On track to making emission-free railways in Poland, PKP Energetyka blends the analytical capabilities of Power BI with Azure Machine Learning’s predictive forecasting models.
A solution developed in tandem with Microsoft partner Elitmind enabled real-time management of renewable sources to secure appropriate energy levels for powering rails. With this new system, the company stays on course to meet the goals of the Green Railway program, foreseeing the achievement of 85% of climate neutrality by the Polish rail sector by 2030.
PKP Energetyka is the energy supplier to the Polish railway network with a vision to make the entire rail sector climate-neutral. One of the pillars of its Strategy 2030 is the Green Railway program, which aims to increase the share of green energy flowing into the distribution network. “We want to bring a green revolution to the railway power industry with cutting-edge technologies,” says Marek Kleszczewski, member of the management board of PKP Energetyka.
Forecasting renewable energy production
“Sun and wind—the basis of renewable energy solutions – are very changeable, making power generation highly variable,” explains Maciej Rudko, Director of the Financial Planning and Analysis Office at PKP Energetyka. To mitigate fluctuations in these sources, a network of warehouses will be established to absorb excess energy and release it when power is needed. “In July 2021, we launched the first traction energy storage for railways in Lower Silesia, which is the largest facility of this type in Europe. Monthly, it supplies almost 1,500 journeys of passenger and freight trains,” says Marek Kleszczewski, member of the management board at PKP Energetyka.
To coordinate the work of the entire power distribution system and increase operational efficiency, the company worked with Elitmind – a Microsoft partner specializing in data solutions. Elitmind implemented an advanced IT solution based on Microsoft Azure. It uses Azure Machine Learning forecasting algorithms to accurately predict spikes in demand, which helps balance fluctuating energy levels. “Knowing ahead how much power will be needed helps us stabilize the renewable power grid,” says Rudko.
Thanks to Azure, we can collect, manage, process, and analyze data from various sources and review it through a user-friendly Power BI dashboard.
Powering green decisions with data predictions
To support data-driven decisions, Energetyka uses the Azure cloud to gather and process information from dispersed energy sources, presenting it via Power BI reports. “Power BI is fully adapted to the business user—it is flexible and intuitive. And we can display all reports in a mobile app, making it easily accessible on the go,” says Andrzej Nowak, Financial Planning and Analysis Expert at PKP Energetyka. This includes dashboards showing accurate price forecasts based on pricing trends in conjunction with power loads and other factors. “It translates the obtained data into insights that enable us to make the right business decisions and push sustainability further,” explains Kleszczewski.
PKP Energetyka aims to ensure that 85 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources by 2030. As of 2022, it has reduced the annual number of CO2 emissions by 800,000 tons. That is the equivalent of a forest covering an area larger than that of Munich, Germany. In addition, the company has a plan to set up 300 energy warehouses throughout Poland to supply the country’s railway with green energy effectively.
“We have set ambitious goals regarding decarbonization, reducing natural resource consumption, and biodiversity protection,” reveals Kleszczewski. “Microsoft cloud technology is at the heart of the solution that will prepare us to implement the Polish Green Railway program—achieving more green railway system,” complements Rudko.
Microsoft cloud technology is at the heart of the solution that will prepare us to implement the Polish Green Railway program.