Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

118 INTERVIEW Powering the future Sue Quense details how AVEVA is optimising energy with Microsoft-powered tools for data insights There’s one question that keeps energy providers up at night: how can we enhance energy efficiency? As the global energy landscape evolves, the answer requires consideration of challenges related to power supply, demand, weather conditions and the integration of renewable energy sources with traditional power grids. Sue Quense, chief commercial officer at AVEVA, explains how the company is working with Microsoft to help energy firms build solid data foundations to optimise energy use. How can technology help to create more efficient energy grids? The physical grid is becoming less centralised and now includes both renewable and conventional power, so flexibility and visibility are increasingly critical. Our traditional grid infrastructure needs more reliability and resilience. By leveraging the cloud and artificial intelligence-powered insights to analyse power supply and demand, consumption patterns and weather conditions, utilities providers can optimise load balancing, increase reliability, reduce power wastage and identify opportunities for energy conservation. These types of innovative technologies are crucial in helping utilities providers to operate, manage and maintain the grid more efficiently, reduce costs and benefit from more accurate forecasting and prediction, so they can proactively prepare for any unexpected disruptions. Why is building a solid data foundation critical? Power plant operators, grid managers and operational engineers need to be able to access masses of real-time and historical data. Real-time data sharing has emerged as the linchpin solution for connecting key stakeholders to enable better insights. They are analysing and sharing this information to make faster and more informed decisions that drive resilience, agility and profitability. To maximise the value of data, it is essential for power firms to have a solid infrastructure framework that can manage increasingly complex data in a secure and scalable way. How are AVEVA and Microsoft working together to help clients? Microsoft and AVEVA have been at the forefront of digital transformation in the energy sector. By combining the power of AI, digital twins, big data and sectorspecific analytics with the cloud, the two companies enable enhanced human insights and empower energy customers to develop data-driven innovations and facilitate realtime collaboration. AVEVA and Microsoft also help companies use digital metrics to uncover potential new revenue streams. For example, US-based utilities provider Dominion Energy used AVEVA Data Hub powered by Microsoft Azure to gather and share real-time data about its energy sources and power flows with its customers via a cloud interface, helping them to comply with their net-zero commitments. Using trackable sustainability data, Dominion’s customers were able to provide BY REBECCA GIBSON “ Our traditional grid infrastructure needs more reliability and resilience”