French energy firm Engie to use Google Cloud AI to predict wind power
If it works out, AI-based energy forecasting could spread across Europe
French energy firm Engie this week announced a partnership with Google Cloud, which Engie hopes will yield more efficient wind energy management. Teaming up with Google Cloud’s AI Services and Industry Solutions (AIIS) group, Engie is using DeepMind, the AI Google acquired in 2014, to power the new data management solution, which uses predictive logic to manage wind power as a tradable commodity.
“The key objective of the AI pilot is to predict how much wind power should be sold on which power market and at what price. This is a challenge due to the complexity of the short-term power markets and the unpredictable nature of wind production,” explained Engie.
This requires massive data collection and analysis, the company said. Google Cloud’s AI extracts relevant data for Engie to act on, the company explained.
“Once this project is complete, the scale of the impact could be far-reaching: there are hundreds of Gigawatts of wind farms operating around the world, all of which could benefit from improved forecasting using AI,” said Engie.
Google’s DeepMind business unit uses the same AI to predict wind power output from its own renewable energy resources. The company announced its research back in 2019, but this marks the first time it’s been commercially used outside of Google.
With extensive expertise in risk management and data management, Engie sees the relationship with Google Cloud as a natural outgrowth of the company’s decade-long effort to accelerate renewable energy consumption across Europe, according to Alexandre Cosquer, Engie Global Energy Management & Sales executive committee member.
“Data, Digitalization and Risk Management are key enablers to bring value and accelerate the decarbonation of our power grids; in that context, a partnership with Google was obvious,” said Cosquer.
The Engie news marks a new chapter for Google, which extensively promotes its own sustainability efforts — Google notes that it has matched 100% of its global electricity use with renewable energy since 2017, and says it will run entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030.
The company in 2021 introduced new green tools to help Google Cloud Platform (GCP) expose gross carbon emissions data and extended partnerships with sustainability-focused data businesses. It also announced it that had purchased about 6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy online.