Yes Energy News and Insights

Data: An Essential Tool for Utilities to Prepare for Extreme Weather

Although Winter Storm Uri was the costliest winter storm on record, it was only one of 20 weather and climate disasters in 2021 that caused more than $1 billion in losses in the United States. In the past decade, there’s been a sharp rise in the frequency of billion-plus-dollar disasters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. As electric utilities and other power providers face the reality of more extreme weather, they’re making significant investments to ensure they can better withstand and adapt to these events. 

Data is an essential ingredient of this preparation. Supporting a resilient, reliable grid during extreme weather requires a nuanced understanding of numerous interrelated aspects of power markets, and access to robust, high-quality energy data and analytic tools is an important part of the equation. Cutting edge data can help utilities better navigate these highly complex and dynamic events. For example, 

  • When a hurricane, winter storm, heat wave or other meteorological event approaches an area, good data can enable a better awareness of the early warning signs of major electric grid disruptions. 
  • Data can also provide significant value to a utility when a storm has already arrived, allowing clear visibility into key regional and interregional electricity data such as prices, load, transmission outages and transmission constraints. 
  • Putting upcoming weather condition data into historical context can create even more actionable market insight.  
  • Robust data also enables utilities to conduct intelligent post hoc analyses, allowing utilities to avoid repeating mistakes that may have led to major grid disruptions.

According to Will Dailey, Yes Energy’s chief commercial officer, “Utilities want to stay out of the headlines, and there’s no surer way to make the headlines than having prolonged outages in your territory.” 

“It’s incredibly difficult to manage the electricity grid during severe weather events,” he said. “Even the best-prepared utility has to endure outages. The issue becomes how do you get ahead of these events and how can you defend the actions you took to minimize the impact of outage events.” To that end, “Data analytics must be a core competency.” 

In addition to helping utilities make real-time, informed decisions in response to weather events, data can help them justify their decisions. They can use it to demonstrate that they utilized every tool at their disposal to avoid a grid disruption and build the case for new grid investments. 

Yes Energy’s comprehensive data platform provides a clear visual picture of how these aspects interact to inform actionable solutions to real-time and future weather-related challenges.

Click here to read the full article on Utility Dive.