Return to Blog

Cloud Technologies Critical to Energy Utilities and Organizations

Written by:

Team Energy Exemplar

This blog is the first part in a series on cloud solutions and cloud security concerns - subscribe to our newsletter to be sure not to miss the rest of the series!

As the energy transition steams ahead, there is now more technology, more data, and more complexity than ever before.  Along with the difficulty of navigating these changes, utilities and energy organizations are also challenged by an aging grid and legacy systems which are quickly becoming antiquated and inadequate.   

As the energy landscape evolves, it’s become clear that technological advancements will play a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency, sustainability, and overall operational excellence moving into the future.  One such transformative force that has been gaining momentum is cloud technology.  

In this blog, we dive into the specific challenges faced by energy and utility organizations, and why these challenges are driving energy organizations to cloud technology.   

More Data, Aging Systems

New technologies, including solar, wind, storage, and behind-the-meter technologies, like rooftop solar, smart thermostats, and demand response programs, are creating huge quantities of data which utilities and energy organizations must collect and store.  This new data also needs to be integrated into planning processes, meaning it must be incorporated into modeling and analyses. 

At the same time, organizations have legacy, on-premise computing resources which are reaching their limitations.  Traditionally, utilities’ data has been stored in disconnected, on-premise systems and databases.  As these systems have aged, often, rather than been replaced, they have had features added on top of them over time.  Ultimately, this makes for systems which are disconnected, complex, costly, and difficult to maintain.  These legacy systems are quickly becoming antiquated and are simply not fit for purpose.  In the current energy landscape, utilities and energy organizations will need to bring all their data together, to gain a holistic view and generate insights through advanced analytics. Existing systems are not up to this task, and on-premise computing resources cannot keep up with emerging demands.    

Cloud Solutions Required

Faced with these challenges, cloud solutions have emerged as the solution.  Cloud solutions offer many capabilities which will be required for utilities and energy organizations to successfully navigate the future.  These include:

  • Scalability & Flexibility - Energy utilities operate in dynamic environments where demand fluctuates, and infrastructure requirements vary. Cloud technology provides a scalable and flexible solution, allowing utilities to adjust their computing resources based on demand. This adaptability ensures that energy providers can efficiently manage their operations during peak times and scale down during periods of reduced demand. The cloud's elasticity enables utilities to stay agile in an ever-changing energy landscape. 
  • Data Management and Analytics - The energy industry generates vast amounts of data from smart grids, sensors, and other sources. Cloud technology facilitates efficient data storage, management, and analysis. With the ability to handle massive datasets, utilities can derive valuable insights to enhance grid reliability, optimize energy distribution, and improve overall performance. Advanced analytics on the cloud enable utilities to make data-driven decisions, predict maintenance needs, and identify opportunities for operational improvements. 
  • Collaboration and Remote Operations - Cloud technology facilitates seamless collaboration among geographically dispersed teams. Energy utilities can benefit from remote monitoring, maintenance, and control of infrastructure. This is particularly crucial during emergencies or unforeseen events, as remote access to critical systems allows utilities to respond swiftly and efficiently. Cloud-based collaboration tools also enable real-time communication, enhancing teamwork and decision-making. 
  • Cost Efficiency - Traditional on-premises IT infrastructure often involves significant upfront investments and ongoing maintenance costs. Cloud services operate on a pay-as-you-go model, eliminating the need for large capital expenditures. Energy utilities can optimize costs by only paying for the resources they consume. Additionally, cloud technology minimizes the need for extensive physical infrastructure, reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. 
  • Enhanced Cybersecurity - Energy utilities are critical infrastructure entities, making them prime targets for cyber threats. Cloud service providers invest heavily in cybersecurity measures.  

Cloud Solutions Critical for Energy Organizations to Keep Pace

As data and computing requirements grow, energy utilities and organizations are increasingly recognizing the need to harness the power of the cloud to address challenges, optimize operations, and prepare for the demands of the future. In the face of the multitude of challenges facing utilities and energy organizations, cloud solutions are quickly becoming critical for organizations who want to keep pace, and need to collect, store, and analyze huge quantities of data. 

As mentioned above, energy utilities and organizations must be particularly mindful of cybersecurity.  In our coming blogs, we will discuss why cyber and cloud security are especially crucial to energy organizations, the best cloud security practices, and the ins and outs of PLEXOS Cloud security.  To ensure you do not miss the coming blogs, subscribe to our newsletter. Looking to learn more about Cloud ‘s role in the Energy Industry? Check out our recent blog Experts – Cloud Provides Cost, Security & Reliability Benefits to the Grid 

Want More Insights?

Subscribe to our newsletter and access resources to help you navigate the energy transition

Team Energy Exemplar

We love it when our blogs come from specific people but often it's a team effort. These blogs are written by the numerous outstanding people at Energy Exemplar.