Greenbird and GE Partner Up for Utility Data Collection
GE acquires Greenbird Technologies to advance and integrate GE’s GridOS, a software suite for electrical power production and distribution plants.
GE Vernova’s Norway Connection
General Electric’s Vernova division focuses on providing digital solutions that collect and analyze data from power generation to power consumption, and provide tools that help engineers collect critical data to support clean electricity production. To support its offerings and innovation, GE Vernova recently acquired Greenbird Integration Technologies, a data integration and solutions company out of Norway.
Power grid technologies must be extremely resilient against downtime, both from natural and human-created causes. Image courtesy of Unsplash
Greenbird Integration Technologies
Not all data systems are created equal, especially when it comes to utility data collection systems. Gathering this kind of data requires an in-depth knowledge of the process as well as the technologies used in the system. Once the data is collected, it needs to be presented and analyzed to find anomalies or trends which could lead to premature failure of components or decreased efficiency.
Since 2010 Greenbird Technologies has been integrating and providing digital solutions to utility companies interested in big data collection. Utilihive is Greenbird’s flagship software that collects data from utility companies and has cloud accessibility. Today Utilihive is used in more than 230 utility companies across Europe which serve over 50 million consumers.
As the world searches for renewable energy sources, GE is doing its part by offering software and applications focused on efficiency and connectivity between systems for utility companies. According to GE, the acquisition of Greenbird Technologies will enhance GE’s software suite GridOS, the company’s software suite focused on grid orchestration. By joining forces with Greenbird, GE plans to further advance and expand GridOS connectivity and integration into other utility grid systems.
Acquiring a software platform featuring the latest tools and capabilities is all well and good, but if users don’t know how to integrate the software and get the operational value from the tools and the software, they’re likely not to remain competitive for very long. By acquiring Greenbird, GE now offers the software and a team of integrators to install and maintain its grid data management software.
Utility companies rely on partnerships between hardware and software companies to design effective, resilient networks. Image used courtesy of Unsplash
The need for electricity is growing fast. According to the International Energy Alliance (IEA), world electricity demand remained resilient in 2022. Although this metric was slightly lower when compared to the 2.4% average growth rate over the last decade, the electrification of the transport and heating sectors continued to accelerate globally, with record numbers of electric vehicles and heat pumps sold in 2022.
Nevertheless, economies around the world, in the midst of recovering from the impacts of COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, were battered by record-high energy prices. Soaring prices for commodities, including natural gas and coal, sharply escalated power generation costs and a rapid rise in inflation.
Economic slowdowns and high electricity did, to a certain extent, suppress electricity demand in most regions around the world. But it’s only a matter of time before demand soars again. Utilities everywhere are expanding and upgrading their electrical production to accommodate existing and, importantly, emerging trends to meet future demand.
GE and the GridOS software suite provide operators and engineers with the data tools needed to support critical operational and safety decision-making. Behind GridOS, is its federated data fabric, an interconnected network of data systems that can all communicate. Electrical power production requires many systems and processes, all of which produce data at different locations. With data sources interconnected and organized by GE’s federated data fabric, data from disparate generation and grid sources can be analyzed and monitored centrally. GridOS also leverages AI-driven analytics to provide maintenance staff with accurate models and schedules. With these features and Greenbird’s expertise and experience, GE hopes to break down data silos typically found within existing utility data systems.