The Benefits of Digital Twins in Utilities

Consider an unknown defect in the electric grid that could result in a blown transformer: With digital-twin technology, electric utilities can run simulations to uncover this defect and test what would happen to the grid under certain load conditions. This information helps companies optimize the grid so that even if a transformer goes down, it’s resilient enough to stave off any major outages.

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Electric utilities use digital twins to improve several key processes. In grid management, digital twins create models of electric grids, including power generation, transmission lines, and distribution networks, that give electric companies real-time visibility of performance as well as insights into potential issues. This protects assets from damage, such as lightning strikes. Digital twins also help electric utilities monitor the health and performance of transformers, substations, and other assets, permitting them to adjust maintenance schedules to reflect future needs.

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Published: Thursday, September 7, 2023 – 12:02

Beyond boosting operational efficiency, digital twins serve as powerful tools for risk mitigation. By digitizing a system and building digital-twin models, utilities can play “what if,” increasing pressure here and tweaking temperature there, simulating what will happen downstream before they actually implement a change in real life. In some scenarios, they might discover that such changes could be catastrophic. Thankfully, companies can run multiple simulations until they find the safest parameters for success. This ongoing feedback loop increases the turnaround of new changes while anticipating and managing potential risks.

The necessity of connectivity

Today, digital twins play a crucial role in enhancing the performance of electric, water, and gas utilities, and offer many transformative benefits, from real-time insights and data-driven decision making to predictive maintenance and asset management.

Digital-twin use cases in electric, water, and gas utilities


The Benefits of Digital Twins in Utilities

Why virtual replicas of physical objects and processes enable greater operational efficiency

Utilities can remain competitive and ensure continuous service to constituents by adopting digital-twin technology, which will play a key role in the larger shift toward digital transformation. The essence of digital transformation is improving energy generation and consumption by modeling and extracting insights in real time. Moreover, it involves taking information from the analog world (or the offline world) and bringing it online into the digital age to run real-time simulations and quickly respond to environmental changes. Ultimately, the end goal of digital twins—and digital transformation—is to transform legacy processes and systems, improve quality and efficiency, and reduce time, money, or energy waste.

منبع: twins help utilities spot anomalies and inefficiencies not only in machines but also in processes. Digital twins provide a holistic view of operations, giving utilities access to more information for data-driven decision making. Imagine someone trying to verify that their refrigerator has a consistent temperature. If they only measure the temperature once a day at the same time every day, they may get a consistent reading and assume everything is OK. However, when they measure throughout the day, they might notice that the temperature fluctuates outside of normal parameters, indicating a problem. In the same way, utility companies can use digital twins to measure a host of variables in real time and on a fine-grained timescale, allowing them to identify operational inefficiencies and optimize processes.