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How is AI Disruption Affecting Utilities?

By CIOReview | Friday, January 10, 2020

In an extremely standardized industry, companies that are primarily focused on power generation and utilities have predominantly operated as regional monopolies.

FREMONT, CA: There is limited incentive for addressing consumer trends or optimizing operations, and utilities have been known for being slow to invest and adopt new technologies. But this scenario is going to alter soon. A series of changes are set to either drive utilities to take new technologies or put them at risk of abdicating some value to the newcomer. New technologies can provide viable, previously unavailable alternatives, which are likely to consume a slice value from utilities, identical to the way Airbnb or Uber stole value-form incumbents in their industries. Currently, the sustainability-conscious mindset of millennials and the advancement of the sharing economy is the driving factor of the key trends in the energy market. The biggest question here is how utilities can use these changes to alter the future of energy in a way that benefits everyone.

Viable Renewables through Reduced Cost and Self-Healing Grids

The biggest roadblock in the mass adoption of renewable sources is its relatively high cost. Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides an opportunity to enhance the cost structure for renewable operations and improving operations with the help of artificially intelligent asset management systems the companies are on the path to competitive pricing. Also, there is a great deal of inheritance variability and uncertainty included in renewable energy, which might place a strain on the already aging electric grid infrastructure. For adjusting to renewable, the industry needs to transform the grid for the future, broadening the capacity and decreasing the possibility of renewable energy sources to be curtailed while they are needed the most.

Peer-To-Peer Energy Trading

As demonstrated by Uber and Airbnb, millennials are comfortable in dealing with strangers and individuals. They spend more than $100 every month on ride-sharing service, in some U.S. cities. Smart apps and mobile enable them with the ability to trade and transact through mobile devices.

With these emerging trends, utilities must invest in making grids adaptable so that they can remain to be a substantial part of the ecosystem. Additionally, it can be seen as an opportunity for the utilities to develop value-added applications dependent on the data they have to deliver value to their consumers.