Maintaining the Nordics edge in energy through digital twin technology
Although there are differences between the separate countries, it is safe to say that the Nordics is world-leading in the energy market. Across the region, money has been invested in renewable energy sources, smart grid solutions and cutting-edge innovations from the market.
As global leaders, I believe the next big development for Nordics energy companies will be an investment in digital twin technologies. This combined with the power of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will bring greater predictability of resources, improved operation, financial savings as well as improved optimization and availability of assets.
These technologies can accelerate the resilience of energy businesses in two key areas.
The first and biggest potential – for cost optimization and operational benefits – is around how plant assets are operated and maintained. Given the millions of euros required to keep plants going every year, the challenge has existed for decades: how to maximize the value and life of assets while maintaining quality and availability.
The second, which applies specifically to the Nordics with their focus on renewables, is on prediction and planning capabilities enabling better and more confident trading in the renewable energy market.
How digital twin works
A digital twin is a virtual, evolving digital representation of a physical asset (or process, system, or service) that is complete at any scale. This can be used to model almost anything – from a wind turbine, to an engine part or a generator – leveraging all the information needed during its design, manufacture and operation, as well as real-time operational data from IoT sensors and operational systems like SCADA.
Using digital twins, energy companies can simulate detailed ‘what if..?’ scenarios for strategic investment planning. They can change different parameters to see the impact of different investment decisions and plans at an enterprise level. This capability can significantly simplify the planning process while increasing the value from investment portfolios through more precise risk-based CAPEX allocations. It can also help to optimize operations, using simulations to plan for differing weather conditions and downtime based on the outcome of different scenarios.
Proven results for energy & utilities
With some of the most ambitious energy and climate policies in Europe, the Nordics must be at the forefront of both innovation and efficiencies in this market. Digital twin technology can help.
We have seen great results already – improved CAPEX allocation, prolonged component lifetimes, minimized downtime, maximized efficiency and reduced operating costs.
Using these technologies for forecasting capacity in the renewable sector is yet to be explored but should yield results. Connecting weather data, consumption patterns together with asset production data, could lead to better forecasting of consumption and better predictability of capacity needed providing a way to manage the ongoing capacity challenge renewables bring. It’s a competitive advantage that shouldn’t be missed.