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Q&A with Amperon: AI-powered Analytics for Power and Utility Companies

By Della Paula Asiko

Amperon leverages AI-powered forecasting and analytics to innovate the electricity grid. They provide a comprehensive platform for grid market participants to address challenges such as extreme weather, the growth of renewable energy, and evolving consumption patterns from electric vehicles and distributed generation. Amperon aims to enhance grid reliability, manage financial risks, optimise the integration of renewable energy, and support efforts towards decarbonisation. The FutureList team has been in contact with Morgan Harvey and Alex Robart from Amperon to get more insights on their innovation and here is how the conversation went.

The FutureList: Can you provide a concise overview of Amperon’s primary innovation or product offering and what inspired the development of this particular innovation?

Amperon provides AI-powered forecasting and data analytics software for power and utility companies – an essential tool to maintain a balanced grid to ensure the lights stay on. With the increase of renewable energy resources, shifts in load growth, and an increase in extreme weather events, power markets need AI-powered models that can process all of this new information – 15-minute meter data, weather locations, behind-the-meter devices, etc – on an hourly basis to provide the most accurate forecasts available. Amperon provides forecasts for energy demand, generation, and renewables – from individual meters to grid scale. 

The FutureList: How does your innovation address a unique need or challenge in the energy industry and what are the key features that set your innovation apart from others in the market?

We can break this down into two parts: Our approach to forecasting and how we handle weather data. 

Approach to forecasting: Conventional demand forecasting involves manual analysis of customer usage, basic customer profile patterns, and broad-scale weather patterns, and is either run on complicated spreadsheets (capable of crashing a desktop) or SQL databases. For many years, this approach to forecasting was generally sufficient when demand patterns remained consistent and predictable. But today’s electricity markets are anything but. That, coupled with the advancement of smart meters and behind-the-meter technologies, the underlying dynamics of forecasting have become much more complex. There are 90 million smart meters with 15-minute interval meter data in the US. But when you add some of the latest grid advancements, like rooftop solar, to the mix, demand forecasts now need to track the excess power being fed back to the grid, doubling the data requirement. On top of having to track both granular load and generation data, forecasts also have to calculate how weather affects solar panel production. Forecasts need more than temperature, but also cloud cover, dew points, humidity, and precipitation. And that’s just for rooftop solar. The variabilities grow even more complex when you add in EVs, batteries, back-up generation, and wind. By contrast, Amperon’s advanced demand forecasting uses cloud computing to enable a bottom-up approach to data management, collecting detailed consumption and generation data from thousands, or even millions, of smart meters. At the same time, it references real-time weather information from thousands of data points across a continent. Then it uses AI-powered systems to run multiple models to provide accurate forecasts. 

Weather data: Weather is one of the biggest indicators of energy demand, which is why we invested heavily in providing the best weather data available. Whereas most of our competitors use airport weather data, we use 40k+ data points every 1-5 km depending on population density. We have an in-house Ph.D., ex-NASA meteorologist to give valuable insights, while our award-winning data science team wrings as much signal out of the rawest data to provide the best forecasts. Because of this expertise, we are a trusted source for the top companies tackling the energy transition. 

The FutureList: How does the design of your innovation enhance its functionality and user experience?

At Amperon we take a user-centred approach to our product, ensuring that our customers – ranging from utilities and gentailers to financial institutions and renewable generators – are at the forefront of our design process. We speak with customers daily, reviewing prototypes, incorporating their feedback, and iterating to make sure their experience with our best-in-class forecasting product solves real-world challenges for their business. 

The FutureList: What challenges did you encounter during the innovation process, and how were they addressed?

Energy data is dirty. Every ISO, every state, every market handles energy data differently. Some have smart meters that offer 15-minute interval data with a 3-day delay. But other markets might have a 3-month lag. One of the biggest challenges was to figure out how to work between these different silos as the energy ecosystems is becoming more connected. Since launching in 2018, we built a robust data infrastructure for the energy transition. Our software ingests, manages, and analyses time-series electricity data from the different grids, meters, and weather platforms. Our models are then optimised, identifying the most influential parameters, most predictive data types, and optimal ensemble of models for each forecast. 

By making it easier for our customers to gain actionable insights into their usage, they can optimise their assets for advancements in rooftop solar, EVs, backup generation, and more. 

The FutureList: How has the community responded to your innovation, and how do you engage with your user base?

Amperon launched in 2018 and has seen immense growth – in the last 2 years alone we have grown by 5x. We serve the top financial institutions and power companies, and 9 of the top 10 retailer energy providers are our customers. Besides providing the most accurate and reliable data analytics to our customers, we have a strong customer success team. When our customer calls, we are quick to answer and address their issues. If it’s a simple question about a report or wanting a custom integration, we are here to provide the best solutions for our customer needs. This has resulted in a Net Promoter Score of 71.  

The FutureList: Where do you envision taking your innovation in the next 5-10 years?

Our focus for the next 5-10 years will be building solutions to modernise grid data and the AI software stack to improve reliability. We will focus on helping renewable generation asset owners optimise their operations to bring even more renewables online, as well as aid grid operators and end-users to accelerate their decarbonization efforts and improve the accuracy of enterprise carbon accounting.

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