GE Digital Energy: A Smarter Grid to Enable Intelligent Power Transmission

GE Digital Energy: A Smarter Grid to Enable Intelligent Power Transmission

CIO VendorJeffery Immelt, CEO Over a decade ago, a surge in electricity touched off, cascading blackouts in U.S. and Northeast Canada, stretching from New York City to Ontario. An ageing electric grid, a series of technology flaws, and a few over grown trees led to successive power outages leaving 50 million people without power for 24 hours. A decade later, electricity grids are still at the risk for major system failures. As power outages are highly unpredictable, often it is difficult to eliminate blackouts entirely.

Given the status of conventional grid systems, business planners are now preparing for a far more diverse energy market to minimize the impact of future blackouts. To avoid tripping of network elements, digital business trends are pushing utilities to adopt smart grid initiatives that will improve grid resilience, integrate consumers into energy markets, and enable new energy provisioning models driven by digitalization. In a nutshell, there is a humungous task of revamping the century-old grid infrastructure—which is perhaps why GE Digital Energy is busy at the moment. GE Digital Energy’s smart grid initiatives are integrating solutions for utilities, consumers, and industrial sites. The company is making big investments in the intersection between physics, which is the history of GE, and the new analytical and digital world.

To meet the high expectations and deliver viable solutions that possess scalability to be ready for tomorrow, companies redesign the face of grid management and that is where GE Digital Energy, a division of General Electric comes into play. As the company’s tagline—“building a grid that can do more with less”—GE’s focus is on modernizing grid infrastructure with smarter networks and less power outages.

Imagination at Work

From transmission, distribution to consumption—GE’s smart grid initiatives integrate solutions for utilities, consumers and industrial sites. Whether it is for generation optimization or substation digitization, GE has a smart grid platform that fits everyone’s needs. GE Digital Energy’s objective is to be that one company which is always getting better, a company that understands where it fits in the markets and in society and appreciate its responsibility to both.

The company boasts to possess technologies that anticipate and prevent problems before they even happen. In one instance, EDF Energy, one of the UK’s largest energy companies worked with GE to create automatic fault isolation and rerouting schemes.When EDF Energy wanted to cash the Quality of Service Interruptions Incentive Scheme introduced by Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, EDF turned to GE for its Distribution Management System (DMS).With GE’s DMS solutions, EDF enabled utilities to maintain network data, refine and expand network operation applications and provide tools to deal with unplanned events and outages.

The end result was that fewer consumers are affected by outages.

From the Power Plant to the End Power Consumption

GE Digital Power Plant is an IoT-equipped, cloud-supported software suite that aims to tap into individual machine data for analyzing, dispatching and overall management of a plant’s power resources. Basically, Digital Power Plant is a “digital twin” for an entire physical power plant.

Powered by GE’s Predix platform, Digital Plant’s operating system is a collection of physics-based methods and digital technologies that are used to model the present state of every asset in a Digital Power Plant.The product allows utilities to monitor and manage every aspect of the power generation ecosystem to generate electricity as cleanly, efficiently, and securely as possible. Catering to the complex power plants, especially when connecting different disparate systems seamlessly together, GE’s Electrical Balance of Plant (EBoP) applications help utilities in solving unforeseen challenges. EBoP systems work seamlessly across a broad range of applications and power generation types including distributed power, renewable generation, and thermal power.

Crafting a Compelling Roadmap for Success

GE Digital Energy’s inventions and comprehensive smart grid solutions touch every facet of the energy value chain. Keeping the end-user in mind, GE’s products are complemented with a ‘7 Step Roadmap’ preparing utilities to meet tomorrow’s ever increasing demand. At first, GE learns about the generation demands and addresses the distribution and transmission requirements. Rightly interpreting what a smart grid does, GE then architects an end-to-end communications infrastructure from generation through transmission all the way into consumers’ homes. Furthermore, GE’s asset monitoring, energy management, and control systems maximize efficiency and help control costs across the entire power system.

GE’s focus is on modernizing grid infrastructure with smarter networks and less power outages

Thousands of clients across nations trust GE with their smart grid applications. Eneco, one of The Netherlands' leading utility companies, launched GE Digital Energy's Field Force Automation (FFA) solutions to increase productivity in its Joulz division. Since the introduction of GE’s FFA solution, Eneco has reported outstanding results. Eneco continues to partner with GE to actively increase productivity while exploring future opportunities to expand its capabilities.

Powering the Future at Olympics and Beyond

For GE, Olympic Games is a brand that could allow them to saddle up and ride in with!Aligning with its global growth strategy, GE in 2012 opened doors to new sales and marketing opportunities by partnering with the Olympic Games.Since then, the company has driven hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects and sales abroad through its Olympic partnerships, while reinventing GE as a truly global brand.

From infrastructure to transportation, and power and lighting to water treatment, GE, as a worldwide Olympic partner, is an exclusive provider of innovative products and solutions that are integral to staging the world’s largest sporting event. Recalling an instance from 2012 London Olympics, Immelt elucidates upon how GE’s smart grid applications revamped UK Power Networks, which delivered electricity to 29 of the 34 Olympic venues. Using GE’s smart grid application—PowerOn System, the organization gained a visibility into the electrical network throughout London in real-time. It also enabled them to re-divert power and minimize the amount of customers impacted by a power outage.

In addition, GE’s Smallworld GIS software provides a spatial register of UK Networks’ cables, assets, and transformers, enabling them intelligently restore power to the network. “We cut right through the whole Olympic parade with no issues at all,” states Brian Stratton, Head of London 2012, UK Power Networks.

"A leader in providing solutions that modernize the grid by managing and moving power from the power plant to the consumer"

Boosted by Olympics’ successful campaign, GE which once held 95 percent of all its sales in U.S., ventured into huge markets with potential growth outside its orbit. However, extending its intelligence to deliver real value supporting different stages of evolutions in different companies is not the end of GE’s partnership. While GE protects and optimizes assets such as generators, smart meters transmission lines and motors, it also delivers tools and analytics to help manage the power grid thereafter.The company’s best-in-class post-sales and professional services ensure that the customer leverages all business advantages that come with GE Digital Energy’s products.

Investing in the Grey Matter

Providing world-class technologies as per the customers’ convenience is a key area of focus for GE Digital Energy. As the rapidly maturing mobile technologies with consumer usage of smartphones and tablets surpassed the conventional PCs, industry experts suggest that the time is right for the electrical utilities to leverage consumer mobile. Accordingly, GE Digital Energy is currently assisting electrical utilities in redesigning operations around the mobilization of advanced distribution management functions by placing mobile technology at the center of their model. As mobile today offers a transformational path to a collaborative control model, GE Digital Energy sees the provision of a range of mobile apps connected in real-time.

Quality of innovation lies at the heart of GE Digital Energy. The company constantly invests in its people, tools, and processes with an endeavor to deliver high customer service performance every step of their way. While GE Digital Energy continues to innovate and transform experiences for organizations such as U.S. Marine Corps and American Electric Power, Immelt and his organization are striving hard to minimize the impact electric failures. Looking beyond the horizon, “doing more with less” continues to be the driving motto of GE Digital Energy.

- Judy Simon
    November 02, 2015