Dec 10, 2014

How Big Data is Electrifying the Energy Sector

Green Tech
Adam Groff
3 min
Although flipping a switch to turn the lights on seems simple enough, there's actually a ton of data behind renewable energy. From expand...

Although flipping a switch to turn the lights on seems simple enough, there's actually a ton of data behind renewable energy.

From expanding power grids to smart meters, the energy sector is growing in big ways and big data is there for every step.

When it comes to the power of data, here are just a few ways big data is impacting the renewable energy sector nationwide:

Energy Insights

Turning the power of the sun and the wind into electricity is a sophisticated process that's largely based on location. Putting a solar panel in a region where the sun shines the majority of the year is key.

Likewise, installing a turbine in a location where wind gusts are more common is the goal of renewable energy companies.

With the help of big data, renewable energy companies can better predict the optimal locations for their equipment. By tracking sun exposure rates and variable wind pattern data from region to region, the renewable energy sector can gain valuable insights as to where energy resources are most advantageous.

Customer Outreach

When entire cities decide to take a renewable approach to their energy consumption, renewable energy companies can tap into nearby grids.

However, when it comes to small-scale outreach, finding consumers on an individual or neighborhood level is a bit more challenging.

Big data can help with small-scale customer outreach by tracking and processing current usage rates for neighborhoods and individual addresses.

By finding customers with energy profiles that could benefit from solar energy, renewable energy companies can pinpoint interested parties instead of canvassing thousands of uninterested individuals.

Grid Monitoring

The country's power grids are growing every day, which means the networking tools used to run them are growing as well.

As the following article shows, in terms of how to unlock big data's big potential, grid monitoring is creating a more efficient environment for both renewable and traditional energy companies.

With grid monitoring, power companies can track energy spikes and energy flow data by grid and by region. This allows the renewable energy sector to inform traditional power companies on power usage rates and vice versa.

From power failures to smart meter monitoring, big data is creating a more efficient and unified energy sector.

Big Data Energy Improvements

The renewable energy sector is continuously improving the technology behind green energy.

From designing more efficient wind and solar equipment to improving energy delivery methods, big data is helping renewable energy companies optimize their energy practices.

Big data provides an analytical approach to everything from equipment efficiency to future energy output rates to possible equipment failures. Data-based information like this gives renewable energy companies a real opportunity to improve.

Data Centers and Renewable Energy

Big data and the renewable energy sector is a win-win partnership, especially when it comes to data centers.

As data centers continue to pop up all across the country, renewable energy companies are stepping in to power these energy hungry data plants. In other words, the renewable energy sector is powering the data they themselves create.

From grid monitoring to customer outreach, it's plain to see that the big data mindset is helping to power the renewable energy sector like never before.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including the environment and technology.

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Apr 23, 2021

Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Drax is advancing biomass following Pinnacle acquisition it reported in a trading update

Drax' recently completed acquisition of Pinnacle more than doubles its sustainable biomass production capacity and significantly reduces its cost of production, it reported in a trading update.

The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.

The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).

Drax CEO Will Gardiner said its Q1 performance had been "robust", supported by the sale of Drax Generation Enterprise, which holds four CCGT power stations, to VPI Generation.

This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.

In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.

The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.

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