Artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise the potential of predictive maintenance, improving system efficiency and international energy security by identifying and resolving problems before they create disruption, according to a new report from GlobalData, Energy Monitor‘s parent company.

The Thematic Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence in Energy report explores the way in which AI is changing the energy sector. It suggests that AI will increasingly be used to analyse real-time data to detect and repair faults, using monitoring, thermographic and analytical technology.

The report explains: “Implementing AI in the energy sector will benefit resource management, failure prevention and predictive analytics for renewables,” adding that predictive AI will offer energy security by allowing a better understanding of the fluctuations within the sector while reducing the risk of unforeseen equipment failures.

Among the use cases provided for predictive technology is the assessment of likely impacts of external factors, such as poor weather in the case of renewable energy sources. This is particularly important as the supply from non-dispatchable resources fluctuates, impacting wholesale price predictions and requiring predictive analytics tools to estimate output. The technology will help to enable secure electricity transmission.

In addition, it is suggested that AI will further enable energy security by reducing the risk of asset failures. Algorithms can identify and flag likely issues with assets, analysing real-time sensor data to detect faults, before repairing them ahead of breakdowns.

The Artificial Intelligence in Energy report also considers the potential for hazard detection, citing the example of E.ON, which used drones to photograph power poles and lines, before using Grid Vision (an AI-supported inspection tool) to evaluate the images for maintenance purposes. In this way, it argues that AI will keep human lives out of the most dangerous situations. 

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By GlobalData

“AI-powered systems can anticipate potential threats to energy supplies and proactively strategize solutions,” it says. “Moreover, AI-driven energy management platforms can dynamically adjust energy production and distribution, balancing the intermittency of renewables with the availability of traditional energy sources, thus ensuring a reliable and stable energy supply.”

Elsewhere, the report notes some of the challenges faced by the energy industry and the mitigating impact AI might have. These include the issue of an ageing workforce as a retiring population sees experts leave the profession. It posits that AI might bridge the skill gap between retiring experts and new employees, by organising, storing and retrieving insights and experiences. 

Thematic Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence in Energy provides insights into AI and its potential impact on the energy sector.