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Over 78% of global energy leaders believe analysis of big energy data is important in improving energy management, however the challenge clients face is what to do with the big energy data, how to make it actionable and drive results that improve business performance. Let’s look at the four key trends and implications below.
# 1. Three V’S: Volume, Velocity and Veracity
Volume: There is a Data Tsunami today, just since 2008 we have seen 28 million smart meters installed with 1000 times increase in volume of data from before. But data is coming not just from meters but from other intelligent devices ranging from BAS, sensors, thermostats etc.
Velocity of Data: With more devices we are also seeing data being captured in increased frequency ranging from 5 min /15 minutes to monthly intervals. But why is this data being captured with increased frequency?, so it can enable efforts around smart grid, demand response or Micro-grids amongst other reasons.
Veracity of Data: More focus being placed on data quality with 75% of companies reporting data quality issues. Poor data quality can cost you through inaccurate billing, missed real time DR opportunities.
# 2. Always Connected, Any time, Anywhere
With data storage costs reducing over 800 fold over the last 10 years you are seeing an advent of cloud based services and solutions wherein energy data is being stored in the cloud and being accessed from anywhere, anytime through remote mobile devices. Whilst this creates a great opportunity, its implications need to be understood from a client perspective in the context of security of data, latency and response times.
Intelligent energy devices usage and adoption has also been driven by reduced cost of processing power and chip performance doubling every 18 months (Moore’s Law) enabling more complex computing operations to be performed at a fraction of the cost before. This has enabled widespread use of intelligent devices enabling you to now get connected to them through the internet.
# 3. Energy Resource and Expertise is not enough to meet demands
The question you might ask is now that I have access to this volume of data what do I do with it to make it insightful and actionable so I can deliver results in terms of increased performance – be it increased energy efficiency or power reliability.
This is a question that many clients are being challenged with. What are the key challenges?
- More Energy Engineers needed: It is expected that the market will need 2 X to 4 X energy engineers from what they have today. In real terms it means we will need to add 1 million jobs in this field by 2020.
- Not enough talent pool available: In a survey that was done by the state of California over 60% of clients experienced some to great difficulty identifying and recruiting qualified candidates.
- Aging workforce: What has also been observed is that 1/3 of this workforce is over 50 years old. Few engineers enter this field with a pure energy engineering degree or certification. What is most commonly observed is that you typically hire a mechanical or electrical engineer who is then trained in this domain.
# 4. Transform Energy Data into an Asset
Over 80% of clients said that their data holds strategic value and more clients are moving from tactical to strategic energy management by leveraging energy data as a big lever.
Implication: So what can you do about these trends and stay ahead of the game?
I would encourage you to start asking these questions and do a capabilities check.
Software: Do you have software that can acquire process/ analyze the data and support your volume, velocity and veracity needs?
Unlock Hidden Value: Understand what options you have around Energy management software and how you can bring in new levels of automation and optimization leveraging cloud based services.
Energy Resource and Expertise Dilemma: Do you have dedicated resources to address you needs and if not what plans do you have?
References: Multiple sources were used including: Verdantix, Report on Big Data by IBM: National Energy Action Plan, Gartner Group, GihOm-2013, Navigant Research, New Journal of Physics-2009, LBNL Energy Efficiency Services Sector study-2012