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The impact of digitalisation on energy

The impact of digitalisation on energy

Author: ADD Bulgaria

The Cluster Sofia Knowledge City provides a platform for publishing information and expertise to its members. Such a company is ADD Bulgaria, which develops solutions for resource management. The author of the following publication is Vessela Malinovska - Marketing Director at ADD Bulgaria. 

THE DIGITALISATION IS A MUST

Digital technologies are all around us and affect our way of life, work, travel, and even play.

Our increased dependence on electricity means looking for new, innovative ways to supply energy to our cities, homes, and industries. Nowadays, reliable energy is something we take for granted. We expect it to be there when we need it, without thinking about how it is produced, stored, and delivered to us. As we need to meet global climate ambitions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are growing expectations for electrification, especially for electricity produced from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

That is why digitalization is helping to improve the safety, productivity, efficiency, flexibility, affordability, and sustainability of energy systems around the world. Digitalization in energy can and does affect every sector in our world. Energy providers can use digital tools to improve operations and explore the transformational potential of digitization to help create a highly interconnected energy system. 

THE GROWTH OF ELECTRICITY

electricity growth

A strong driving force for change is the global shift in attitudes and behavior among consumers towards greater consumption of digital experiences compared to physical products. Society becomes increasingly dependent on electricity with the advance of digitalization and therefore a reliable and uninterrupted power supply and quality infrastructure are crucial. 

Digital technologies are projected in the coming decades to make the world’s energy systems more connected, intelligent, efficient, reliable, and sustainable. Stunning advances in data, analysis, and connectivity are enabling a number of new digital applications such as smart devices, shared mobility, and monitoring. In the very near future, digitized energy systems will be able to identify who needs energy and will deliver it at the right time, in the right place, and at the lowest cost. Digitalization is already improving the safety, productivity, affordability, and resilience of energy systems. It also changes markets, businesses, and employment, and at the same time, energy systems are often built on large long-term physical infrastructure and assets.

Traditional electricity grids have a clear hierarchical structure with electricity at the top and end-users at the bottom. However, we are now in a situation with many distributed “prosumers” (both consumers and potential electricity producers).

THE IMPACT OF DIGITALIZATION ON ENERGY

Impact of electricity

In fact, the energy sector is one of the pioneers in the implementation of digital technologies. In the 1970s, energy companies were among the first to use new technologies to facilitate network management and operation. The pace of digitalization in the energy sector is increasing with each passing year, as investments in digital technologies by energy companies have increased sharply. This is reflected in every aspect of life.

Residential buildings, for example, account for nearly a third of global final energy consumption and 55% of global electricity demand. The growth of demand for electricity in buildings has been particularly rapid over the past 25 years, representing nearly 60% of the total growth in global electricity consumption, according to a report by the IEA (International Energy Agency). The data and conclusions show that digitalization, including the implementation of smart meters and smart lighting, can reduce overall energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings by up to 10% by 2040.

The solutions offered by ADD Bulgaria allow you to predict, measure, manage and monitor in real-time the energy performance of buildings, allowing consumers, building managers, network operators, and other stakeholders to identify where and when maintenance is needed when investments are not made as expected or where energy savings can be achieved.

In industry, on the other hand, industrial production is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades, especially in emerging economies, and the value of digitalization to improve energy and material efficiency will only increase.
In the industry, many companies have a long history of using digital technology to improve safety and increase production. Further cost-effective energy savings can be achieved through advanced process control and by connecting intelligent sensors and devices for measurement and data analysis to predict equipment failure, such as the ADD Bulgaria system - Arista EIM.

ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE DIGITALIZATION

Detailed data and precise analysis can reduce power system costs in at least four ways:

  1. by reducing operating and maintenance costs;
  2. improving the efficiency of the power plant and the network;
  3. reduction of unplanned power interruptions;
  4. prolonging the service life of the assets.

Digital data and autonomous system processes reduce management and maintenance costs by allowing predictable maintenance, which can reduce costs for the plant and network owner and ultimately the cost of electricity to end-users. The Monitoring system can help to achieve greater efficiency through improved planning and decision-making process improved combustion efficiency in power plants and lower levels of technical and untechnical losses in networks, as well as better project design in the overall energy system. In electricity grids, efficiency gains can be achieved by reducing energy supply losses to consumers, for example by remote real-time monitoring, which allows infrastructure to be operated more efficiently and closer to its optimal conditions, and flows and barriers to be better managed by network operators.


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