October 4, 2023 / By Dan Gent

Cloud computing in the industry

The electricity industry has been cutting edge since it began at the end of the 19th century. Since then, technology has evolved and electricity has become a much-used commodity that is often taken for granted.

As a result, the electricity industry is thought to be slow-moving. However, developments in technology the past decade as well as expected future growth based on federal mandates and societal pressures have created rapid change.

Cloud computing technology enables utilities to pool resources with physical, virtual computers and storage, allowing for flexible systems to handle everything from outage management systems (OMS), to asset management systems (AMS), to enterprise resource planning (ERP). This agility allows utilities to adapt quickly to changing energy landscapes, extreme weather events, and customer demands enabling new digital services for customers. With this information, electricity providers can now possess a complete 360-degree view of the utility system to help them better manage their services and assets for the benefit of the customers.

Right now, Cloud-based energy management platforms are being piloted. These platforms enable utilities to leverage machine learning and data analytics through techniques such as cluster analysis. Predictive analytics can assist with demand load change and even predict outages from incoming storms. This enables users to gain valuable foresight which will lead to better decision-making with capital and maintenance planning, optimized energy distribution and improved customer service.

Quantum cloud computing is a cutting-edge solution that can provide benefits to battery optimization, load management, cybersecurity and more. By moving to the public cloud, utilities can take advantage of new services, solutions and technological advancements offered by cloud providers, cloud adoption can lay the groundwork for future innovation and technology advancement.

Even with all the benefits and possibilities for innovation, cloud services and solutions are still difficult to administer within a rate-regulated industry. Even with pilot programs, many cloud solutions are not being fully explored, and won’t be until regulators can provide utilities with the means to move these operational expenses to a capital expense.

Due to complex nature of the regulatory framework regulators must be a part of the solution and change their mind-set to one of rapid innovation. Enabling utilities to allow cloud expenses to be recouped through rates would accelerate cloud adoption across the industry and benefit everyone.