Combining A.I. and human knowledge could transform how power grids work

Key Points
  • As the world transitions to alternative sources of power, a number of challenges present themselves.
  • Digital twinning technology could have a big role to play in the years ahead. 
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A.I. and human knowledge could change how power grids work

From smart meters to app-controlled thermostats, technology is rapidly changing the electricity sector.

One company, headquartered in the city of Lyon, France, wants to use tech to make changes in power production and distribution on a larger scale. Cosmo Tech is a software firm that utilizes something called augmented intelligence — a pairing of human knowledge and expertise with artificial intelligence.

"Augmented intelligence is at the core of our technology," Hugues de Bantel, the CEO of the firm, told CNBC's "Sustainable Energy". "In order to anticipate in a complex and uncertain world, you can't rely on past data or data science only, you need to combine this with the collective expertise within the company," he said.

"It's by combining data science and collective expertise that you can build enterprise digital twins of the problems you are addressing and then simulate to see the evolution of these systems over time and anticipate what might happen," de Bantel added.

As the world transitions to alternative sources of power, a number of challenges will present themselves.

While sources such as solar and wind are renewable, they do not promise a constant and predictable stream of power. This means that smart grids which can deliver energy as and when needed will become increasingly important in the years ahead.

De Bantel explained that all systems operators were faced with the same three main challenges: aging infrastructure; the emergence of renewable energy on the grid, which he said was putting pressure on operators; and the need for action now in order to account for short, medium and long-term needs.

It's within this context that the idea of digital twinning technology is becoming increasingly talked about. It allows businesses to simulate strategic and operational decisions to understand the impact they would have when implemented in reality.

"If you are a grid operator willing to consider grid developments you will represent, in your digital twin, your infrastructures, so your … assets, your line, the towers," Djavid Pichori, who is Cosmo Tech's head of sales for energy and utilities, said.

"But you also need to represent how your business operates and the impact of your operation on your assets," he added. "That's where it's getting sophisticated, it's getting complex, and that's what we can do with our digital twin technology which combines, at the same time, data and human expertise."