Digital Transformation in Energy Industry- Energy 4.0


Impact of Industry 4.0

Digital transformation in the energy industry is the single biggest enabler of that change. Increased use of renewables, resiliency issues and concerns of sustainability are just a few of the drivers behind the industry’s need to transform – and digitise.

The most critical components of infrastructure, crucial for the economic growth and people welfare is Electrical Power. Energy management and development of adequate infrastructure is essential for sustained growth of the Indian economy. To achieve “Power to all”, GW are required to be made available to provide electricity to remote places in India. India’s power sector is one of the most diversified in the world. Sources of power generation range from conventional sources such as coal, natural gas,oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable non-conventional sources such as wind, solar and agricultural and domestic waste. Electricity demand in the country has increased rapidly and exponentially, hence massive addition to the installed generating capacity is required.

Currently, as the leading industrialized economies move to intelligent manufacturing, called Industry 4.0, there is a growing impact on the energy sector, may be referred to as Energy 4.0, which incorporates the period of mechanization, the gas and oil era, and the new digital revolution with renewable energy era.

Energy 4.0, a buzzword used to denote the digital revolution in Power Sector.

Generation, distribution, consumption and smart production of energy – all of these are going to experience an enormous revolutionary change due to technologies as big data, IOT and cloud computing, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Augmented reality, Virtual reality, Digital Twin, Robots and automation, Blockchain- the main technological pillars of the revolution termed as Industry 4.0..

It is essential for the Power industry to generate, distribute, manage, and offer the consumers the best of the technical and commercial service, and also the uninterrupted quality power.

The next step is revisiting the processes that energy and utilities companies do business, engage their customers and interact with them. Industry 4.0 is a concept that is known well in the world of manufacturing. This “fourth industrial revolution” incorporates automation and real time data that is used for optimization of production, enhanced flexibility and efficiency within a smart factory environment, predictive maintenance and achieving minimum downtime of equipment. The energy and utilities sector is embracing such emerging innovations as the Internet of Things, Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial intelligence and cloud computing. The digital revolution—referred to as Energy 4.0—involves these advances to build smart grids, manage renewable energy and distributed generation, understanding usage pattern, demand side REAL time management, and consumer engagement.

Platforms for rapidly connecting the plants through sensors to hardware ,software to integrating business-driven solutions with huge corporate systems, with an emphasis on internal reliability and ecological safety and also the Data security and data management. Digitalization presents opportunities for Energy 4.0 companies to establish new collaborative business models and sustainable strategies of producing and delivering and also managing energy.
Internet of things solutions incorporate machines/ devices and data analysis to achieve the requirements to operational efficiency, set forth by energy businesses. Decision-making is improved by actionable data, and reduce risk factors. Their supply chains are also increasingly influenced by the digitalization, which positively affects related industries as well.

Digital transformation is reshaping the energy industry

Digital transformation in the energy industry is the single biggest enabler of that change. Increased use of renewables, resiliency issues and concerns of sustainability are just a few of the drivers behind the industry’s need to transform – and digitise. The ‘digital twin’ version of the physical power plant monitors every asset, and capable of providing an intelligent response with analytics that trigger the appropriate actions from a service and maintenance perspective. Cyber physical systems, networking and real time data enable the recording of dynamic states of the systems. The ability to develop plans based on real time data analytics will be revolutionary, making plants smart, capable of reacting to change more efficiently, in terms of cost and capacity.

Distributed generation, where companies can shift power production closer to the point of consumption through solar tiles or wind farms. This becomes possible because the technology is now intelligent enough to plan, service and manage even the remotest of assets 24×7.

24×7 Devices management and predictable system behaviour

Increased automation, certainly the use of sensors on turbines/any devices in the systems,could not just identify how to squeeze more power out of existing machinery, but also monitor the performance and potential failure of equipment. It’s about monitoring and control of equipments, creating insights from real time data analytics to control losses and wastage. Sensors can now monitor burners and generators in real time sending data back over a cloud-based IT system to a central data pool, from where data is analysed automatically by specialist software. Safety of equipment, electrical and fire hazards, spares management and other risk factors can be dealt promptly.

Field service teams have intelligence at their fingertips, often knowing in advance which particular piece of machinery is likely to fail and which part is needed, reducing down time and costs.

Opportunities and challenges

The digital revolution in the power industry. Renewables, distributed generation, and smart grids demand new capabilities and are triggering new business models and regulatory frameworks.The opportunities are present all along the power-industry value chain, from generation to customer relationship management. Many utilities have launched mobile applications for bill notification, presentment, customer care, and payment, as well as for outage management

Challenges and issues:

Data driven architecture. Data security and data management is a major challenge.
Technical challenges- related with integration of several devices or resources with grid network and includes – Inadequacies in grid infrastructure, cyber security, energy storage concerns, data management, communication issues, stability concerns, energy management Social and economic challenges – The socio-economic challenges include – high capital investment, stakeholder’s engagement, system operation aspects, lack of awareness, and fear of obsolescence, new tariffs, regulation and policies, power theft, expertise of work force, business market, economists as well as consumers.


For any system to be effective and efficient, there should be minimal or no dependency on any of the external support system.Digital optimization can boost profitability by 20 to 30 percent.

Smart grid enables– loss reduction, real time granular level energy audit, precise interventions for power theft detection and load curtailment, making 24×7 power accessible by load limiters for rationing power supply,introducing dynamic pricing, rooftop solar generating green energy at user end and net metering using smart meters, value-added services for smart city such as 24×7 continuous monitoring of the system. Analytics for Demand Forecasting, Analytics for Energy Auditing, Analytics for fraud detection and loss reduction, Analytics for forecasting renewable generation, remote monitoring, control and operation, ensure a shift from unpredictable systems to predictable systems.

Article by Mohini Sudumbrekar, M.E. (EE), Trainer, Consultant, Mentor 

Mohini Sudumbrekar, M.E. (EE), Trainer, Consultant, Mentor
Mohini Sudumbrekar, M.E. (EE), Trainer, Consultant, Mentor

Result oriented, Multitalented, Inspiring Mentor, Trainer & Industry 4.0 Consultant, with 39 years of field experience, & Multidisciplinary exposure specialized in –

  • CNC, SPM design, Automation, Robotics, IOT, Product Design, Project management, Industry 4.0, Procurement 4.0, Maintenance 4.0, Industry 5.0, Instructional Design, Auto Electronics, Electric Vehicles, 9 Pillars of Industry 4.0, AI ML,
  • Digital transformation & Future workforce & Skills requirements, Analyzing the current digital landscape and technology infrastructure of the organization for Digital transformation & Industry 4.0 implementation,Capture & understand existing systems & employee experience, suggest suitable changes,
  • Driving change management for top management and functional leaders
  • Understand customer expectation and experience

B.E. from VNIT Nagpur 1980, M.E. – COEP,1994, Pune, Best All-rounder Merit Student of University, Distinguished achievements in Academics as merit scholar, & sports, Vocal Music, Elocution.

Professional experience has been a remarkable journey in achieving excellence in number of areas and on international projects.


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