Understanding the Energy Industry

In recent years, the world has seen a huge surge in data science. This has caused a paradigm shift in the way we store and process data. As a matter of fact, data has now become a vital part of almost every aspect of our real life and every sector of the economy. These applications can be found in finance, energy, logistics, healthcare, retail and more. In this article, we will focus on the energy sector and get you acquainted with how stakeholders in the industry can utilise data in decision making.

The energy industry can be grouped into four categories, namely: the gas industry, the electrical power industry, the coal industry, and the petroleum industry. There are different parties playing in the sector, starting from the energy producers and consumers,  to the network operators, traders and of course the regulators, who try to influence what goes on in the sector.

With a practical example, you can compare the energy network to a water network. On one hand, you have producers that put water in the network, which increases the pressure. On the other hand, you have consumers that open up the floodgates and consume that water. However, it’s up to the operators to maintain constant pressure in the whole system at all times.

Energy Transition: Sustainability is Key

Until today, the primary concern in the energy industry was how to balance out costs and the security of supply. However, with the energy transition in vogue, a new factor has come into play. The energy sector is now more concerned about sustainability. As you may already know, energy producers are shifting the balance from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, like solar and wind. These sources heavily depend on the weather. For this reason, they are more unpredictable than coal or gas power plants.

Where production and consumption used to be very predictable, we now have higher highs and lower lows, and we only learn about them just before they arise. Unfortunately, we have less time to respond. This makes congestion management and capacity planning a key factor in day to day operations. That’s not all, the energy transition also comes with legal issues, particularly in regards to regulations. This causes the need to answer some questions. What data should be exchanged and with who? Will the new business models and alliances lead to a breach of legal provisions?

The reality is that the energy transition requires substantial investments. Any company that wants to play big in this new era of the energy industry needs to invest in key resources. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that some companies are already experimenting a lot to validate that they are putting their money in the right places. In all of these, there is a common capability that all companies in the energy sector are working on: data.

Data is King in the Energy Industry

Data is vital to effective decision making. Parties use data to create the best user experience, forecast production yields,  trade efficiently on the energy markets and get insights into their energy usage. Full data integration with existing physical systems in the energy industry will help reduce decision-making time, increase productivity and efficiency at a lower cost with more focus on the insights generated from the data.

Another challenge that data is solving is in the electricity sector in regards to  generation, distribution, and consumption. Advanced analytical systems help in monitoring patterns in energy generation and consumption. Real-time data is needed to predict shortages and surges in order to allow companies to respond automatically with affordable and consistent electricity supply.

Furthermore, maintenance is also a major pain point in the energy sector. Unanticipated pipeline bursts, outages, interventions, and shutdowns normally disrupt service and cause loss of millions of dollars for many organisations. Again, data is crucial here. Data can be collected and analysed to develop an accurate approach and predictive attitude to maintenance. That is, data and advanced analytics capabilities can help in preventing equipment failure and shutdowns.

Data Streaming is the Ultimate Way to Go

Having read this article up to this point, you will agree with us that data drives the energy business. As a matter of fact, energy companies are building digital platforms for their future operations. One of the key elements that the platforms need to provide is the ability to do business in real-time. This capability is provided by a technique we call Data Streaming.

Most organisations face the problem of data explosion that arises from new applications and new business opportunities. An ideal architecture is one that allows companies to capitalise on all of the data. To do this effectively, the data streaming technique is the way to go. Data streaming helps companies to ingest, process and act on data in real-time.