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Energy Industry AI and Machine learning - Better Utilizing Advanced Tech
How AI In the Energy Industry Can Be Better Utilized Alongside Machine Learning
AI and machine learning have the potential to transform the renewable energy industry by helping companies better manage their energy power grid, prioritize methane reduction in their strategic planning and reduce energy waste overall.
David Chan, Product Lead at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), sat down with Rachel Gregory, Digital Host at The Global Energy Show, to discuss energy industry AI and machine learning, how AI in the energy industry can be utilized, and how governments can support these endeavors.
How the Energy Industry, AI, and Machine Learning Join Forces at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute
Rachel: David, tell us about the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. What is it that you do?
David: Amii, as it's known in short, is a not-for-profit organization that's based right here in Alberta. We advance leading-edge research in AI and machine learning in the energy industry.
Some of our researchers push the boundaries on scientific knowledge and what is possible when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and train some of the brightest talents in the world around AI and ML. We seek to translate that academic excellence into industry adoption. I see it as having two pillars that we often talk about. One of those pillars is our academic excellence. And on the other hand, we have industry adoption of AI and ML, and we see the two working together synergistically.
Amii’s Collaboration With the Global Energy Sector
Rachel: Amii is part of the Pan-Canadian AI strategy, which is the world's first national AI strategy. Can you tell us more about this and how you collaborate with others across the country?
David: The Pan-Canadian AI strategy, as you alluded to, was set up about five years ago and it was the first national AI strategy around the globe. So Canada really led the way in this area. In areas where we had AI and ML excellence around the country, three institutes were set up as not-for-profit organizations to help really translate that excellence in AI and ML research into industry adoption as well. It's been really exciting to see some of the outcomes over the last five years and what we've been able to accomplish.
When it comes to collaboration amongst the institutes, I think it's really nice as well that we have the three institutes that focus on different areas of expertise and have complementary areas of expertise as well.
One really neat example of how we actively collaborate came up last year during the pandemic. We actually set up a centre of excellence with Roche, and it was really nice having these three institutes set up. It allows us to mobilize these resources really quickly and in a concerted manner to take a concerted response to something that happens really quick, like a global pandemic.
How Amii Moves Renewable Energy Sources Forward and Helps Companies Analyze Energy Consumption
Rachel: Tell us about the Remy program. Have you seen a shift in companies prioritizing methane reduction in their strategic planning?
David: What we're doing as part of Remy is leveraging our expertise in AI and ML to help move GHG, emission reduction, and ESG opportunities forward. So we're looking to work with companies that are interested in exploring whether there are opportunities for having an environmental impact within their business that could leverage AI and ML and then moving those forward as part of the program.
What's really exciting to us is that while we're focusing on emission reduction opportunities, it's an opportunity for companies to kickstart their journey into AI and ML. So the lessons that they'll learn as part of working on GHG emission reduction opportunities will stay within them, and they can leverage that to apply to other business units and other areas of priority within their business. So we're really excited about making that happen in the next year.
How the Government Supports AI Adoption in Canada
Rachel: Over the next decade, how would you like to see industry and government support AI adoption? What are things that they can be doing now?
David: I'd like to see the government continue to make investments in digital transformation and the environment. We'd love to see us leverage that and continue to build on that position of leadership that we're in when it comes to artificial intelligence in Canada. I do really love to see companies take advantage of these types of initiatives and start to dive into AI and ML, working towards making it a competitive enabler for their business.
How to Utilize AI in the Energy Transition
Rachel: In your opinion, how can companies better utilize AI as the world navigates through the energy transition?
David: We see AI and ML really being a strategic investment for companies. It's not typically a one-off, it's really a long term commitment. There's actually been studies that have shown that if you make it a long term investment and treat it as a strategic priority, you get better outcomes and better return on your investment rather than taking this a bit of an ad hoc and one-off approach.
We have such a long history of energy excellence in Canada where the energy sector of course plays such a dominant role. We have such expertise in this area that we would really like to see AI and ML be technologies that are leveraged where we also take an active leadership role in this area. So there's lots of opportunities, both in the energy sector, in traditional areas, but also as we're moving and transitioning into new energy sectors.
One idea that comes to mind there is managing power grids. The energy grid, AI and machine learning systems are really good at managing such complex systems and reinforcement learning, which is one of the techniques that Alberta is really well known for.
Learn More About How Technologies Like AI Support the Energy Industry
As energy companies search for innovative ways to increase energy efficiency and focus on their energy system, AI and machine learning may be just what they're missing. The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute's AI and machine learning algorithms are a great example of how industry leaders are taking steps to help one another reduce emissions and increase green energy production to make a positive environmental impact.
If you're interested in learning more about AI and machine learning from the people actively changing the game in North America's energy industry, register for the next Global Energy Show today.