AES Ohio inaugurates Smart Operations Center to fulfil digital transformation journey

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US utility AES Ohio has announced the completion of its Smart Operations Center as part of the company’s efforts to develop, test and embed innovative solutions for reliable grid operations.

J.P. Nauseef, the CEO of JobsOhio, an economic development agency, said: “The opening of the AES Smart Operations Center in Ohio – the first of its kind in the United States – will launch a new era of innovative energy solutions that will reverberate across America.

“This facility represents AES’ longstanding commitment to the digital transformation of the energy industry, positioning Ohio at the leading edge of smart grid technology and sustainable, reliable power generation.”

The facility is located in Dayton and will be used by the utility as a research and development centre as well as a testbed for solutions that can accelerate the energy transition and the use of low-carbon energy solutions in the US and globally.

Bernerd Da Santos, the executive vice president of AES, added that the facility will serve the utility’s global innovation needs and has been sited in Davos owing to the city’s dedication to the development of digital solutions for the energy sector.

He said the facility will enable the utility to enhance customer services through the provision of new and advanced offerings.  

AES Ohio will employ new engineers and data scientists at the facility and in the process, help create new jobs and revive the economy from the impact of COVID-19.

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The energy company says it will leverage data analytics technologies from the centre to enhance its management of distributed assets.

The facility integrates operations and technologies deployed at the energy company’s Global Performance Monitoring and Analytics Center (PMAC) and Remote Operations and Control Center (ROCC) for US-based generation assets.

The need to establish the facility and decentralise operations at PMAC and ROCC is a testimony of the company’s heavy reliance on data and smart grid technologies to remain competitive in an increasingly changing energy landscape.

Smart grid deployment is a key focus for AES Ohio for the utility to achieve its smart energy plan, according to a statement in which the energy firm announced the approval of its $249 million grid modernisation proposal. By upgrading its infrastructure and technologies, AES Ohio says it will be able to achieve its decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation goals.

The Public Utility Commission of Ohio provided AES Ohio with a greenlight to upgrade advanced metering infrastructure, install grid self-healing technologies and provide consumers with energy efficiency solutions and to expand its electric vehicles programme as part of efforts to enhance grid resilience.

The utility states the project will reduce the occurrence and duration of outages, will improve communication with customers and enable the provision of personalized customer services.