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The energy and utilities sector makes use of cutting-edge digital technology

Last updated: Nov, 2021

Organisations all over industries are experiencing a massive business transformation as a result of digital era and the increased adoption of disruptive advancement in the technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud, machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA), internet of things (IoT). The energy and utilities sector are also quickly understanding the transformative roles that new-age technologies can play in enhancing business development and productivity improvement, and how they can become a crucial accelerator of this transformation process.

By understanding the need of new- age technologies, the energy sector in India is also rapidly adopting automation and digital technologies which is currently undergoing into massive development and redesign. Service continuity and operational efficiency are essential in the energy and utility industries. Industries around the world is experiencing a major transformation in consumer behaviour and the way firms operate as a result of digitisation and automation to meet volatile market dynamics and expectations.

Digitalisation is must with the changing company needs-

Where the energy and utility organisations are to transform into digital enterprise with the combination of technology innovation and socio- economic factors, in this scenario it’s critical to assess emerging tech trends and put in place a digital transformation roadmap that's dependable, scalable, and secure, and can assist utilities provide better customer service and increase performance.

The way energy is sourced, supplied, and consumed is being driven by technology today. Furthermore, factors such as rising renewable energy adoption, battery storage, distribution grid-edge production (prosumers), a surge in electric vehicles, decarbonisation, and decentralisation are causing unprecedented disruption in the energy and utility sector. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digitalisation and business continuity, which can be achieved by boosting IT infrastructure and deploying creative solutions that result in improved business processes, distinct delivery models, and the development of new business capabilities.

India is swiftly adjusting to be a forerunner in this digital transformation tale, by keeping pace with the global trend. As firms transform their business processes, implementation of new-age technologies such as AI, advanced analytics, cloud, and IoT is increasing fast and is expected to accelerate. In the foreseeable future, chatbots and voice help, RPA, and blockchain will emerge as key technology factor for expansion opportunities.

Mr. Martin Hauske, Energy Segment Leader for the Asia Pacific and Japan, Nokia Solutions & Networks says “India is at the cutting edge of this global shift. In line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the country has set an ambitious goal of 450 GW of renewable energy generation by 2030, a major decrease in fossil fuel dependence by 2030, a Go-Electric campaign, and incentives for speedier EV adoption.”

There has been a rapidly increase in the market for IoT in the Indian power sector for applications such as planning and forecasting, utility asset monitoring, and proactive maintenance, mobile computing prospects which are growing to improve digital experience, workforce management, SaaS, and technology-on-the-go. Hyper-personalisation solutions, which leverage real-time connectivity and RPA to experience for users, are expected to rise in popularity in India.

New technology and trends are also rising-

The impact of both the energy transition and the pandemic has created a fertile ground for digital change in the energy and utility sectors, forcing them to think differently out of the box and come up with new innovations. The introduction of new technologies, mostly at the grid and utility stages, not only pushes businesses to restructure their business strategies, but also to properly meet changing consumer behaviour and consumption habits. Companies, on the other hand, can achieve a competitive edge by harnessing new technology to monitor and distribute assets in a much more productive and cost-effective manner.

As per experts, Renewable energy technologies, which were formerly seen as a danger to traditional oil and gas (O&G) firms, are now part of their own portfolio. The industry as a whole has been refocusing on carbon management, with decarbonisation as a primary goal. The intermittent nature and variability of generation, as well as preserving grid stability and respond to emerging and surging demands from having to move electric loads, are all obstacles for utilities, central transmission grids, and state transmission/distribution grids as a result of radical changes in the energy mix.

Several companies are working with utilities throughout the world to help them convert their future grids using end-to-end communication network technologies such as private LTE, 5G, optical, IoT platforms, and spread of digital cloud. There are other technologies that enable utilities chart a road to Industry 4.0 by offering a foundation for monitoring and directing assets and field resources worldwide, as well as the use of digital value systems to manage and control energy service generation, distribution, and operation.

In India's massive rollout of demand management, there is also a growing desire to add additional intelligence, better communication, and increase security. The demand for stable and safe communications (e.g., 5G), smart bots, and energy data analytics (using AI/ ML), as well as services such as load control, energy saving management, network health monitoring, prescriptive modelling, and customer services, is growing day by day.

The road ahead…

India's energy industry is predicted to change in a variety of ways as it looks forward to a far-reaching reform and the advancement of the sustainability strategy about to achieve a close target by 2050. As the country adopts more clean technologies, renewable energy will become more integrated into the grid, and more individual microgrids – solar, wind, biomass, battery energy storage, and waste-to-energy – will continue to power localities.

Dr. Pramod Paliwal, Professor, and Dean, School of Petroleum Management, PDEU says India is expected to have four times the amount of renewable energy generation by the middle of the century as it has now. “The situation in India is a fascinating case study.” As the globe moves toward cleaner energy, the country’s energy demand is expected to surpass that of the EU by 2030, making it the world's third-largest energy user. “By 2040, the country's imports will have increased thrice.” It's fair to say that India is in an unprecedented circumstance in that it must both pioneer a new low-carbon economy and strive for growth. If India succeeds, it will serve as a model for other emerging economies, particularly on the African continent,” he adds, adding that as traditional energy corporations diversify their portfolios to include renewables, network and communication technology would need to keep up.

Bioenergy will play a larger role in the energy landscape by 2050. Before the mid-century, liquid biofuels are expected to overtake petroleum products as the primary source of energy for industry and transportation. Green hydrogen as a fuel for industry and transportation, as well as carbon sequestration technology, will be heavily promoted.

However, if these trends and possibilities become more prevalent, the rivalry will get more intense. Players who can build innovative business capabilities, customer-centric products, and service models while continuing to offer enhanced and cost-effective traditional products will undoubtedly gain an advantage.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.