Harnessing cloud service to accelerate energy sustainably

AWS’ Head of Sustainability & Migration and Modernisation Tobias Kederer’s comments at Sustainability LIVE help energy firms leverage insight from data

The global transition towards a more sustainable energy network has intensified over the past few years with energy providers at the heart of it all. As renewable energy takes centre stage in climate change conversations—such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric solutions—organisations are looking to keep up with growth by means of digital transformation. 

Having learned a lot from Tobias Kederer, EMEA Head of Sustainability & Migration and Modernisation at AWS, at Sustainability LIVE London, real-world use-cases of cloud show us how cloud technology can apply in the energy sector. 

Data management and analysis in the energy sector 

One of the key challenges for the energy sector is the management of an abundance of operational data. Organisations strive for greater efficiency in their operations to streamline their approach and reduce the impact of high demand from the grid. Alternatively, managing major energy network infrastructure in a more predictable way requires a significant amount of insight, but consists of data that is usable. 

The energy sector has experienced the challenge that comes with data. While it is great to acquire in abundance, it requires strategic management and optimisation to be effective for forecasting demand and energy production requirements—overall better grid management will help reduce reliance on fossil fuels. 

Speaking to the audience about the key steps that AWS takes to improve sustainability, Kederer highlights the key stages: migration, optimisation, and transformation. Kederer explains that companies ‘green it, then the fun starts’. By this we can assume he means assigning data to AWS’ more sustainable services that allow further integration with AI and machine learning. 

Migrating data to the cloud is an early task that can reduce the need for on-premise data storage. In doing so, organisations are shifting their data management into third-party data centres, which can therefore undergo further processes, such as optimising the information. As a digital partner in this space, Kederer explains AWS’ approach from there. 

“Think of data aggregation and then using machine learning to detect trends and patterns that allow you to predict likely business outcomes. So you could potentially predict when the next flood hits, you could predict all kinds of things depending on your specific situation,” says Kederer.

In the context of energy, and the highly volatile nature of the current market—as seen during major network disruption—organisations can firstly follow the necessary step of migrating their data to a strategic, more efficient hosting, then consider further ways to optimise this and understanding the use-cases for data in predicting disruption and forward-planning for risk management. 

“This is where our system architects work with our customers and our partners to really optimise the architectural decisions. In some cases, the code that runs takes up all this energy. So migration is the foundation you optimise. But at the end of the day, the issue that we're facing in climate is a data issue. The data is core to addressing this,” Kederer says. 

Advanced analytics and machine learning for local insights 

Energy companies can harness the tools provided by cloud platforms to organise data for meaningful insights. Leveraging machine learning models enables them to predict equipment failures, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. Similarly, more advanced analytics direct optimal placement of assets to maximise energy output based on the historical data provided from previously developed infrastructure. 

To close this, Kederer’s comment from the show sums up the argument clearly. The data available to businesses is key—it’s abundant. The challenge for organisations is how they use it to their advantage to leverage its benefits. While organisations may be inclined to start from scratch in their pursuit of data optimisation, cloud service partners—like AWS—already have many of the bases covered. 

“Data is growing dramatically. It's coming from a lot of different sources used by a lot more people. We have a data intelligence shortage. And the cloud can really help you make sense of all the information and help you predict going forward,” says Kederer.

“So if you don't have the data, how can you measure? How do you know what your carbon footprint is? What does your scope three look like? Do you know? It’s very, very difficult to answer right now, but you have to measure in order to monitor and then manage.” 

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