German multinational energy company E.ON has become the first utility in Europe to partner with IBM Quantum to manage decentralised energy systems using quantum computing.
The partnership comes at a time global utilities are struggling to efficiently manage grid networks due to increased penetration of renewable and distributed energy resources.
The ability of quantum computers to provide new and advanced computational approaches, which are not provided by ordinary computers, is expected to help energy industry players address energy transition challenges, according to a statement.
For instance, quantum computing can be used to manage the bidirectional flow of energy as utility business models evolve to where the role of prosumers in ensuring the reliability of grid networks continues to increase.
In addition, quantum computers can be used for real-time management of flexible energy from electric vehicles and to ensure managed and optimised charging of EVs to avoid straining the grid.
Using quantum computing, utilities can ensure the management of EV charging infrastructure in near-real-time.
As a partner of IBM Quantum, E.ON will have access to IBM’s quantum computing systems, via the IBM Cloud, as well as to IBM’s quantum expertise and Qiskit quantum software developer tools.
The partnership forms part of efforts by E.ON to accelerate its use of digital technologies to enhance the management of its grid network, to prepare for future business cases and to improve customer services.
Victoria Ossadnik, chief digital officer at E.ON, said: “For E.ON, the innovative use of quantum computing offers an opportunity to solve complex and cross-system optimization tasks in the energy transition in an innovative way.”
Gregor Pillen, general manager IBM DACH, adds: “Utilities play a critical role in helping industries, companies and consumers achieve net-zero targets.
“However, realizing that requires sophisticated technologies to help utilities better predict and optimize the grid to meet demand, as well as increase the use of clean, renewable energy. Quantum computing offers the computing capabilities to help utilities navigate this new, more sustainable future.”