The renewables industry should engage with the wider debates surrounding the use of Artificial Intelligence. Solar and wind developers, operators, and investors need to consider how their industries can use it, what the impacts are on the industries in a larger sense, and what decisions those industries need to confront.
In a recent report DNV-GL concludes that AI, Machine Learning, and robotics could play a major role in further enhancing the competitiveness of wind and solar projects by curbing costs, boosting reliability, and increasing power generation. Although there are risks related to the use of AI technologies it could deliver significant benefits to the renewables industry.
The use of AI and Machine-Learning is already relatively well established in the renewables space, as many of the most recent projects have incorporated sensor technology as standards, allowing operators of wind and solar farms to automatically optimize their performance.
However, optimization technologies will improve and AI will be used more widely in the future to bring greater efficiencies to the deployment, operation and maintenance of projects.
In the coming years AI will deliver a range of benefits for wind and solar project operators, including cost savings from the growing use of robotics for suite inspections and maintenance, the deployment of crawling robots and advanced sensors to spot potential faults early, the use of advanced AI to undertake due diligence and optimize project planning, and the use of autonomous drones to carry out inspections for remote projects.
Concerns remain about the potential impact of AI and automation on jobs across the industry, while fears also remain about the cyber security implications of using AI to manage energy projects.
The report acknowledges renewables firms making use of AI will have to address associated risks and make use of best practices to ensure security and other concerns are addressed.