleration in renewable energy developments puts strain on several areas, one main one being the increasing complexity in power grid capabilities.

The increasing variety in new and unchartered forms of renewable energy generation means that the split-second decisions, and complex analysis required for providing accurate asset management and demand forecasting, are too intermittent for humans to manage alone. AI algorithms provide the tools necessary to precisely predict and analyze these flitting demands in power, and cyclical abilities for the production of such. This precision is pivotal to stay on track with the timelines set by renewable energy companies and government bodies.

Increased Adoption

Before the pandemic, one of the leading factors slowing down widespread automation and digitization within the energy sector was the need to play catch up in getting enough companies and governments to prioritize appropriate technologies. However, as situations changed, these issues have begun to be significantly ironed out, with the last year showing one of the biggest digital adoptions in the history books.

Trust is one of the largest factors to either inhibit or accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies, and nothing gets more people on board than communally experiencing how well cultures adapt to digital adoption when it is required.

Wider Applications

In addition to AI algorithms playing a pivotal role in detecting intermittent fluctuations in weather, it’s also necessary to predict how long a piece of equipment, such as a wind turbine, has before failures occur. Without such automated predictions, the already sporadic changes in supply and demand would be further compromised by suddenly failing equipment, which on a large scale compounds into widespread setbacks.

From a consumer lens, the benefits of AI algorithms increasing the efficiency of renewable energy distribution include the reduction of utility bills for homes, and commercial buildings by accurately predicting the demand to produce heating and cooling at the correct times well in advance.

On a global scale, the ability to detect and deter malfunctions in grids, power plants, wind and solar farms, reduces the expensive, and efficiency costly knock on effects that the industry suffer from, which takes a lot of pressure off of variables that over time hinder the progression of renewable sources significantly.

Challenges Faced

Amongst anything groundbreaking there are always challenges. For the increased reliance of AI and automated process for energy distribution, an issue of cyber security is faced. Due to the relatively early stages of adoption for many of the technologies we believe to be game changers in the industry, risks that the widespread reliance of such face is the threat of hackers. Whilst these have already popped up in instances across power grids in Ukraine in 2015, and in North America in 2019, the threat of such on a global scale remains relatively low.

Instead, a more significant area for concern will be from a performance perspective, and whether data is consistently verified to make sure that AI algorithms remain valid, and don’t go off-track as the machines learn. This becomes an issue when relying entirely on cellular technologies, as there is a heavy reliance on consistent communication from smart-meters, and thus we can see that a lack of such in rural, or low income areas globally, could hinder the widescale upkeep of quality data verification.

The Future is Sustainable One

The renewables industry has never been more exiting, more innovating, and more positively disruptive to the way our future maps out. At Fourblue we are heavily involved in the recruitment of the best people for a career in the ever growing industry. Big things are ahead for renewables, and if you think you could be the right fit, or would like to find out more about how we can help you along the way, don’t hesitate to get in touch at team@fourblue.com, or alternatively give us a call on 01892 234999.

 

Author: Merlin Parr