The power industry is witnessing rapid changes thanks to technology. Networks are evolving, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has taken root, with autonomous systems contributing to the rise of decentralized generation.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been credited for saying, “Change is the only constant in life.” For those in the power generation business, it seems nothing could be truer—especially concerning how electricity is generated and delivered today.
From deregulation in the 1990s to today’s changing and evolving generation portfolios, our industry has had to adapt, and everyone knows more change is on the horizon.
The good news? As Isaac Newton is credited with saying, “If I have seen further it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants,” or in other words, learning from those that discovered earlier. While the electric utility industry is experiencing continued disruption, the good news is that there are giants from which we can learn.
Securing a Better View of the Market
Enter the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In March 2014 a group of forward-thinking companies got together to form the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). The charter was to “bring together the organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet by identifying, assembling and promoting best practices.” In short, the participants recognized the evolving landscape across industries and the need for unbiased guidelines and standards for the evolution of industrial/autonomous systems. Today, the IIC is a leading resource for all industries going through an “Industrial Internet” type evolution.
The power generation industry in recent years has witnessed a rapid acceleration of technology. Processors have continued to get faster, smaller, and cheaper. Networks are evolving and increasing in availability. Applications that need both of these have absolutely benefited. One thing is certain in these modern systems: things are happening fast.
Autonomous systems are showing up everywhere, from sharing the roads we drive on, to drones that inspect our infrastructure. However, there is a big difference between these fast, autonomous systems and the systems used in electric grid control—they do not work within seconds or minutes, they make decisions and take actions in fractions of seconds. They do not communicate large files of data to a server and then wait for instruction. They act. They optimize. They communicate with each other. Things happen fast.