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WSPs April Chen uses data to build future-ready energy network

WSP's April Chen uses data to build future-ready energy network

 July 04, 2022

In a world that is rapidly changing the way we produce and consume energy, WSP Principal Consultant, April Chen, is harnessing the power of data to help build an efficient and future-ready energy network.

Here, she explains why a data-driven approach is helping to navigate the energy sector to net zero.

Harnessing the power of data

"The way we respond to supply and demand is changing. When fossil-fuelled coal plants need more energy, they just add more coal. But when suppliers use green energy resources like solar and wind power, they can’t control when the energy comes in or how much they need. The demand for electricity is also changing as consumers switch to the low carbon technologies required in response to the net-zero drive. As Principal Consultant in Energy Advisory, I help energy companies to harness the data they have, to gain an understanding of the energy they need, so they can build a network the world wants," says April.

Scenario modelling to quantify risk

"We help companies to understand their data with analytics and scenario modelling. During this process, we weigh up potential outcomes of changes in the network, such as the uptake of low carbon technologies like heat pumps, or the deployment of solutions that drive flexibility such as demand-side response," she adds.

"Our modelling highlights any problem areas and estimates how much it will cost to either adopt innovative solutions or invest in the network with conventional upgrades. Scenarios give clients a low and high-point estimation of how much they need to invest in the network in the future, which helps them to put together business cases when they apply for funding. Even though the future is uncertain, our scenario modelling helps us to understand this uncertainty and quantify future risk."

Intelligent data sharing

"We are also encouraging intelligent data sharing between transmission and distribution network operators. By collaborating more closely, we will gain a greater understanding of where and when the energy is distributed so that companies can operate the network more efficiently. We are hoping to see more collaboration and data sharing amongst the whole system; across energy vectors, energy consumers, and suppliers for efficient whole system integration," April explains.

"I believe that to build a more efficient grid, we have to be flexible with our usage and intelligent with our data. We know we're going to start seeing more extreme events such as high temperatures and heavy rainfall. How can the sector work together to overcome that? By intelligent data sharing and understanding what resources are required, and when, we will be better equipped with the tools and knowledge we need to navigate to net zero."

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