Enel Green Power (EGP) produces 100% of its energy from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. With nearly an 8,000MW capacity from facilities in 16 countries, including the United States, EGP was the final stop for students participating in the Global Enterprise Technology (GET) EuroTech program. EGP was exceedingly gracious, offering presentations by five different information and communication technology (ICT) managers.
Stefano Manganello, with Enel since 1999, provided students with an orientation to EGP’s information systems layout as well as future plans for consolidation and integration. Because of its global nature and its sole usage of renewable sources, EGP faces a unique blend of enterprise challenges. Renewable energy production naturally ebbs and flows, complicating weekly and monthly production and forecasting. Add to this the different delivery methods, energy production legislation, cultures, and languages of each of the sixteen countries, and you can imagine the challenges the ICT team faces in trying to integrate and standardize data management. Each of EGP’s 680+ plants provides streams of data from supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) sensors, which is used operationally by the plant’s control room but also must integrate with similar data streams from other plants in the same region or country. This data ultimately wends its way into more advanced managerial applications for analysis.
As demand for renewable energy and a smarter energy grid increases, this field promises to be a hotbed of software and analytics activity. EGP’s parent company, Enel, has already recognized this potential, transitioning over 32 million of its Italian energy customers to smart meters.
Smart grids don’t just mean smart meters, though; they mean smarter, more efficient energy production and distribution. To conclude the presentation, EGP employees demonstrated their new usage of BaxEnergy GmbH software for real-time energy plant monitoring. Historically, solar and wind production has suffered the most setbacks due to a lack of performance analysis and unavailability diagnosis, and software like BaxEnergy GmbH is designed to address these needs.
Fans and students of “big data” take note: with a near-constant stream of data from SCADA sensors, renewable energy providers are excellent candidates for business intelligence (BI) analytics and predictive modeling. The BaxEnergy GmbH software, for example, combines weather forecasts with plant behaviors to provide power production forecast tools. Companies like EGP that intertie with the conventional grid can notify regional or country grid managers of these predictions so that conventional energy production can be increased or decreased to maximize the amount of renewable energy the grid absorbs. This kind of company-grid cooperation means that the general grid will gradually become more renewable, and we all will power our homes with an increasing percentage of green power.
Kate Mueller is a data geek. A second-year graduate student pursuing her M.S. in Information Management with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science, she received her B.A. and M.A. in English/Writingfrom Northern Michigan University and has worked as an adjunct instructor, freelance editor/writer, and database/systems administrator. Her research interests include business intelligence analytics and “big data,” information architecture, the user experience, disaster management information systems, and knowledge management systems. Contact her at email@example.com.