Microsoft helps develop ‘smart’ electrical grid in Nordic regions

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Microsoft is partnering with Norwegian power utility Agder Energi and Powel AS to develop a smart electric grid in the Nordic region.

Microsoft will be contributing its Azure intelligent cloud, PowerBI and Azure IoT Hub, and with energy services specialist Powel AS will help Agder Energi to integrate distributed energy producing systems from rooftop solar panels, batteries, and smart homes.

The resources will be used for predictive forecasting , situational awareness and device control.

“At Agder Energi we want to use new technology to make the power grid more efficient, more predictable and more flexible,” said Agder Energi’s CEO Tom Nysted. “We will go from being energy generators to energy partners, with a more active role for our customers. Together with our partners at Microsoft and Powel, we will use innovation to solve the challenges facing the grid.”

“We are applying our strong domain expertise and acting as the integration and forecasting partner in this project to seamlessly integrate Agder’s SCADA to the Azure IoT Hub, provide demand forecasts, and production forecasts for wind and solar in the region,” said Powel’s CEO Bård Benum. “We are thrilled to be working closely together with Agder Energi and Microsoft to help enable radical innovation in the utility sector.”

The work will start with a pilot project  at an Agder Energi substation that is currently operating at 120 percent of its capacity a number of times throughout the year. The project will help utilities better predict demand and engage distributed resources such as solar panels, in order to ease the demand on the substation and save money that would otherwise be needed to upgrade it.

The project, if success, eventually wants to be able to perform automatic load balancing of renewable energy and peak load control in near real time.

“Renewable energy resources and advancements in intelligent cloud technology are driving a digital transformation of grid operations to explore new business models,” said Kevin Dallas, Microsoft corporate VP, IoT Business Development. “Enabling solutions like Agder’s will accelerate widespread renewable and distributed power generation. It’s a bright future for the utility industry and for a sustainable world.”

The work is expected to help reduce capital investment and ease the power burden during peak times.

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