Microsoft partners Agder & Powel for smart energy grids in Norway

Norwegian electricity grid operating company Agder Energi, Microsoft and business-critical software solutions company, Powel AS, have partnered for a pilot project that aims to create a more efficient, flexible and intelligent grid for the future. The project claims to leverage intelligent technology to create a smart grid solution that will prepare the existing grids for greater renewable integration and help keep pace with growing energy consumption.

What is the project?

Powel states to have combined Microsoft Azure intelligent cloud, PowerBI, and Azure IoT Hub to provide Agder Energi with tools to improve the dispatch of new energy resources that includes device controls and predictive forecasting for situational awareness. The pilot will demonstrate how utilities can implement intelligent cloud-based smart grid solutions to unlock a host of energy and sustainability benefits. This solution will enable energy savings and easier integration of renewable energy to the grid mix, while also saving consumers money by reducing expensive peak power use and capital investment. Agder Energi claims that energy technologies have made tremendous advances in the past decade but electrical grids around the world have not. Power grids already require massive investments to keep pace with growing energy consumption; they are now challenged to leverage new resources — distributed energy systems like rooftop solar panels, batteries, smart homes and facilities — that can help provide support back to the grid in times of high demand. Kevin Dallas, Corporate Vice President, IoT Business Development, Microsoft said:
“Renewable energy resources and advancements in intelligent cloud technology are driving a digital transformation of grid operations to explore new business models. Enabling solutions like Agder’s will accelerate widespread renewable and distributed power generation. It’s a bright future for the utility industry and for a sustainable world.”

How will it help?

The pilot will be operated at an Agder Energi substation and the technology will enable operators to better predict demand and engage distributed resources, thereby reducing the demand on the substation and saving money that would otherwise be needed to upgrade. The partners expect to build on these results to perform automatic balancing of renewable energy and peak load control in near real time. Bard Benum, CEO, Powel said, “We are applying our strong domain expertise and acting as the integration and forecasting partner in this project to seamlessly integrate Agder’s SCADA to the Azure IoT Hub, provide demand forecasts, and production forecasts for wind and solar in the region. We are thrilled to be working closely together with Agder Energi and Microsoft to help enable radical innovation in the utility sector.”

Why Norway?

While the project focuses on a single substation, according to the company, this is a problem experienced across the Norwegian market. Widespread adoption of grid management software that effectively manages new energy sources as a network of IoT resources has the potential to ameliorate costs of new hardware infrastructure for the Norwegian grid. The partners aim to demonstrate a digital transformation that will allow others in the industry to look to Norway as a leading example on energy and IoT. Tom Nysted, CEO, Agder Energi said:
“At Agder Energi we want to use new technology to make the power grid more efficient, more predictable and more flexible. We will go from being energy generators to energy partners, with a more active role for our customers. Together with our partners at Microsoft and Powel, we will use innovation to solve the challenges facing the grid.”

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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