The US Energy Information Administration expects that the global energy market will see demand grow by more than half its present level by 2035 because of a growing world population. This increased demand and consumption will exceed the renewable rate at which many resources can be produced and the overall sustainability of todays culture could be in danger. More demand and a dwindling supply of nonrenewable resources is cause for concern and cities need to start taking action now to minimise the risk.
Typically, utilities match demand by increasing supply and the infrastructure to support it, but there are other options that can save valuable time, money and resources. Instead of spending capital to build additional generators and power plants to continue producing enough energy to meet rising demands, power companies should learn to optimise their resources to maximise their availability.
New optimisation technologies
New dynamic real-time optimisation technologies are available to disrupt how energy firms think about their grid and how they handle unforeseen interruptions.
Dynamic real-time resource optimisation software was leveraged in a test of data from a large
energy-focused organisation in the Pacific Northwest. The test sought to learn how to meet network level loads while reducing overall operating costs and use of network assets. In a testing environment, the optimisation software delivered in a matter of seconds and in some cases milliseconds, a nine-day hour by hour resource use plan for its 128 power sources.
Compared to the current optimisation software in use, the solutions met all of the required load while matching and in some cases reducing the overall network cost. In addition to the planning, the optimisation engine enables real-time disruption recovery. For example when shutting down a power source unexpectedly, as could happen in the real-world, the engine provided a new actionable recovery plan in 0.03 seconds that allowed the operation to maintain the same level of power output with fewer resources.
The same power from fewer resources
What this means is that power companies could distribute the same amount of power (or perhaps even more), using fewer power sources. In a world where demand is increasing and resources are decreasing, this has tremendous implications. Retiring old inefficient power plants without having to necessarily replace them may now in fact be a realistic option for consideration.
As predictions continue to foreshadow increased strain on the energy market, utility companies should take a modern sophisticated view of the action they should take now to be better equipped to handle the future.
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14 August 2017
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