“All the new digital technologies can contribute immensely to the energy sector's development, which has been operating under the same conditions for too many years,” says Fabrizio Ragusa, Global Business Development Director Energy at SLM Solutions.
“We can apply these new technologies, such as robotics and sensors, in the operation of power plants and transmission systems and in the maintenance of critical equipment. It's a digital transformation that revolutionises the entire supply chain.”
Digital transformation has made it possible to collect and analyse data and extract insights that can be used to, amongst other things, improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance products and services and, with that, increase revenue, customer interaction, participation and satisfaction. However, according to Technology Evangelist Kevin O'Donovan, we still have a long way to go:
“IoT certainly has concrete applications today but I suppose what we're missing in terms of value creation is that we're still not 'joining all the dots'. For decades we've been putting in Billions of sensors, gathering vast amounts of data but a lot of that data still goes into let's say siloed applications.”
“The greatest challenge we still have is taking data from all the various systems and silos, and merging it all together to get one version of the truth and thus be able to make sense of it all. But it's not a question of having enough data, it's about having 'good' data that you trust.”
Grids and infrastructure are benefiting greatly from digitalisation initiatives. Billion euro investments are being made to support the development, modernisation and digitisation of the electricity distribution networks.
“A modernised and digitalised grid is the backbone of an energy transition moving towards an increasingly decarbonised, decentralised, and digitalised power system,” says Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric.
“We at Elia Group are always on the lookout for smart applications of digital solutions in order to increase efficiency, safety and economic performance of grid assets and infrastructure,” says Irid Bufi, Innovation at 50hertz.
Digitalisation also comes with risks, with more connected things, and more exposure to cyber-attacks. Earlier this year, a group of hackers hit the software that runs the world’s power grids, gas pipelines, and more, and said “it was their easiest challenge yet”, showing how vulnerable these systems can be.
“DSOs are undergoing a major business transformation, where digitisation and building of a progressively smarter electrical grid have become one of the strategic pillars to enable and capture the benefits of the energy transition,” says Nuno Medeiros, Associate Director - IT/OT Strategy and Cybersecurity at E-REDES.
“Yet, there is today the understanding that the increasing technological complexity and dependence, as well as the ever-growing attack surface of businesses entails emerging and serious cybersecurity risks. Thus, Cybersecurity should be an embedded business function, aligned with the business strategy and objectives, enabling risk management and the resilience of the electrical grid throughout its transformation journey.”
It is more critical than ever that energy companies enhance their strategies around cyber defence and in preparing employees to become aware of potential attacks.
“We need to build defences inside-out and train our defenders using sparring-like exercises,” says Pepijn Vissers, Former National Security Officer.
“Prepare yourself and your organisation for digital incidents faster and better than you have been preparing so far.”
If you want to learn the latest on digitalisation and cyber security technologies that are enabling the energy transition, look no further. At Enlit Europe, this November, the Digitalisation Hub will provide you with inspiring and practical presentations about all you need to know to step up your digitalisation strategy and how to do it faster and safer.
If you want to discuss this further, don’t miss the panel discussion on ‘Managing cyber risks in the electric power sector’ #Digitopia panel discussion co-hosted with Eurelectric happening at Enlit Europe, on 29 November, 14h00-15h00, on the Digitalisation Hub 4. Also, stay tuned for the upcoming Eurelectric White Paper on the guidelines for scaling digital innovations in the power sector.
Other Digitalisation Hub sessions to look out for include:
- Grid Edge Technologies: Utilities at Work; Data Aggregation & Analytics
- IoT for the Grid: Powering the Demand
- Cybersecurity for the Electrical Network; Green Data Centers
- and more.
SPREAD THE WORD AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR NETWORK