09 Jan 2023
by Sophie Peachey, Peter Oram

How digital collaboration can unlock the energy microgrid revolution (Guest blog by IOTICS)

Guest blog by Sophie Peachey, Business Development Director, IOTICS and Peter Oram, Sales and Commercial Director, GE Power Conversion.

While the energy crisis has flagged the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources to support a roadmap to Net Zero and beyond, less  coverage has been given to new, enabling supply chain capabilities and technologies needed to manage this increasingly complex energy picture.   

Local microgrids enable cleaner energy devices to be deployed in a mix that suits operational location and power needs, helping to reduce emissions, improve energy surety to accommodate increased industrial electrification, and even reduce energy operating cost. 

The challenges of managing multiple energy sources in a microgrid, with different generation and availability characteristics, comprise more than the need to balance energy availability with power demand. They include the management of new supply chains and partners who have never needed to work together before, resulting in the creation of new communities with digital collaboration as the enabling thread.  

Let’s take the opportunity at a multi-modal transport hub like a port, for example. Conventionally there have been fossil fuel requirements for logistics and handling equipment, passenger vehicles and vessel bunkering, and relatively low electricity demands for operations, typically supplied from a grid network connection.  

So, what happens when the energy mix and power demands start to change? Customer and contractor vehicles and vessels may require green hydrogen (H2) and H2-derived fuels, battery charging or shore power electrical connections, pushing power demands up beyond capacity from the grid.  Renewables like solar or even wind may be available.  Energy storage may be required to help smooth peak demand, and to capture excess energy when it’s available, and used to produce clean energy like H2 at off-peak times.  With intense port and logistics operations, energy-sharing and power availability needs to be as seamless but uncomplicated as possible for operators whose specialism is logistics, not energy. 

A critical enabler to this evolving management of energy at a community or hub level is digital cooperation. Sharing data for more holistic situational awareness of power demand and energy availability cycles, simplifying operator choices with data-driven dashboards, and helping to connect, automate, control and optimize energy management and power networks.  Data connections enable remote support and analytics. 

IOTICS are engaging with microgrid and energy management specialists like GE’s Power Conversion business, bringing together digital platforms with GE’s digital applications for asset performance and energy management, and their domain expertise. 

Decarbonization, decentralization, electrification and digitalization are changing the way energy supply is managed and microgrids will play an increasing role in the new energy landscape. A fully optimized power grid can ensure power reliability from existing onsite generation assets, helping to lower energy costs and reduce the carbon footprint. We need IT and OT (operating technology) to come together for this to happen

Peter Oram, Sales and Commercial Director

GE Power Conversion

The overarching capability is a microgrid energy management system that feeds off the data shared across this community and can react to changing production levels and create load balance, can predict demand using operational context. Establishing control at a micro level protects the community while also feeding critical information into macro-level energy management. 

Energy and digital specialists recognize the need to support customers through the transition, helping to implement change in a manageable way, comply with regulation and reduce emissions;  microgrid energy management systems can help to deliver new and innovative process efficiencies by enabling communities to cooperate digitally and coordinate operations through collaboration and data-sharing.  


About GE Power Conversion 

GE Power Conversion, part of GE Vernova’s portfolio of energy businesses, applies the science and systems of power conversion to help drive the electric transformation of the world’s energy infrastructure. Designing and delivering advanced motor, drive and control technologies that evolve today’s industrial processes for a cleaner, more productive future, it serves specialized sectors such as energy, marine, industry, and all related services. www.gepowerconversion.com 

About GE 

GE (NYSE:GE) drives the world forward by tackling its biggest challenges. By combining world-class engineering with software and analytics, GE helps the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today it leads new paradigms in additive manufacturing, materials science, and data analytics. GE people are global, diverse, and dedicated, operating with the highest integrity and passion to fulfil GE’s mission and deliver for our customers. www.ge.com 

For more information, contact: GE Power Conversion-  media contact form link 

About IOTICS

IOTICS enables digital cooperation between enterprises. IOTICS' patented capability leverages semantics, streaming data and digital twins, to enable evolving trust between organisations and decentralised sharing of asset information and inputs across ecosystems in real time.

Founded in 2014, IOTICS has developed and deployed IOTICSpace, where anyone can cooperate with everyone to solve the world’s most complex problems.

For more information, please visit: www.iotics.com or contact: Jane Edwards, IOTICS, +44 20 8012 8186 / [email protected]

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Authors

Sophie Peachey

Sophie Peachey

Business Development Director, IOTICS

Sophie Peachey | LinkedIn

 Peter Oram

Peter Oram

Sales and Commercial Director, GE Power Conversion

Peter Oram | LinkedIn