The past, present and future of big data in energy management

The energy world as we know it is changing and changing rapidly.

According to an Electric Power Research Institute report, there may be as much change in the next eight years as there has been in the last 25. This change is being driven by decarbonization of the economy and technology advancements, including big data and advanced analytics that trigger the development of new business models.

A gradual decarbonization of the power sector is being achieved by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources, driven initially by incentives offered by governments and now through reducing technology costs. This decarbonization is being brought forward by shutting down large flexible dirty power plants that were connected to the transmission system and replacing them with smaller scale, inflexible renewable generation. Much of this new generation doesn’t sit on the transmission system.

In the UK, National Grid is responsible for ensuring that the system remains in balance (within +/-1% of 50Hz). It has a wealth of experience of predicting demand, and historically has been able to easily match this demand with large-scale flexible supply, and by calling on generation to balance the system – sometimes literally by telephone.

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