SAN FRANCISCO – November 15, 2016 – Today at Minds Machines, GE (NYSE: GE) announced new products, acquisitions and partner programs to enable further adoption of Predix, the operating system for the Industrial Internet. The platform enhancements, acquisitions and new ISV partner program further complement the Predix technology stack and make it easier for industrial companies to execute a strategic digital transformation to drive internal productivity. In 2016, orders from GE's portfolio of software solutions are on track to climb 25% to more than $7 billion – making GE the fastest growing digital industrial company in the world. Demonstrating the strength of Predix within GE, digital thread productivity will exceed $600 million, accelerating into 2017. "The opportunity for industry is now," said Bill Ruh, Chief Digital Officer of GE and CEO, GE Digital.
Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, fossil-fuel power plants faced significant disruption from renewable energy sources, low gas prices, and ambitious decarbonization goals, all of which are changing customer preferences. Now, as the power-generation industry shifts to the next normal, adopting the latest digital and advanced-analytics technologies has become critical. Many power companies began their digital transformations with technological solutions such as data models, which help optimize set points, enable better dispatch decisions, and support maintenance strategies and operating-mode selection. Forward-thinking companies, however, have recently started using visualization tools to manage real-time generation performance and digital control software to relay predictive data to control rooms. Yet these innovations are grounded in tangibly improving outcomes for plant operations and are therefore only part of a digitally enabled, next-generation power plant (Exhibit 1).
Flexible plant operations are highly desirable in today's power generation industry. Every plant owner desires increased ramp rates and the ability to operate at lower loads so their plants will remain "in the money" longer in today's competitive power markets. This goal, while laudable, remains elusive. The ADEX self-tuning artificial intelligence (AI) system allows plants to continuously optimize plant performance at any operating point rather than being constrained to a static "design point" commonly found in gas- and coal-fired plants. Better yet, no changes to the plant distributed control system (DCS) are required.
Internet of Things is increasingly gaining ground with advances in technology of internet, data and communication. This has spurred a lot of innovative business practices and applications across sectors, especially in Industrial automation, healthcare, transportation & logistics, energy. One such industry where IoT will play a significant role in coming years is Solar. India is a signatory of Paris climate accord and committed to reduce carbon emissions. It had set an ambitious target of achieving over 50% of power production from renewable sources by 2027.
Faced with excess electricity generation capacity and plunging prices for wholesale electricity, Italian utility A2A shut down its gas-fired Chivasso plant, near Turin, in 2014. Earlier this year, though, the plant was restarted. Market conditions have improved, but the main reason the plant was able to get up and running again was new cloud-based technology that helps it operate more efficiently, says Massimiliano Masi, A2A's vice president of power generation and trading. The GE hardware and software installed at the plant, Masi says, enables it to go from a dormant state to full operation in two hours or less, compared to three previously, thus improving its ability to respond to fluctuating demand brought on by increases in intermittent renewable energy on the grid. That's a huge advantage, says Masi, "because transmission operators prefer plants that are able to reach full production in less time."