Cherry Bekaert Joins Global Energy Leaders To Discuss Emerging Technologies at CERAWEEK

calendar iconApril 9, 2024

In March, Cherry Bekaert joined thousands of leaders from across the globe in Houston to explore technologies and strategies for energy transition. Known as Houston’s “Super Bowl of energy,” the annual conference spun off from the energy research firm Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), which was founded 41 years ago in Cambridge, Mass.

This year’s event featured at least 1,400 speakers, discussing strategies for a multidimensional, energy transition. Topics evolved around responding to growing demand for emissions reductions to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI).

At Cherry Bekaert, we are at the forefront of digital solutions for energy companies, bringing together regulatory, industry, and technology expertise and solutions to accelerate the digital and sustainability journey. Below, we’ll unpack some of the highlights from the conference.

AI Propelling Intelligent Energy

AI was a popular topic at CERAWEEK. Most speakers agreed that now is the time to adopt and leverage AI, warning that organizations that don’t embrace AI will get left behind.

AI will enable the transition to clean energy, improving production and pinpointing emission sources. With the integration of cutting-edge AI technologies, like machine learning and cognitive services, organizations can gain valuable insight for driving important decisions.

The ability to identify and respond to abnormal emissions events in real-time through visual intelligence allows for improved prevention of environmental incidents and reduced emissions intensity. Additionally, insights predict future emissions and provide valuable intelligence for the journey towards decarbonization.

This type of technology can revolutionize the energy value chain from the digital oil field to the connected consumer. It also empowers organizations to achieve superior customer and social outcomes as a sustainable energy operator and service provider.

Other benefits of using AI to reimagine energy include but are not limited to:

  • Reducing unplanned plant downtime
  • Managing safety systems
  • Forecasting energy demand
  • Improving worker productivity
  • Managing power generation and delivery

AI is an important tool and a logical progression for developing new products, systems and processes that can fundamentally help our world tackle energy challenges. Now is the time for organizations to start making investments in AI. We offer services and digital platforms that harness the power of AI applications such as Microsoft Copilot or Tableau Pulse to create more efficiencies and bolster bottom-line results.

Managing Your Carbon Footprint

The words “net zero” were repeated countless times at CERAWEEK. Net zero can be defined as cutting carbon emissions to a small number of residual emissions that can be absorbed and durably stored by nature, as well as other carbon dioxide removal measures, leaving zero in the atmosphere.

Why is this important? In 2021, the United States rejoined the Paris Agreement, which sets an ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. To reach the target of having no net emissions by 2050, there must be an increase in the amount of money invested annually in clean energy worldwide.

The scope of carbon management encompasses the advancement of technologies and strategies aimed at addressing difficult-to-reduce industrial emissions as well as legacy emissions.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management goals are to enhance carbon management efficiency, decrease expenses, and expand the implementation of technologies for the purpose of decarbonizing the power and industrial sectors, as well as withdrawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Tracking data is critical to carbon management. Microsoft Power BI apps can help organizations with this task. For instance, organizations can gain visibility using a carbon reporting dashboard to understand greenhouse gas emissions. As a Microsoft Partner, we can help your organizations enable insights with Power BI.

Additionally, technologies like Microsoft Sustainability or Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud can help organizations with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) mandates. We are also an official solution partner of both technologies.

At CERAWEEK, Microsoft unveiled the Energy Transition Studio for Startups. The purpose of this initiative is to empower more energy transition-tech and climate-tech focused startups to create cutting-edge solutions on the Microsoft Cloud. Additionally, Microsoft highlighted Azure Data Manager for Energy, which helps energy companies gain actionable insights and improve operational efficiency.

The Power of Smart Grid Technology

The grid of the future is digital and interconnected. Think of it as being a multilane superhighway and the world has entered a new era of grid awareness and connectivity. Planning the grid of the future requires data accuracy so that organizations and consumers will be confident in insights enabled by modern software.

Investing in clean energy and transmission infrastructure is key to the success of smart grids. A 2023 study, “Accelerating Clean Energy Ambition,” by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), shines light on what is necessary and possible.

The report examined four primary scenarios. Two of these scenarios focused on achieving a net-zero economy by 2050, while the other two were reference cases with and without the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure and Jobs Act. The net-zero pathways were based on the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) projected demand for energy services.

The low-demand net-zero scenario included reductions in energy demand beyond what could be achieved through energy efficiency measures and technological advancements alone. Both net-zero scenarios require significant expansion of the transmission system to meet the growing demand from the electrification of other sectors, the integration of high levels of wind and solar power, and the delivery of that power to consumers.

Our organization is leading the way in smart grid technology by teaming with PXiSE Energy Solutions, a Yokogawa Company, to offer solutions and services for utilities, energy service providers, and organizations deploying PXiSE technologies. We provide support with up-front planning and determining how and where to start. We then programmatically help organizations through implementation, organizational change management and benefits realization management.

PXiSE enables utilities, campuses, and communities to hit their clean energy goals by giving grid operators the control they need to manage unlimited renewables and distributed energy resources (DERs) while still providing safe and reliable power.

Meeting Data Requirements To Scale Energy Resources

Energy companies rely heavily on accurate data to make decisions. Ensuring your IT systems are data-ready is a critical step in transitioning to new technologies. In many cases, data centers need to be redesigned to optimize the full capabilities of new platforms and technology.

We help organizations adopt new technologies to meet data requirements. For instance, we can collaborate with your organization to move to cloud-based systems like Microsoft Azure, a computing platform that easily scales resources for organizations. Azure is widely used across industries in the following areas:

  • AI
  • Machine learning
  • Store and analyze data
  • Run applications
  • Software development

Microsoft had a strong presence at CERAWEEK. Having stepped into the energy sector, Microsoft is emphasizing the data readiness of equipment for smooth transition into new technologies. For many energy companies, this means redefining and optimizing data centers, preparing data for the cloud, and extending presence to edge-based platforms. Innovative platforms and technologies include AI-based tools like Azure OpenAI, blockchain technology, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) platforms and data analytics using Power BI. Even quantum computing for complex calculations is on the horizon.

We also work with companies to implement infrastructure and platform Microsoft solutions, automate workflows with Microsoft Power Automate, customize applications with Microsoft Power Apps, and enable insights with Power BI.

Enhance Your Energy Digital Journey

Cherry Bekaert is accelerating the pace of digital adoption for energy companies like yours. We offer solutions and bundled offerings that can meet your unique business needs, including:

  • Carbon Accounting & Reporting Solutions
  • Inflation Reduction Act Credits & DOE Funding Opportunities
  • Digital Platforms, Integrations & Reports/Dashboards
  • Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) and Other Funding & Subside Opportunities
  • Productization, Technology Enablement, Marketplace Listing Services & Joint Go-to-Market

We look forward to collaborating with you to unlock business opportunities with innovative solutions.

Questions? Contact Us