Effective use of operational data helps to reduce costs, optimise production and streamline processes.
Head of Data in Create Norway.
Energy companies possess vast quantities of data stored locally at hydropower plants, wind farms or district-heating facilities. But sharing this data with the rest of the organisation is not always easy. Akershus Energi is changing that.
Together with Tietoevry Create, the company is now ensuring that large volumes of data can be retrieved safely and securely. The data can then be used to schedule maintenance, optimise output, and streamline both work processes and decision making.
Siri Revelsby, EVP Business Development, Solar Power and Digitalisation at Akershus Energi, says a successful digitalisation process is crucial for the company in meeting future energy needs. These include increased output from renewable sources and more effective utilisation of the overall power system.
“Akershus Energi’s digitalisation programme was established in the autumn of 2021 as part of the Group’s overall strategy,” she explains. “Our aim is to increase the rate of digitalisation within various areas, including hydro and wind power, district heating and business architecture. Solar power is in the future scope too.”
“Through a concerted focus on digitalisation, our objective is to reduce maintenance costs, optimise output and increase the value we extract from our renewable-energy production,” she says.
Tietoevry Create is the energy company’s partner in this digitalisation process. Consultant engineers performed an overall analysis, designed a new solutions architecture, and have made real-time data from hydropower and wind-power generation facilities available and usable. They’ve also created a data catalogue and are performing exploratory analyses of hydro- and wind-power data.
Anders Langås is Head of Data at Tietoevry Create Norway. He’s worked closely with Akershus Energi throughout the process. In his view the energy company is both forward-looking and innovative.
“As a company within the power-utilities sector, Akershus Energi is uniquely placed to engage in the energy transition,” he says. “With this project they are taking their first steps towards the construction of a solution that could pave the way for a renewable society and help to achieve the climate goals that have been set.”
“Data has the potential to considerably improve the operation and optimisation of the power system going forward. With their digitalisation programme and this start we’ve made together, Akershus Energi has put itself in the driving seat to help the industry advance,” says Langås.
Assimilating and using the data from multiple production facilities brings major benefits. It can help to optimise the company’s operations, maintenance and output, as well as extend the lifespan of equipment. For example, data can be used to better monitor the condition of critical components at the power plants. Maintenance intervals can then be planned based on data from specific individual components.
Revelsby says this is just the beginning of using machine-learning techniques and data-driven decision making.
“This data will also enable us to play an important role in a power system that is constantly changing,” she says. “There is a growing need for flexibility and for smart solutions to balance production, consumption and grid capacity. For example, the availability of high-quality data for a wind farm could help to provide more reliable forecasts for the following day’s production, thereby reducing the level of uncertainty.”
“We must ensure that we have a robust architecture in place and a well-structured data collection system. If we don’t have quality data, we cannot rely on it – in which case, it is useless. The process we are currently engaged in is expected to provide substantial benefits in the longer term,” says Revelsby.
Akershus Energi is extremely pleased with its experience of working with Tietoevry Create.
“Digital expertise is a core competence for us at Akershus Energi,” says Revelsby. “When we embarked on this project, we also recruited personnel with the skills to own and successfully manage the projects we have initiated. But we cannot do this by ourselves. We are dependent on good technology partners, and Tietoevry Create has supplied the competence needed for us to succeed.”
“In my opinion, having Tietoevry Create’s people working physically alongside our own staff is a criterion for success,” says Revelsby. “It’s particularly important as we are working on something so new that constantly requires us to adjust our course in response to lessons learnt.”
Tietoevry Create’s Anders Langås also appreciates the close cooperation, which is setting Akerhus Energi up with the right skills and capabilities.
“We’re essentially sharing our competence with them” he says. “It’s important that they own the deliverable and can reap the rewards once our involvement has come to an end.”
Akershus Energi has been producing renewable energy for over a century. Today, it is a modern, publicly-owned business group focusing on hydropower, wind power, district heating, solar power and hydrogen.
One of the company’s most important tasks is to help the Nordic region meet its climate goals by developing smart-energy solutions and increasing the production of renewable energy.