Most businesses look at the weather as an inevitable part of daily life.
Not so with renewable energy.
For companies like EDP, weather is their raw material. As they look to make their operations 100% renewable, weather plays a larger and larger part of their operations. With offices in 20 countries, 12,000 employees, and more than 11 million customers, EDP Renewables has its hand in wind, hydroelectric, solar, CCGT power plants, coal, and more.
We sat down with Allen Vasconcelos, Head of Digital Hub at EDP SA, and Diego Cordeiro, Project Manager at EDP, during the 2021 ClimaCon to talk through how climate change continues to impact the energy industry and what to do about it:
Climate Resiliency Starts with Innovation
With so many weather patterns changing — often dramatically, with different storm cycles, increasing temperatures, or wildfires — it’s clear that energy companies can’t do what they’ve always done. The first step in any climate resiliency strategy, Vasconcelos said, was embracing and fostering a culture of innovation internally.
That’s why EDP holds an annual startup accelerator competition. This accomplishes several goals for the team. Not only do they get a front-row seat to some of the most innovative technology companies out there (hi!), but they also get the benefit of an infusion of new thinking about business challenges the industry has grappled with for decades. Tomorrow.io applied in a field of 800 top-notch technology startups — and we were honored to be one of the 45 selected to work with them.
“It is part of our strategy for innovation, to use this kind of program to open us up to different stakeholders to innovate with us. It’s especially great for startups that want to test solutions or improve their portfolio in the energy sector. I think Tomorrow.io was one of the easiest proof-of-concepts to sign off on from the first meeting. When we saw the value proposition, the services, we immediately said, ‘We need this.’” — Diego Cordiero
How Weather Impacts Energy Operations
Besides impacting supply chain management and employee safety, weather matters for several types of EDP’s renewable energy operations, especially solar, wind, and hydroelectric.
“Weather is our main raw material, so every single event impacts our business. This can be applied to solar, wind, or rain, but it cascades across the entire value chain. We need to have reliable, accurate, real-time data as much as possible since the impact of any one storm can be impossibly complex.” — Allen Vasconcelos
For example, every year, EDP’s Portugal division has to deal with extreme flooding from the Mondego River, a 161-mile waterway in the Northern part of the country. There’s no room for spillover, causing damage to historic buildings, evacuations, and state of emergency declarations for surrounding towns. But lately, the floods happen more frequently than every few years.
“There is at least one extreme flood every five years. In the last two decades, we’ve had four major events, with spillovers from the dams impacting surrounding cities. In the past, we’ve tried different approaches to predict and avoid floods, predicting precipitation and inflows. With Tomorrow.io, we can get accurate data to provide better water management.” — Diego Cordiero
A More Resilient Climate Strategy with Tomorrow.io
Better data means a faster and less expensive response to any weather event.
“Our main challenge continues to be preparing for increasing weather volatility, while working toward 100% renewable utilities. We’re thinking long-term with our assets. When you purchase a power plant, you’re using it 50-70 years later. It means you need to have a global view about the risk of any specific project. Because of that, it’s very important to have the best and most accurate weather data.” — Allen Vasconcelos
Responding to the daily changes in weather means you need a climate resiliency strategy to succeed, one that starts with the right data — that’s where Tomorrow.io can help. As an energy leader, you already know how weather matters for your bottom line. But weather intelligence gives you the data you need to plan ahead, helping you become resilient and quickly prepare and adapt. You can turn the insights this platform provides into actions that help you minimize disruption.