How Seattle City Light is leveraging the power of cloud?
Companies across all sectors are embracing cloud computing to leverage the many benefits it offers. Since cloud offers increased productivity and efficiency, almost every major company in the world, including semi-government ones like utility companies, are taking to the cloud in a big way. The latest utility company to implement cloud is the Seattle City Light.
This public utility company provides electrical power through its grid network to the city of Seattle and its surrounding areas such as Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park and Tukwila. Seattle City Light is the tenth largest utility company in the U.S.
Now, this company wants to tap into the power of cloud to increase its efficiency. Specifically, it wants to use high-powered computing, storage and data analysis to improve the efficiency of its power distribution. Given the changing demands of all businesses and the emergence of different clean energy sources, it makes sense for the company to shift to the cloud now than ever before.
In addition, it wants to get a deeper insight into its customers’ behavior, so that they can tailor solutions that meet their unique needs. For example, some customers may prefer to give back solar power to the grid while others may completely depend on the utility company to power their home. Since the needs of each of these customers vary, Seattle City Light wants to be in a position to give them just the tailored solution they want. This is possible only with the cloud as it can analyze vast amounts of real-time data quickly to give the insights that can help this company to make better decisions.
As a first step, Seattle City Light has partnered with a Cincinnati-based company called Integral Analytics to host its flagship LoadSEER solution on AWS. According to the CEO of Integral Analytics, Kevin Kushman, AWS was one of the top choices given the complex nature of this application and the varying storage it entails. Also, he opined that AWS has many market tested apps and process that essentially meant Seattle City Light did not have to reinvent the wheel.
Just to give you a brief idea, LoadSEER is a distribution and DER integration application that is built on a distribution load database updated with data in real-time. As a result, the distribution can be dynamic and will be based on the current needs of customers. Such a distribution plan will greatly optimize distribution and can make the overall usage of power more efficient.
Over time, this move is expected to pave way for this utility company to adopt smartgrids and maybe even smart meters that can make power distribution and efficiency even more efficient.
It’s noteworthy that Seattle City Light is the first municipal authority in the US to own and operate a hydroelectric plant. It also uses other sources of power such as wind and solar to meet its demands. Given this, it’s not surprise that this utility company wants to embrace cloud and set an example for other public utility companies in the U.S to follow suit.