AI as an accelerator for the energy transition

Cases Energie
AI as an accelerator for the energy transition

“We need to contribute to sustainability if we’re to leave a livable world behind for future generations”, says Mathijs de Weerdt, chairman of the Energy and Sustainability Working Group of the Dutch AI Coalition (NL AIC).

“Sustainable energy systems have to be smart, yet at the same time, they’re also highly complex because of the many uncertainties and challenges, such as the large scale, the amount of data, the various infrastructures and the numerous actors and interests. This complicated puzzle provides some exciting challenges for the deployment of AI.”

Making the Netherlands more sustainable

The aim of the Energy and Sustainability working group is, therefore, to use AI research and applications to help the energy transition and make the Netherlands more sustainable. AI can, for example, let regional grid operators achieve significant cost savings through smart maintenance and a targeted approach to congestion problems. Where the domains of multiple energy carriers intersect, AI can help match supply to demand and help conversions between energy carriers. On top of that, there is an important opportunity for AI in supporting the decision-making processes that will redesign the energy system.

As well as developing this vision, NL AIC also contributes to the energy transition through specific projects. Mathijs: “Our colleagues from the VU, among others, have worked out a program for energy-efficient AI systems in which we draw attention to the high energy consumption of some machine learning methods and show the route that needs to be taken for keeping it under control.”

Creating awareness

Another example is a course that will be developed by Human Capital. “The course aims to create awareness of the potential of AI among all workers and students in the energy sector. A similar course has previously been developed for the healthcare sector, and one will also be developed for the agri-food sector later this year. We’re also aiming to create a well-functioning development environment for AI R&D for the energy system. This will provide an overview of the existing data and the tools, models, and associated algorithms to be developed. It will also facilitate coordination between them. This development setup will offer a platform for cooperation within the rich ecosystem in the Netherlands consisting of parties working on digital solutions for energy, climate and circularity.”

Taking the lead

“We’re convinced that using AI can let the Netherlands take the lead in the energy transition and act as a role model for Europe and the rest of the world,” says Mathijs to NL AIC. “Exporting successful AI techniques and applications as well will mean we can strengthen the Dutch economy and accelerate sustainability elsewhere in the world.”