GE launched Monday an expanded suite of Predix-based software applications that harness the power of the Industrial IoT to drive new profit opportunities for power producers and utilities. The new ‘Digital Utility’ solutions connect energy traders with valuable, real-time plant productivity and capacity data to enable more profitable, analytics-informed trading.
Additional new offerings include the Baseline Security Center to increase operational security for power producers, and services designed to help utilities plan for a digital transformation.
GE’s Digital Utility software suite serves these needs, connecting data from electricity generation, distribution and transmission assets to enable more informed financial decision making. The software suite leverages more than 100,000 GE Digital Twins across energy to deliver insights about efficiency, capacity, emissions, flexibility, and availability that traders can use to bid with confidence in long-term, day-ahead, and short-term markets.
With the ‘Digital Utility,’ GE is announcing updates and new capabilities across the entire Predix-based suite of applications for energy, including Business Optimization for more profitable trading. GE’s new Business Optimization application enables real-time communication between trading and operations to conduct the entire bid to bill process.
The Business Optimization application alerts a generation business of profitable trading opportunities – often highly profitable short-term opportunities – and informs what the utility can bid into market. The application allows utilities to engage in new profit pools, such as the market for ancillary services to help manage grid stability, and new market opportunities, such as cross-border trading. Deployed as a full stack, the Asset Performance Management, Operations Optimization, and Business Optimization applications connect machine and operations data with a utility’s bottom line.
GE’s Operations Optimization offers real-time visibility into plant and fleet-wide performance. Enabled by edge-to-cloud technology that allows for fast analytics, Operations Optimization helps power generation and utilities businesses improve flexibility, efficiency, capacity, availability, and emissions. Updates announced today will help utilities understand where to invest time and resources to improve these measures. New capabilities include the ability to measure delivery against performance targets, recommendations on how to better meet targets, and closed feedback technology that will help utilities make changes and improve performance.
GE also introduced a single dashboard view of asset health across the entire EVN, including renewables, traditional power and grid. Drawing on GE’s Digital Twin technology and an analytics catalogue based on more than 125 million hours of machine operating data, APM covers 70 percent of all NERC failure modes for combined-cycle plants.
As part of the APM dashboard, work orders will connect with field service technicians to dispatch and provide information for operations and maintenance. Workers can submit completed Operations & Maintenance (O&M) information back into the system, closing a full loop from problem identification to resolution. This field service data makes the APM application more intelligent with each work order and enables better analytics with each alert.
Over 60 percent of power leaders believe their security strategy is not aligned with today’s risk environment. Many utilities struggle to maintain current versions of software or to run the latest security “patches” from vendors. GE’s new Baseline Security Center offers a set of tools, configurations, and services focused on reducing cybersecurity risk across the EVN. Based on recommendations from the Center for Internet Security, GE’s Baseline Security Center offers services including patch management, anti-malware, identity management, network and host hardening, and intrusion detection.
GE also introduced three new types of services to help power producers and utilities develop digital strategies. New Digital Transformation Services include digital visioning workshops, a digital effectiveness assessment, business value engineering, and digital transformation mapping. New Digital Plant Services provide digital subject matter experts to help customers implement recommendations drawn from the digital transformation process. New Tiered Support Services provide customers different levels of support tied to their ongoing use of GE’s business optimization, operations optimization, and asset performance management software applications.
“Today we are expanding GE’s software beyond the machine to the business, putting greater profitability in reach for our customers,” said Ganesh Bell, Chief Digital Officer, GE Power. “The ‘Digital Utility’ suite will break down barriers between commercial and operational teams and ensure that decisions are made with full insight into real-time information.”
GE’s ‘Digital Utility’ solutions are designed to help electricity businesses navigate rapidly changing markets. Low demand growth, falling wholesale power prices, excess capacity from the growth of renewable energy sources, and long-term investments in thermal generation are greatly impacting power and utility businesses’ profitability.
Last year, 86 percent of new energy capacity added in the European Union came from renewable sources. The preference for, and intermittency of, those resources is dramatically changing the role of traditional fuels, and led European utilities to spend more than €1 billion on grid balancing services. The trend is likely to repeat itself globally with 138.5 GW of renewable power capacity added worldwide in 2016.
For energy businesses across the Electricity Value Network (EVN), remaining profitable means responding quickly to short-term trading opportunities, maximizing capacity for peak demand periods, and planning to address long-term supply and demand trends. That requires traditional fuel types to respond flexibly to demand and supply fluctuations.