Advanced analytics in the energy industry: opportunities and challenges in Spain

The energy industry is one of the most important sectors of the Spanish economy. In 2022, the sector represented 11.6% of national GDP and 14.3% of employment. However, the sector is also one of the most energy-intensive, which poses a challenge for environmental sustainability and competitiveness.

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Advanced analytics is a key element to address these challenges, since, through the analysis of large amounts of data, advanced analytics can help companies in the sector improve energy efficiency, reduce operating costs and optimize production.

Opportunities for advanced analytics in the energy industry

Advanced analytics is a tool that allows companies to extract value from data and is based on the use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and data processing techniques to identify patterns and trends that are not visible at first sight.

This is why advanced analytics offers energy companies various opportunities for performance improvement. For example, in the field of energy efficiency, you can develop solutions that allow you to identify and correct failures in your production, distribution, planning or demand management processes. Which translates into saving energy consumption, reducing waste and, consequently, reducing financial and environmental costs.

On the other hand, advanced analytics can also contribute to the identification of new markets and business opportunities, either with the development of new services and/or products or expansion into new sectors.

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Challenges of advanced analytics in the energy industry

Despite the opportunities it offers, advanced analytics also presents a number of challenges. Like the availability of data, the possible results improve when large amounts of high-quality data are obtained and in many cases having this data is complicated due to its accessibility and even sensitive if there are privacy requirements. On the other hand, the implementation of advanced analytics requires teams that have specialized technical knowledge and skills, which can limit the adoption of these technologies within companies.

Likewise, if we add the need for the aforementioned data and the need for specialized human capital, the implementation of this type of tools can become very expensive, which in many cases represents an obstacle.

Both in Europe and Spain, advanced analytics has been gaining ground in the energy sector and as a consequence a series of initiatives have been launched to promote the adoption of these technologies.

One of the most notable initiatives is the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which includes a line of aid for the digitalization of the energy sector. This is why in many cases this aid is intended for the implementation of advanced analytics solutions to improve energy efficiency, reduce operating costs and optimize production.

Another important initiative is the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, which establishes ambitious goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve these goals, energy companies will need to adopt innovative technologies, such as advanced analytics.

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In conclusion, advanced analytics offers great potential for the energy industry in Spain. The adoption of these technologies can help companies improve their performance, reduce their environmental impact and contribute to the energy transition. Therefore, it is expected that in the coming years there will be greater adoption of these tools in both the public and private sectors.

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2022 annual report of the Spanish Association of Network Operators (REE),10-11.
Alonso, R., & Fernández, M. P. (2022). Advanced analytics in the energy industry: opportunities and challenges. Journal of Industrial Engineering, 43(2), 211-222.
Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO). (2022). Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. Madrid: MITECO.
European Commission. (2022). Advancing digital transformation in the energy sector. Bruselas: European Commission.