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Michael Wilkinson

Global Segment Leader

Energy Digitalisation

DNV GL – Energy

2 Ratings

DIGITALISATION Digitalisation is changing what we do and how we do it

May 2, 2019

…says Michael Wilkinson, Global Segment Leader, Energy Digitalisation, DNV GL – Energy, in this interaction with Juili Eklahare. He shares his thoughts on how digitalisation plays an important role in the transition to a global low carbon economy and throws some light on its merge with StormGeo. Excerpts…

What are the technological innovations that will help reduce CO2 emissions and costs in the energy sector?

Every year, DNV GL releases its Energy Transition Outlook (ETO), an annual global and regional forecast of the energy transition till 2050. Through the ETO, we forecast a very substantial increase in renewable generation (primarily in the form of photovoltaics and wind energy), a shift towards electrification and a drive towards energy efficiency. Grid-connected energy storage will also play a key role. This will be enabled by digitalisation and while it will come with a necessary upfront investment cost, the long-term benefits in terms of reduced operational costs and CO2 reductions are obvious.

How has the role of risk managers in large companies changed in the last few years?

In a digital world where there can often be a fine line between fact and fiction, the concept of ‘truth’ and risk management become even more important. In DNV GL, digitalisation is changing what we do and how we do it. For example, we are using digital workflow management to automate what were previously offline services. We are also assessing the reliability of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms used in industrial applications. These are just a few examples, but our business is transforming as the world changes.

StormGeo and DNV GL have announced that they have signed an agreement to consolidate their fleet performance solutions under one banner. How is this merger going to be beneficial in the short-term and long-term?

In the short term, we will continue to offer the services as they exist, so there will not be major changes. The existing services will be maintained within StormGeo, with all solutions brought together in the back-end, utilising an improved data infrastructure. Over the long-term, however, combining ECO Insight and Navigator Insight, with StormGeo’s own offerings, will give our customers new services. Customers will also benefit from having access to the largest vessel performance data set and developer team in shipping, with industry-leading analytics. This means that our efforts can be focused even more sharply on developing our role as a trusted third party in the digital space.

You predict that 80% of global electricity will be generated from renewable energy sources. To what extent and how does digitisation play a role to make this predictability come true?

We strongly believe that digitalisation has an important role to play in the transition to a global low carbon economy, which will include innovations like, digital platforms that allow electricity system operators to dynamically purchase generation to match demand, rather than upgrade their physical infrastructure. It will be using AI to improve the forecasting and predictability of renewable energy sources and allow a greater proportion of wind and solar generation. It will be communications networks that allow dynamic price signals to trigger charging and discharging of electric vehicles. Moreover, other digital technologies, such as, blockchain, will be used to allow peer-to-peer energy trading, which is a radical shift compared to how the electricity system currently operates. All of these developments are happening right now in trials and pilots around the world.

What does DNV GL have planned for itself next?

We recently formed our new Digital Solutions business area, comprising of 1000 technology experts. We are also creating digital services that enable customers to improve operational assets, such as, WindGemini — our wind farm digital twin, and Smart Cable Guard — our digital distribution network cable monitoring system. Besides, we are investing in Veracity, which is our industrial data platform that helps connect datasets together and allows customers to get value from their data. Furthermore, we are deploying AI and machine learning experts to work in tandem with our domain experts and solve some of our customers’ most challenging problems.

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