The role of AI in electricity grid planning and maintenance

The role of AI in electricity grid planning and maintenance

Sobolt was invited to the TSO-DSO Meeting organised by ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity) on 30thOctober, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Jasper van der Auweraert presented the SolarSearch solution to the 20 C-suite executives representing the top TSO organisations in the EU. The event provided a great platform to have an open-ended discussion relating to the increasing challenges of grid integration of renewable sources of energy, mainly solar.

 

SolarSearch

The SolarSearch solution of Sobolt uses advanced AI-analytics and satellite imagery to accurately detect PV installations in any given area. “AI is not the future, it is the present”, said Jasper to open the session. The presentation emphasised on how this could benefit grid operators in understanding the ‘prosumer’ role in grid management. “In Hungary, the law does not mandate the registration of PV installations of less than 500 kW capacity”, said Richárd Balog, Head of Resource Planning Service at MAVIR. This highlighted the potential of our solution in tackling the inherent challenge of supply-demand management. The presentation also highlighted Sobolt’s AI capabilities in object detection and automated analysis in order to explore other areas of AI application.

 

Representatives’ opinions

After the presentation was concluded, the floor was opened for the members to vent their queries and ideas. The purpose was to initiate a healthy dialogue in exploring the potential of SolarSearch and other AI-based approaches for grid planning and maintenance. “ENTSO-E has prioritised the efficient data exchange between the TSOs and DSOs to enable efficient grid management and we feel Sobolt, through its SolarSearch application, can help in that regard”, said Susanne Nies, the Corporate Affairs Manager of ENTSO-E.

The discussion moved to a brainstorming session during which members discussed other areas of interest for Sobolt to apply its AI capabilities. The idea of using automated fault detection in grid lines and pylons gained much traction. After understanding Sobolt’s object and change detection techniques, the representatives felt that these capabilities could come in handy during grid maintenance activities. This would provide a cost-effective and time saving solution for future grid maintenance. The presentation by Sobolt was warmly received by the members, who were convinced that there are important synergies that could be leveraged in the future.

 

Future collaboration

Sobolt was invited by Susanne Nies to take part in further discussion on the role of AI in mitigating grid challenges. Sobolt is also proud to have been invited to be part of the Business Network for Innovation by ENTSO-E. It is a discussion platform for grid operators and the tech community to come together and invest in innovate solutions such as the SolarSearch. The solutions will be aimed at tackling various grid challenges not only in the future grid planning but also in the areas of grid maintenance.

Sobolt wishes to be an active member of the innovation ecosystem and help organisations leverage unique opportunities that present themselves in the road ahead for AI and energy. Our sincerest gratitude to ENTSO-E for giving us this opportunity to engage in the discussion for grid solutions of the future. It gave us a better understanding of the real challenges that hinder grid operations. The valuable insights from the representatives will give us a renewed focus on how to develop solutions tailored to the needs of the current market.

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