The energy industry is undergoing a massive transition. Renewables, distributed energy resources, electrification, and new technologies are disrupting traditional utility business models. IT organizations play a crucial role in enabling business innovation and success in this climate of uncertainty and complexity.
PCI Energy Solutions has over 30 years of experience serving utility clients like OG&E, and we understand the critical IT priorities for the journey ahead. At the recent OG&E 2023 Technology Summit, I shared insights as PCI’s president and COO on how IT can collaborate with business leaders to drive energy transformation, and I’d like to share them here with our blog audience as well.
Read on to learn more, and feel free to flip through my presentation slides below to get a better sense of the content presented that day.
PCI & OG&E: a long-term partnership
At PCI, we take pride in our enduring collaboration with OG&E (Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company), which spans several significant milestones in our shared history. This partnership has been instrumental in shaping our journey and contributing to the success of both organizations.
Supporting our inception
OG&E played a pivotal role in PCI’s early days by providing essential support for research and development. They motivated two professors from the University of Oklahoma — our founders Fred Lee and Art Breipohl — to develop commercial software, ultimately leading to PCI’s incorporation. This partnership marked the beginning of our mission to advance business development in the state and beyond.
Enabling market participation
Over the years, PCI systems have been at the heart of OG&E’s participation in the SPP (Southwest Power Pool) markets. Our solutions have evolved alongside the energy industry, supporting OG&E’s engagement from the original imbalance market to the current integrated marketplace. This continued collaboration demonstrates our commitment to empowering utilities to adapt to changing market dynamics.
Embracing cloud innovation
In a recent milestone, OG&E and PCI took a significant step forward by migrating PCI’s infrastructure to the cloud. OG&E leveraged PCI’s hosted services, marking a strategic move toward modernizing its technology infrastructure. This transition reflects our shared dedication to embracing innovation and ensuring agility in the face of evolving industry demands.
Connecting business priorities to technology solutions
Based on client input, PCI identified five key business needs to support the energy transition:
- Improved data access and reporting
- Enhanced user experience
- More embedded analytics and decision support
- Systems to model and optimize new generation and grid assets
- Frequent and smooth software updates
PCI highlighted product innovations that address each priority:
- SEEMTrader: This auto-trading application provides automated tools to execute pre-programmed bidding strategies that optimize Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) transactions. Key capabilities help traders manage high-volume operations efficiently.
- DataHub: PCI DataHub centralizes data access, reporting, and visualization in a self-service analytics platform. It streamlines finding, exploring, and extracting value from information distributed across PCI’s systems. The hub provides a unified view across operations and market data.
- PCI Insights: This solution delivers real-time analytics and intelligence tuned for participation in RTO markets. It combines market prices, constraints, nominations, outages, and other data to enhance trading and scheduling. Automated alerts and recommendations enable rapid response to market changes.
- Battery Storage Optimization: PCI’s battery management tools provide data-driven dispatch recommendations based on price signals, state of charge constraints, and income goals. Advanced algorithms also optimize battery bid curves based on market variables to maximize revenue from grid services.
These examples demonstrate how technology can directly enable new business capabilities required for the energy transition.
Building next-gen platforms
Utility systems must handle vast data volumes and increasing complexity to integrate and optimize new distributed resources alongside conventional assets. The demand for more automation, real-time analytics, and rapid adaptation requires next-generation platforms designed for these needs.
PCI recently launched PCI Kube, an enterprise-grade solution engineered specifically for the energy transition. Key capabilities include:
- Cloud-first architecture: Designed from the ground up to rapidly deliver new features. Enables continuous deployment and simplifies maintenance.
- Modular: Components are decoupled for faster development and reduced interdependency. Easier to update specific functions without impacting others.
- Open APIs: Integration with third-party data sources and applications is streamlined. Critical for leveraging AI/ML and maximizing the value of data.
- Advanced monitoring: Machine learning models proactively detect anomalies and trigger alerts to prevent issues.
- Multi-tenant: Secure partitioning and role-based access help manage multiple organizations on a shared instance.
- Scalability: The platform scales seamlessly to handle increasing data volumes driven by new technologies.
PCI Kube represents a step-change in flexibility, resiliency, and performance. It provides the foundation for PCI to deliver innovations that advance the energy transition rapidly.
Succeeding through partnership
Close collaboration between IT and business leaders is essential as the industry evolves. Organizations that empower IT as an enabler, not just a support function, will have a competitive advantage.
The energy transition brings uncertainty but also immense opportunity. Companies can thrive in the new energy marketplace by working together and investing in technologies that drive innovation.
At PCI, our mission is to help clients like OG&E succeed through every transition stage. Learn more about us and how we can help you succeed through the energy transition.