Artificial intelligence (AI) technology manage decentralized networks during the global transition to renewable energy.

FREMONT, CA: Decentralized, renewable sources will generate more energy as people advance toward a more electronic world, like microgrids, wind farms, private solar panels, and batteries.

As beneficial as they are from a sustainability standpoint, they will complicate electricity infrastructure worldwide. The increasing adoption of electric vehicles, the electrification of heating systems, and the widespread availability of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as wind turbines and solar panels over the next few years will need a delicate balancing act to respond to supply demand without disintegrating the grid.

Companies, governments, and individual consumers progressively use solar panels to generate their energy, which they then store in batteries and electric vehicles or send back to the grid. According to predictions, about 36 million assets, like solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy storage are expected to be added to the grid. Electric grids can be disrupted by multiple individual devices uploading and downloading electricity.

The dependence on a single utility to generate and transport electricity is dwindling, and utilities will have to change their business models. Eventually, they won't be the only source of energy, and they'll be required to keep the grid balanced, transferring electrons from various sources and storage devices to supply power where it's necessary every second.

AI will balance millions of assets on the grid

Decentralized energy sources may transfer all the excess electricity they create to the grid with the help of AI software, and utilities can channel that power to where it's needed. Similarly, when demand is low, energy storage in industrial facilities, office buildings, residences, and cars can store excess energy, which AI can then use while generating is insufficient or impossible.

To maintain the grid balance, several moving pieces require cooperation, forecasting, and optimization. If companies consider DERs as individual performers, a utility can be defined as a conductor who keeps the orchestra in tune as AI assembles the symphony in real-time.

As a result, an AI-based system can transform the game. Shifting from an infrastructure-heavy system to one based on AI allows for predicting and control in seconds rather than days, leading to a more durable and agile grid in the face of unforeseen catastrophes.

All of this means that utilities, policymakers, and regulatory agencies must begin to consider what part they want to perform in developing decentralized energy resources. Coordination and management will be crucial for the patchwork of distributed energy producers. Utilities can lead in this area, as they confront a decreasing pool of customers buying electricity as more residencies and businesses become energy producers themselves because of the rooftop solar panels and other technologies.