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Director of Strategy and Sustainability
Every day, across the island of Ireland, the team in ESB Generation and Trading manage, monitor and trade energy. Cognisant of the ever-increasing importance of driving energy efficiency to help ESB meet its Net Zero 2040 ambition, ESB sought to leverage technology to support its team of almost 1,000 employees to streamline processes and make data-informed decisions faster.
ESB Generation and Trading had been using a range of tools and interfaces to produce and assess vast quantities of business-critical data. The process was cumbersome and time-consuming, and it was difficult to establish one source of truth in order to inform quick decision-making.
The team needed a solution that visualised complex data in a clear and simple way. Working with Microsoft partner, WONDR, they explored the art of the possible, using Microsoft Power BI and Azure, and developed a centralised hub, a user-friendly, simple visualisation of all the energy assets across the island of Ireland such as market price, market dynamics, and what renewables are in the system. The impact of this RTV (Real Time Visualisation) has been significant, enabling ESB to process key trading information, plan days in advance how they deploy their power stations, and make informed, faster decisions. The RTV tool now provides ESB will with an aggregate view of energy assets, which is an essential component in making informed decisions that will reduce emissions and help achieve the company’s Net Zero 2040 ambition.
WONDR Managing Director, Dermot O’Shea was excited to get involved: “Projects like this are hugely interesting and exciting because you are supporting an organisation’s ambition to really make a difference.”
The RTV tool now allows anyone in the company, regardless of their location, to understand and manage what’s happening in real time in their business. ESB Generation & Trading Analytics Manager, Daragh Noctor says “there was no alternative solution to using Microsoft technology like Azure” to build what became an impressive, bespoke, and expandable solution.
It has ensured the team can be more confident in their decisions moving forward, as Jim Dollard, Executive Director, ESB Generation and Trading, outlines. “This technology has been a really nice signpost of what the future will look like. But most of all, that from top to bottom of the organisation, it’s given us confidence. Confidence that we can deploy the tools but confidence on the quality of the tools and the difference that they can make.”
This technology has been a really nice signpost of what the future will look like. It’s given us confidence. Confidence that we can deploy the tools but confidence on the quality of the tools and the difference that they can make.
With ESB’s ambitious target of Net Zero by 2040 – in simple terms, decarbonising their system and the effective use of their power stations, including hydro stations, thermal stations and wind farms – data will become increasingly more important.
Daragh Noctor believes the RTV tool “drives focus in the right area” to help ESB to understand where they are generating the most carbon within ESB’s portfolio and “where our focus should be in future planning, forecasting, and preparing KPIs and strategies to achieve Net Zero 2040”.
The technology drives focus in the right area… where our focus should be in future planning, forecasting, and preparing KPIs and strategies to achieve Net Zero 2040.
Given the positive impact that the technology is already having within ESB, there are now plans to extend it to broader areas of the business in order to ensure access to business-critical information in real time and better enable the company to make positive strategic decisions with regards to energy.
Microsoft globally is working closely with energy industry customers who have a net zero goal, in recognition of the transformational role they will play in delivering on the world’s renewable energy needs. You can read more about Microsoft’s energy industry principles here.