In mid-July, The Linux Foundation launched LF Energy with support from RTE, Europe’s biggest transmission power systems operator, the Electric Power Research Institute, the European Network of Transmission System Operators, and others, in a bid to speed technological innovation and accelerate the energy transition across the planet. System operators, and the utilities that bring electricity to our homes, businesses, and soon our vehicles are on the frontlines in the battle against climate change.
The digitalization of energy heralds the advent of a new age for electricity that will be organized around highly flexible and heterogeneous energy devices and sensors requiring advanced communication capacity between systems, people, and things. Up until now, power systems have been an asset-heavy industry (think coal-fired plants, transformers, and substations) with centralized control and one-way communication. The future grid is composed of distributed energy resources that can be aggregated and shaped to provide reliable electricity when variable resources like the sun and wind are orchestrated with battery storage to shape loads and shave peaks. The complexity of this cannot be managed with top-down control but will require highly sophisticated, automated, and self-aware digital intelligence spanning previously distinct sectors such as transportation, telecommunications, banking, and built environments.