Utilidata, an industry leading grid edge software company, announced that it is launching an advisory board with NVIDIA to guide the development and deployment of grid edge software solutions, including its recently announced smart grid chip. The advisory board will bring together executives from utility companies and leaders in clean energy and electric transportation. Founding members include American Electric Power (AEP), Duquesne Light Company, Holy Cross Energy, PPL, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, and Sunrun, and conversations are underway with other interested organizations.
“The electric grid is the backbone of our economy and we are placing increasing demands upon it as we work to electrify everything and combat climate change,” said Josh Brumberger, Utilidata CEO. “The grid needs and deserves the world’s best technologies, and the adoption of business models and regulatory processes that accelerate the pace of change. Members of this advisory group are already tackling these challenges in different ways, and we look forward to working together to explore how our technologies can cost-effectively decarbonize the grid, deliver exponential value, and give customers more choice.”
The smart grid chip that Utilidata is developing with NVIDIA combines Utilidata’s patented and proven machine learning software for grid operations with the NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite. The chip will leverage real-time data from smart meters and other distribution grid devices to detect anomalies that are precursors to system failures and outages, optimize grid operations, and integrate exponentially more distributed energy resources (DERs) onto the utility system. It will also serve as a platform for other technology companies to deploy their own grid edge applications.
“Edge computing and AI will accelerate the ability for the traditional electric grid to handle distributed and modern renewable energy resources, such as electric cars, solar panels, and battery storage,” said Manuvir Das, Vice President of Enterprise Computing at NVIDIA. “We’re working to create an AI-powered platform that utilities, solar providers, and electric vehicle companies can use to make the energy grid more resilient, reliable, and secure.”
Members will continue to be added to the advisory board and the group will meet throughout the year to explore how best to leverage data and advanced grid edge processing across a variety of use cases, including DER integration, climate resiliency, and open data. Participating utilities have committed to pilot the smart grid chip and incorporate the technology into advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and grid edge hardware business cases if it proves value-creating.
Founding advisory board members offered the following comments:
Lisa Barton, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at AEP: “For the past decade, AEP has leveraged Utilidata’s real-time software to deliver value to our customers. In that time, they’ve proven to be an innovative partner that understands the grid. We look forward to working with members of the advisory board to advance technology and usher in the next era of energy innovation.”
Kevin Walker, President & CEO of Duquesne Light Company: “To deliver a clean energy future for all, we need to ensure that our system meets current electrical demand while preparing for future demand that will come from increased electrification. We’re already working with Utilidata on data-driven grid visualization to enhance our grid planning efforts, and we look forward to collaborating with members of the advisory board to explore additional data-driven edge solutions for a modern grid.”
Bryan Hannegan, CEO of Holy Cross Energy: “The one device that every utility relies on is the meter, but the current functionality is limited. By bringing advanced computing to the meter, Utilidata and NVIDIA are unlocking the ability for utilities to better manage and control distributed energy resources like solar PV systems and electric vehicle chargers for the benefit of the grid as well as for the benefit of the consumer. This will allow us to improve and expand the ways we provide affordable, clean and resilient energy services to the people and communities we serve.”
Matthew Green, Chief Information & Digital Officer at PPL: “The grid edge is the most valuable real estate on the system, as it’s where our infrastructure meets customers’ investments in everything from EVs to smart homes. We need innovators like Utilidata and NVIDIA who are going to bring new capabilities to the edge so that we can deliver even greater value from investments like smart meters.”
Girish Balachandran, CEO of Silicon Valley Clean Energy: “Technology that promotes open access to meter-level data is essential to leverage the clean electric grid transition with rapid decarbonization of the transportation and building sectors. Customers and innovators require open access to meter data to ensure innovation plays a major role in decarbonization.”
Mary Powell, CEO of Sunrun: “Now is the time for all players in the energy world to embrace radical collaboration. It is the fastest, most effective way to address climate change and to build a more resilient and cost-effective grid of the future. We need to leverage innovation, distributed energy technologies and scale as fast as humanly possible. This advisory board is a key component for how we can drive the kind of collaboration and scaling of solutions needed. Sunrun is proud to have Chris Rauscher serving for us in this capacity.”
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