Why AI and energy are the new power couple

(IEA Newsroom, 2 Nov 2023) Managing the grids of the future will require more powerful analytical tools, with a critical role for AI.

Power systems are becoming vastly more complex as demand for electricity grows and decarbonisation efforts ramp up. In the past, grids directed energy from centralised power stations. Now, power systems increasingly need to support multi-directional flows of electricity between distributed generators, the grid and users. The rising number of grid-connected devices, from electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to residential solar installations, makes flows less predictable. Meanwhile, links are deepening between the power system and the transportation, industry, building and industrial sectors. The result is a vastly greater need for information exchange – and more powerful tools to plan and operate power systems as they keep evolving.

This need arrives just as the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) applications are rapidly progressing. As machine learning models have become more advanced, the computational power required to develop them has doubled every five to six months since 2010. AI models can now reliably provide language or image recognition, transform audio sounds into analysable data, power chatbots and automate simple tasks.

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IEA Newsroom, 2 Nov 2023: Why AI and energy are the new power couple