– The global transition to renewable energy will need artificial intelligence (AI) technology to manage decentralized grids.
– AI can balance electricity supply and demand needs in real-time, optimize energy use and storage to reduce rates.
– Technology governance will be needed to democratize access, encourage innovation and ensure resilient electricity sources.
One month after historic and deadly winter storms left millions of Texans without power, many energy experts, politicians and pundits have called for massive spending on grid-related infrastructure upgrades. Improvements to infrastructure in the US and elsewhere are long overdue, but it’s time to explore better options to ensure reliable, low-carbon electricity.
Calls for government spending on grid infrastructure to update long transmission lines from a centralized power generation source attempt to solve today’s problems using technology from the past. There is a better, more forward-looking alternative already in existence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) that leverages decentralized renewable generation sources.
With the help of AI software, decentralized energy sources can send any excess electricity they produce to the grid, while utilities direct that power to where it’s needed. Similarly, energy storage in industrial facilities, office buildings, homes, and cars can hold excess energy when demand is low, while AI deploys that power when generation is inadequate or impossible.
That’s a lot of moving parts requiring coordination, forecasting and optimization to keep the grid in balance. If you think of DERs as individual musicians, a utility is a conductor keeping the orchestra in sync as AI composes the symphony in real-time.
This makes an AI-centered system a potential game-changer. Shifting from an infrastructure heavy system to one centered on AI enables forecasting and control in seconds – not days – resulting in a grid that is more resilient and flexible when unforeseen events occur.