In brief

In brief

  • Industry X.0, the digital reinvention of industry, can help renewables companies use advanced digital technologies for transformation and growth.
  • Digital innovation could help address challenges facing the renewables, but also help them take advantage of expanding opportunities.
  • Imagining the digital future is exciting but also presents implementation challenges that can be overcome with an agile, phased approach.

Reinventing renewable energy

Industry X.0 is the digital reinvention of industry, where businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform their core operations, worker and customer experiences and, ultimately, their business models. In the renewable energy industry, digital is at the core of the struggle for sustainable, competitive advantage in the sector. The digital revolution for renewable energy is driven by what Accenture calls the “five Ds”:

  1. Dispatchable: Renewables will become more dispatchable with digital, storage and hybrid plants, offering access to new grid services value pools.
  2. Digital: Digital is at the center of the current struggle for sustainable competitive advantage in the renewables sector.
  3. Divided: The digital divide driving the operational performance gap between the large renewable operators and smaller renewable players will grow wider.
  4. Diverse: Diverse players, including deep-pocketed new entrants such as oil companies, traders, automotive companies and possibly even technology players will compete.
  5. Demand: An increase in demand, especially renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) by commercial and industrial (C&I) entities and the aggregation of demand, is changing the way renewable demand is met.

The renewables industry has a limited legacy heritage and is highly innovative in both hardware and software. This allows for digitalization across every aspect of the life cycle.

Digital drives business value in renewables

Digital can unlock value across the renewables life cycle and can be applied in a variety of ways to improve safety, program management, design, quality, asset management and operations. It can also unlock human potential by enabling employees to work differently alongside intelligent technology. Consider the following four technologies and the business impact they provide throughout the project life cycle.

Applied Intelligence

Estimated reduction in project spend, execution duration and lost production.

Connected worker

Estimated increase in maintenance flexibility and maintenance productivity and reduction in asset downtime.

Digital plant

Reduction in overall maintenance cost and maximized asset value.

Digital project controls

Estimated increase in schedule attainment, increase in productivity from use of location data and increase in billing accuracy.

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Bringing “the New” to renewables

Many more technologies are applicable to the renewable energy industry today, with new ideas still to come. This is an exciting time for renewables, but it also raises challenges. Leaders may see the potential value and benefits of a technology but worry about high barriers to entry, expensive implementation and lengthy timelines. In response to this concern, Accenture recommends an agile method—identifying value areas of focus and rolling out implementation in a phased approach over time.

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