Are you a DSO just getting started or do you want to gain momentum on your digitalization journey? Either way, our hands-on tips and inspiration from real-world experience will help you decide what direction your digitalization journey should take. This way, you’ll learn how to get the most out of digitalization and move forward effectively.
Start digitalization with why
Ask your engineers, technicians and other staff what part of their day-to-day work could be better with digitalization. Also, ask why a process should be digitized. The point is not to digitalize just for the sake of digitalization. Aim to identify where digitalization can add the most value in your grid operations.
It’s also helpful to ask about and look into what would be the easiest digitalization project to implement. The goal is to find low-hanging fruit. Now that you have some clearer goals, a proof of concept (PoC) is an excellent way of seeing what a digitalization initiative can do. It’s like a way of testing your hypothesis and seeing whether an idea really is both high-value and low-hanging fruit before moving forward on a larger scale.
Seeing is believing – visualizing grid data as a PoC
To give you an example of a PoC in the utilities industry, let’s say you want to accelerate the process of identifying grid bottlenecks. To do this, various data points about your grid model are contextualized with continuous load flow calculations to create a visualization of current load and voltage conditions. The visualization empowers your control room team to interpret the data much more quickly and simply than in spreadsheets or some other raw format and is also easy to access and interpret for the rest of your organization.
The beauty of a PoC, and especially a data contextualization PoC, is that it reveals to you more clearly where you stand today and what gaps you have. Only after seeing your existing data visually can your organization more accurately evaluate this data’s usability and identify what data may be missing. Then you can move forward and improve data quality where needed before a larger-scale implementation and other related data-driven initiatives.
Get inspired by digitalization successes around you
Digitalization is top of mind for most other utilities executives, as 96% that were surveyed by Accenture agree that emerging technology is an enabler for a broader and more ambitious vision. This means that you could get some inspiration from what your peers are doing. Another interesting source of inspiration is to look at other sectors that are more digitally mature and have similar applications.
In the oil and gas industry, energy operators are creating visualizations of entire facilities to streamline training, maintenance and cross-department collaboration. For a week of turnaround maintenance, these operators are able to save millions upon millions of dollars with digital twin technology. Now imagine how much time and money your organization could save if your entire grid were visualized, continuously updated with new calculations and sensor data, and you could even perform what-if analyses to see how the flow in your grid would change with topology changes in a twin.