How Digitalization is Changing the Way Power and Utility Companies are Driving Efficiency

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Digitalization has become a priority for power and utility companies, as they look to further drive efficiency, ensure reliability and improve sustainability, in turn helping them stay competitive during a period of accelerated change.

According to KPMG’s 2020 CIO Survey – Power and Utilities industry insights, one of the top issues management boards are focused on is improving operational efficiency. As for the most important technology investments, surveyed CIOs noted security and privacy, operations and production, infrastructure/cloud and systems of insight as their main priorities.

Forward-thinking organizations are already changing their business models to focus on data and intelligence. This enables them take full advantage of the latest capabilities technologies like cloud computing, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) bring to the table, such as streamlining operations by enhancing process efficiency, improving asset utilization and lowering costs.

In our whitepaper Digital Acceleration in the Power Industry, we highlighted the value digital transformation can bring, noting that that a power plant could expect to significantly reduce its major costs/fuel costs by 28%, maintenance costs by 20% and operations costs by 19.5% by introducing new digital solutions.

Digital technologies and their use cases in the power sector
Use cases are many and varied within the sector. In the area of sustainability alone, big data analytics can help with everything from accelerating adoption of natural gas and renewables through to reducing emissions.

Digital twins – real-time digital representations of physical assets – and automated asset performance management (APM) solutions provide a 3600 view of plant performance via a unified operations center, with the former also enabling exciting opportunities within the world of training.

This is because, with digital twins, organizations have the capability to drop trainees into immersive, 3D versions of their real-world plants, and even make it possible for the training environment to mimic the dynamic process behavior of the plant. This type of immersive training has been shown to reduce risks and lower training times and costs.

Challenges around digital transformation
Digital transformation comes with many benefits, but it also has its own challenges. New tools, technologies and work processes first need to be put in place, and then accepted and adopted by a diverse workforce likely to include digital immigrants.

To ensure a successful evolution into a digital-industrial company, its key that digitalization is embraced from the top down, with leaders cultivating a business-wide openness to change and developing an organizational mindset focused on creating and driving value. Without this, you won’t get the best possible return on your investment.

AVEVA’s proven track record in the power and utilities sector
AVEVA has a track record of working closely with power and utilities customers on their digital transformation journeys. Our comprehensive industrial solutions portfolio ranges from the Digital Twin, Asset Strategy and Asset Performance Management through to Connected Worker and Mobile Operator Rounds. With 25 years of experience in digital acceleration behind us, these are all designed with the efficiency and safety of workers, plant reliability, risk reduction, productivity augmentation and overall business performance advancements in mind.

Current customers include US-based electric utility company Duke Energy, which leveraged AVEVA’s predictive asset analytics software to centrally monitor its power generation assets. To date this has saved the business US$50m through reduced failures, including a saving of US$30m from a single early catch event.

Across the border in Mexico, another AVEVA customer, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), deployed our Smart Grid portfolio to align its assets, operations and workforce to international standards and supply reliable, sustainable electricity across the country. Further south, Brazilian-based energy plant solutions provider Promon turned to AVEVA for flexible, scalable engineering and simulation tools to reduce time spent on engineering and installation. By implementing our digital twin and SimCentral technology, the company reduced engineering hours by 15% and implemented projects 60% faster.

'Electricity and gas producer and distributor ENEL has also seen benefits from working with AVEVA, having recently deployed our Asset Performance Management solution to drive its autonomous plant vision.

This is enabling the company to optimize performance and reliability of its assets, and when the pandemic struck, it helped enable ENEL’s workforce to pivot to remote working overnight, ensuring resiliency and sustainable delivery of critical service.

As the power industry continues to undergo its digital transformation, AVEVA is here to help businesses use technology to become more resilient, reliable and efficiency. Why not visit AVEVA’s Power industry content hub, where you can watch videos to learn more about how we’re enabling power companies to drive digital transformation across the asset lifecycle to improve reliability, efficiency and safety.

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