Apr 29, 2021

Fundamentals boosts AI and ML profile with Powerline buy

grid
electricity
AI
Acquisitions
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Fundamentals has bought Powerline Technologies to strengthen its big data and ML offering to network operators and meet future electrification demands

Fundamentals has bought Powerline Technologies for an undisclosed fee, strengthening its big data and ML offering to network operators and meet future electrification demands.

Powerline's product range covers smart maintenance and accurate detection, classification and location of faults and power quality events on LV and MV underground distribution networks, helping DNOs reduce maintenance costs, customer minutes lost and increasing network operational efficiency, according to its website.

As network operators experience significant costs and customer outages due to faults on underground cables, they are looking for ways to run more reliable networks at lower cost.

Fundamentals' AI-powered asset management software locates faults before they happen, analysing voltage waveforms and identifying energy fault signatures on unusual underground cable events.

The company recently worked with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and UK Power Networks to spot network faults before failure using preventative maintenance.

This proof-of-concept ‘SYNAPS’ project was backed by Ofgem’s innovation funding and is one of few Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) projects to be taken through to a Phase 2 project. 

The project successfully enabled engineers to use a library of big data drawn from networks, in conjunction with AI, ML and deep learning, to predict and locate faults on network infrastructure before they cause device or fuse failures. Data collected in the ‘SYNAPS’ project including current, voltage and fault waveforms has been shared with all DNOs.

Jon Hiscock, Managing Director of Fundamentals, said as part of its five-year plan, it is committed to investing in unique AI problem-solving software and techniques to solve the most complex electricity grid challenges in the transition to green energy.

"Our heritage and industry expertise coupled with Powerline’s technology enables Network Operators to advance their strategic imperatives, ultimately lower costs and secure the energy we all rely on every day," he said. 

Powerline Technologies’ Brian Lasslett and David Brain will lead an innovation sub-team and act as Head of IP and Head of Research respectively.

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May 5, 2021

AES Corp seals 10-year carbon-free energy deal with Google

AESCorp
Google
datacenters
Dominic Ellis
3 min
AES Corporation will ensure energy powering Google's Virginia data centers will be '90% carbon free'

The AES Corporation has struck a 10-year supply contract with Google to provide near-carbon-free energy to power its Virginia-based data centers which will start later this year.

Claiming the first clean energy procurement deal in the world of its kind, AES will help ensure that the energy powering those data centers will be 90% carbon-free when measured on an hourly basis.

AES will become the sole supplier of the data centers' carbon-free energy needs on an annual basis, sourcing energy from a portfolio of wind, solar, hydro and battery storage resources to be developed or contracted by AES.

The agreement marks an important step in meeting Google's previously announced goal to run its business on 100% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis by 2030.

"Last year, Google set an ambitious sustainability goal of committing to 100% 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Today, we are proud that through our collaboration with Google, we are making 24/7 carbon-free energy a reality for their data centers in Virginia," said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. "This first-of-its-kind solution, which we co-created with Google, will set a new sustainability standard for companies and organizations seeking to eliminate carbon from their energy supply."

"Not only is this partnership with AES an important step towards achieving Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy goal, it also lays a blueprint for other companies looking to decarbonize their own operations," says Michael Terrell, Director of Energy at Google. "Our hope is that this model can be replicated to accelerate the clean energy transition, both for companies and, eventually, for power grids." 

AES assembled the 500MW portfolio from a combination of AES' own renewable energy projects and those of third-party developers, which were selected, sized and contracted to meet Google's energy needs across a number of considerations, including cost efficiency, additionality and carbon-free energy profile.

The portfolio assembled by AES is expected to require approximately $600 million of investment and generate 1,200 jobs, both permanent and construction, in the host communities. These efforts will greatly simplify Google's energy procurement and management at a competitive price while decarbonizing Google's load and the broader PJM grid.

This supply agreement follows on the strategic alliance AES and Google formed in November 2019 to leverage Google Cloud technology to accelerate innovation in energy distribution and management and advance the adoption of clean energy. AES is pioneering greener, smarter energy innovations, with the goal of expanding the services available to large-scale corporate customers.

The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate commits €10M to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations may receive up to €2M in funding and possible customised post-grant support from the Google for Startups Accelerator to help bring their ideas to life.

Last year it issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds to fund ongoing and new environmentally or socially responsible projects. To read its 2020 Environment report, click here.

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