Is the energy internet the next big thing in the global energy transition?
When Isaac Newton saw an apple drop from a tree and wondered about gravity, he imagined how to adapt a visual process into a strategy for change, and so was James Watt when he examined steam escaping from a kettle and contemplated the steam engine.
Understanding the laws of physics and harnessing raw power created the modern world. Since then, thinkers have harnessed the power of science and technology to benefit humanity. The most recent example of this endeavor is the Internet of Energy. IoE systems entail a comprehensive transformation of power grids with automation and infrastructure upgrades.
Increased efficiency, strong network support, and reduced carbon footprint are benefits of IoE transitions. This approach is especially important in the 21st century as we work together to accelerate the global energy transition toward carbon neutrality.
With the opportunities offered by IoE, we are on the cusp of massive changes to our ecosystem around energy, water, and food production – all interconnected and productive for one another.
IoE is delivering massive developments at a rapid pace and will accelerate change beyond the utility sector.
As power generation and storage facilities proliferate and decentralize and electricity consumers shift from connected devices to electric vehicles, we face more complexities. However, at the same time, new opportunities open up to reward the most efficient
Strategies to reduce total wastage, settle booms, and increase productivity.
With IoE, we suddenly found ways to automatically turn the pumps on and off for the heating system, turn the lights on or off or even schedule the washing machine to start its cycle at a specific time and improve passively energy consuming appliances. This technology allows us to feed the network previously untapped energy.
Using technologies that can broadly be called artificial intelligence – from the use of the cloud, software and data – strategies are emerging that reimagine our energy systems. Using artificial intelligence, we can build cooling systems that work in harmony with green energy generation with the same benefits as field water pumps, water heaters, air conditioning, and electric vehicles.
In some cases, energy consumers can also become energy suppliers. Indeed, by decentralizing energy storage, future electric vehicles can return energy to the grid for cities and regions, improving prices and reducing waste and emissions.
With an ever-growing arsenal of technologies to support it, the possibilities of what IoE can achieve are endless. So why build new infrastructure when AI can move faster and speed up our transition?
With these tools at our disposal, we also have a duty to our planet. We must think about how to keep up with the UN Sustainable Development Goals #6, clean water and sanitation; No. 7, clean and affordable energy; and No. 13, Climate Action, by promoting the transition to sustainable energy use.
Two-thirds of the $141 billion in annual global water losses occur in emerging markets. If we reduce this, we will make a huge impact. By deploying smart electrical grids embedded in IoE systems, we have solutions that can reduce the carbon footprint of the utility industry by 25 percent.
Realistically, we need to apply the processes that help put satellites into orbit or enable smartphones to run our lives to improve how we use water and generate electricity. However, this change requires an economic driver. In this case, the impetus for change comes from increasing utility revenue by reducing inefficiencies in leakage and theft, realizing uncollected revenue, improving operational efficiency and enhancing load management.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, we need to improve the wheel. So why not improve the power grid using artificial intelligence so that it benefits both industry and humanity? It’s an idea whose time has come just like Newton’s apple and Watt’s steam engine to be harnessed to the fullest.
• Ahmed Ashour is the CEO and co-founder of Pylon.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ views