Artificial intelligence said good for smart grid optimisation

Veritone’s director of product marketing and energy, Tatjana Legans, hopes to work with Jamaican companies to bring more clean energy to the environment. (Photo: Brittny Hutchinson)

CALIFORNIA, United States — Jamaica is being urged to consider artificial intelligence (AI) for smart grid optimization as a more viable way to generate green energy.

Tatjana Legans, director of product marketing and energy at Veritone — a California-based artificial intelligence technology company that develops energy software, among other things — believes AI systems can be effective in Jamaica.

“In Jamaica for example if you have a lot of solar panels it only takes one cloud to get under the sun and you don’t produce any energy right? But our software can predict that,” she said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer during the renewable energy event, RE+, on Tuesday.

“It tells you, for example, ‘Hey, between 3pm and 5pm you would normally be watching production, but just so you know, tomorrow is bad weather, so let’s charge those batteries today, so tomorrow when you don’t generate solar power, you can ship the batteries and it’s still all clean energy,” Legans explained.

According to her, the software consists of a forecaster to accurately predict energy production, an optimizer to synchronize smart grid assets, and a controller to improve the performance of connected edge devices.

“We’re seeing a lot of applicability and many islands around the world are doing some kind of autonomous control, especially by adding more green energy resources because of the abundance of sun. Jamaica gets many sunnier days. We really see this software as key,” she added.

The software, she explained, is very accessible and can be customized to suit a client’s needs. “Once you sign into the app there is very flexible deployment on-premises, in the clouds, hybrid, you can even choose the cloud you want. In Jamaica, there might not be Wi-Fi in a remote location, so a cloud solution probably wouldn’t work, so we would deploy it on-site to ensure connectivity at all times,” she said.

At the same time, she disproved the notion that AIs were a substitute for human resources.

“I think energy was very traditional, it relied on people doing most things, but it’s impossible given so many variables at play today. It’s impossible for [a man] sitting in the back room doing all those calculations on a spreadsheet doesn’t matter how smart he is,” she said.

“Essentially, it shows that artificial intelligence can do this in a much more efficient way, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that humans are being removed from the loop, but that humans are still making decisions when they choose to,” she added.

Meanwhile, Legans said she hopes to work with Jamaican companies to bring more clean energy to the environment.

“We are always looking for partners. I think the key to a more sustainable future for all of us really is partnership. We already have a large ecosystem of partners and for us location doesn’t matter as the software can be deployed anywhere. Being on an island is also key because I expect it will be very expensive and difficult to build infrastructure around it and I know many countries are already making clean energy commitments. I think it really helps to have this reliable software working for you,” she said.