Integration, integration, integration: joining the dots to Net Zero
Each time we talk to customers, we’re reminded of the complexity that energy companies are managing every day – the number of markets, forecasts and assets are changing all the time, together with the increasing challenges of volatility in renewable energy generation and the demand fluctuations the world is now experiencing.
Undoubtedly a fantastic amount of effort and ingenuity has gone in to adapting the underpinning systems to meet the rapid market changes of the past few years (not to mention the last few months!).
However, as the energy system grows more complex and more decisions need to be made in real-time, there is also no doubt that integration is getting harder.
Where previously System A could update System B once a day, there is increasing value in the currency of data. While historically power traders might be responsible for a handful of thermal assets, volumes of small and distributed assets are growing, with many more on the horizon.
External requirements used to change slowly and predictably, but National Grid now signposts its aim to adjust products in an agile manner. The patchwork of systems, while each rigorously selected, will therefore no longer support the real-time operations, scalability and versatility required to win in 21st century energy markets.
While the integration challenge is considerable, there are promising signs that software vendors are alive to the wider context beyond their own applications.
Origami worked recently with Quorum to ensure data could flow seamlessly between our two systems, in order for a customer to participate in the Balancing Mechanism. In this instance the approach enabled the customer to retain a versatile dispatch capability from Origami, while benefiting from Quorum’s market-leading tools for access to the Balancing Mechanism.
While not without technical difficulty, the integration was successfully completed, and we have subsequently worked to extend the initial capability. The interfaces developed will also reduce the time and risk associated with integration for future customers.
Underpinning the technical integration was an open tripartite communication, based on trust and a shared belief that a collaborative approach is essential to progress towards Net Zero at the pace we need.
Quorum’s deep expertise with the Balancing Mechanism was entirely complementary to our real-time monitoring and dispatch capabilities. Our positive experience of working with Quorum is echoed in recent work with asset management platforms to incorporate real-time SCADA data into renewable generation forecasts.
As the world’s energy systems continue to transform at pace, I see growing opportunity and need for Origami to offer a flexible partner API, working with other technology vendors to ‘join the dots’ for customers and bring to bear the best capability from across the industry.
“We see integration as a growing issue for many of our customers. Working with Origami enabled us to simplify the problem for this customer and ensure that they can operate quickly and at scale within the Balancing Mechanism.” Paul Usher, Commercial Director at Quorum
This growing sense of openness and collaboration within energy tech is not a one-off but is echoed by other recent experience with asset management platforms, to incorporate real-time SCADA data into renewable generation forecasts. There, as with the Balancing Mechanism, we are finding mutual benefits to removing the siloes which impede real-time energy optimisation. Our own technology function comprises a scalable collection of autonomous teams that collaborate to build a platform of modular, interoperable components. We live and breathe an approach of openness and collaboration – and see this as extendable to a wider collaboration with other tech providers.
At times it feels like the energy tech landscape is a puzzle and that none of the pieces quite fit together, and it can often be enticing to try and simplify these complexities with a ‘blanket’ enterprise solution. However, it is the more agile, collaborative and interoperable technologies that will enable energy companies to adapt and meet the continuously changing demands of this complex, evolving energy world of volatility and transformation, for today and the future. Given a clear customer need, the evidence is that tech vendors can work together to achieve coherent and compelling results.
Find out more about our technology platform for real-time energy optimisation here.