Digital transformation is occurring across the globe, and it is affecting nearly every aspect of our lives. Even electrical production, transmission, and distribution operations are finding ways to improve efficiency, security, and reliability by transforming physical infrastructure into digital systems.
WHAT IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
Electrical energy has traditionally been produced on a large scale thorough centralized baseload power suppliers, usually coal, nuclear, or gas-fired power plants. These power plants can be switched on and off to meet basic demands. However, modern clean energy alternatives, like wind and solar, are decentralized and intermittent. As a result, a great deal of electrical commodity trading is necessary to fill the gaps between our dirty baseload power and unpredictable clean energy resources.
Brokers and power suppliers active in modern energy markets have one common goal: providing low-cost, clean, secure, reliable energy solutions using industry-leading digital infrastructure. Digital solutions are creating new opportunities for decarbonization, decentralization, digitalization, and democratization. Altogether, this is creating a disruption in the traditional energy industry and increasing the need for digital industrial software and services.
HOW HAS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IMPACTED ENERGY?
Energy markets are constantly evolving as technology becomes more advanced. Energy is a necessary resource, and it is often the critical ingredient to meeting productivity, efficiency, and sustainability prerogatives that are critical to daily life. We are bringing cleaner, safer power to a greater number of people, and this is a very good thing. But as this occurs, consumers are becoming more demanding – and competitive power suppliers are rising to the occasion.
Progressive companies understand the importance of digital transformation and work to see it come to fruition. Modern “prosumers” care deeply about the impacts of their consumption, including sources of energy. Energy companies need to have access to digital tools that allow them to be predictive, prescriptive, and fully autonomous. After all, embracing the transformation and proactively responding to the market demands provides opportunity and allows for more innovative solutions.
MEETING MODERN POWER DEMANDS WITH DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
Renewable energy micro-suppliers and increasingly discerning consumers are shaping the future of the energy industry. In order to meet the growing needs of these stakeholders, many energy market participants are relying on forecasting based on analytics derived from raw data and instantaneous or autonomous energy commodity trading across digital platforms. Forecasting will be instrumental in preparing for the increasing number of users, devices, and regions that new innovative technology will reach.
Using predictive analytics, smart software solutions can reasonably anticipate the future demands of the energy market, and utilize data to better inform decisions. Digitalization and automation solutions can increase the speed of energy transactions and reduce the cost incurred with each exchange. In turn, the modern consumer stands to benefit from faster, more affordable, and more powerful energy resources made available through digital transformation.
TYPES OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Digital transformation in energy markets takes various forms. Power suppliers and brokers often turn to advanced analytics, cloud computing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital features to advance both business intelligence and quality of service.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things are well-established digital technologies. Each has proven to significantly help individuals, communities, and companies throughout the world. Often, they allow for an increase productivity while simultaneously decreasing waste. This trend is only going to become stronger as distributed energy resources (DER) grow to be more efficient, flexible, and will automatically comply with environmental regulations.
Nearly every day, smart technology traffic hits a new record. This brings nearly limitless opportunity, but without proper management and regulation, we could start to experience an unsafe and insecure energy market. Fortunately, certain advancements in energy market digital transformations are already offering solutions to these emerging issues.
Whenever physical infrastructure is transformed into a digital system, cybersecurity becomes an issue. Countries are becoming more proactive to increase the security of their information technology systems within their virtual power plants and other digital power solutions. By bolstering security, grid operators are also working to ensure protection against attacks on critical energy infrastructures. However, there is the need for a fine balance in developing cybersecurity solutions to digitized power systems. After all, at some point, rules and regulations can become too prohibitive for a company to further improve digital services and solutions.
America’s energy markets have already benefitted substantially from deregulation. Private stakeholders in deregulated power markets encourage design innovation, process development, the modernization of energy distribution, and alternative forms of business that meet evolving market needs. These solutions provide for new approaches capable of revolutionizing how energy business is conducted, but all this depends upon how digital solutions to existing energy market challenges are handled.
Advances in digital technologies open the door for new business operating models as well as novel customer base supply capabilities. And as development and implementation become more fluid, doors are opening for competition in the power and utility industry.
Customers are creating a more personalized relationship with their utility use. Not only are individuals constantly finding themselves needing to be connected with the internet, but they are surrounding themselves with smart grids and turning their home appliances into needing the same services, from smart refrigerators to smart thermostats. And just as consumers are growing more tech-savvy, energy sector employees are as well.
Energy market participants that embrace digital transformation can attract and retain top talent. Employees of the power and utility industry are tech-savvy professionals who enjoy working with digital services to bring consumers cheaper and more advanced solutions. Indeed, market that has traditionally been of engineers and skilled labors is transforming into one necessitating computer engineers and programmers.
Competitive power marketplaces offer more room for startups, entrepreneurs, and companies looking to expand into other industry arenas than their regulated counterparts. As such, new opportunities are rising in deregulated markets involving solar power, battery storage, wind power, electric vehicles, smart buildings, two-way power flows, microgrids, and other modern power solutions. And given the increasing competitive pressure energy suppliers and brokers are feeling in modern power markets, any of these tools can help an innovative organization cut a new competitive edge.
DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR A MODERN GRID
Digitization is the hallmark of next-generation power solutions, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Software and digital devices are becoming the driving force of energy markets. Digital solutions can be used to monitor and manage power plant operations, provide energy connectivity, and be integrated into commercial and industrial business affairs.
The most successful software solutions and digital devices will require a clear vision of strategies and the ability to create a flexible, but detailed roadmap of a company’s business goals, and incrementa
l steps needed to accomplish those goals. Achieving quality deliverables in this new era of digital transformation demands forward-thinking solutions.
It is particularly important that software solutions and digital services that are forming the cornerstone of energy market are keep up to date and are redesigned and implemented to fit our changing energy environment.
BrokerX is a software solution for energy brokers that eliminates manual tasks through automation, providing more time to sell and grow their businesses. To learn more about our energy broker software, call 312-725-0028, email Matt@brokerxapp.com or click above to schedule a demo.