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Artificial intelligence companies leading the way in the power industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and it has an impact on all our lives.  

However, years of bold proclamations have resulted in AI becoming overhyped, with reality often falling short of the world-altering promises.  

The coming years will be more about practical uses of AI, as businesses ensure return on investment by using AI to address specific cases.  

Power Technology’s artificial intelligence in power dashboard covers all you need to know about this emerging technology and its impact on the sector.

Ukraine conflict impact on artificial intelligence in the power industry 

The power sector, especially in Europe is expected to be impacted due to gas availability and price issues. Utilities will have to look for alternate sources of gas or shift to other sources of generation. AI in power industry usage is likely to be impacted alongside many other corporate tools.

The recent ban on Russian oil and gas supplies will have a varied impact on both the buying and selling nations. Russia is an important source of energy supply for the US and European countries.  

Pressure on the Western Bloc to impose more sanctions on Russian energy imports due to civilian killings in Ukraine by Russian Army. Fuel prices (such as for oil) have increased due to talks of a boycott of Russian oil.  

Energy companies continue to exit or halt operations in Russia due to increasing pressure to cut ties amid civilian killings in Ukraine.  

The electric vehicle and energy storage market will be impacted due to a shortage of nickel and an increase in commodity prices.  

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published ‘A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas’, providing short-term measures and claiming that the EU could cut Russian gas imports by more than 33%.  

It also advocates for gas-to-coal switching that could account for the majority of the potential reduction in gas demand.

Market forecast for artificial intelligence in power industry companies 

GlobalData estimates that the global AI platform market will be worth $52bn in 2024, up from $28bn in 2019.  

Total spending on AI technology is certainly higher, but it is difficult to estimate. There are two main reasons for this.  

Firstly, AI is an intrinsic part of many applications and functions, making it almost impossible to identify revenue explicitly generated by AI.  

Secondly, the range of sub-sets and technologies that make up AI can be challenging to locate and track. In general, valuations of the overall AI market range from a few billion dollars to several trillion, depending on the source.  

Rather than attempting to size the market, some companies have tried to forecast its economic impact. A PwC report in 2017 estimated that AI would add $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and boost global GDP by up to 14%.  

Global AI platform revenue will reach $52bn by 2024, up from $28bn in 2019. 

Competitive landscape for artificial intelligence in power 

The competitive landscape for AI is highly fragmented. Companies are investing considerable sums, and there is a swath of innovative AI start-ups that possess innovative expertise.  When it comes to the use of artificial intelligence in power industry terms, the competition is constant.

Yet, there is no denying that companies with access to large repositories of data to power AI models are leading the development of AI.  

Big Tech excels in this regard, and several tech giants set the overall tone in AI. GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft), BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent), early-mover IBM, and the two hardware giants Intel and Nvidia are key players within the field. 

All industries are feeling the impact of AI, with established incumbents coming up against game-changing disruption from AI platforms developed either by technology giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft; or AI-focused start-ups, such as Lemonade, Trax, and Butterfly Network. 

Global leaders in artificial intelligence in the power industry 

It is not only companies that are making AI investment a priority, but countries as well.  

China is the most obvious example, having pledged to become the world leader in AI by 2030, but governments in several nations are backing large spending projects to make sure they do not miss out on AI’s positive effects. 

The US remains the dominant player in the development of AI technologies, accounting for almost one-third of AI platform revenues in 2019, according to GlobalData estimates. 

 In a 2019 report from the Center for Data Innovation that compared China, the European Union (EU), and the US in terms of their relative standing in the AI economy, the US came out on top in four out of the six categories of metrics that were examined, including talent, research, development, and hardware.  

China led in data and adoption, but its advantage in AI adoption was due to a strong position in a limited number of AI technologies such as facial recognition and smart surveillance.  

These are related to the government’s extensive use of surveillance and are unlikely to create benefits across the economy.  

The US and Europe have a sizable lead in terms of access to high-quality talent and research, and the US has the most AI start-ups and a more developed private equity and venture capital ecosystem.  

Therefore, while China is making considerable investments, the US’s structural advantages may even enable it to extend its lead. 

Emerging forces in artificial intelligence usage in power 

Discussions about the race for AI dominance tend to focus on the US and China, but other countries are also in the race. Japan has long been at the forefront of AI when it comes to robotics.  

The Japanese government released its AI strategy in 2017, and the country boasts a major AI investor in the form of Softbank, which, in 2019, created a $108bn fund to invest in AI companies and opened the Beyond AI institute in Tokyo, a $184m initiative to accelerate AI research in Japan. 

In the UK, AI companies secured a record £1.3bn ($1.7bn) of investments in 2019, according to a study by Crunchbase and Tech Nation.  

The UK has the second-highest number of AI companies globally, after the US, but most of those companies are small, making them a popular target for acquisition by the tech giants.  

Germany is a powerhouse when it comes to the uses of AI in the manufacturing, automotive, and industrial sectors. In 2018, France announced that it would invest €1.5bn ($1.8bn) in AI research until the end of 2022. 

Other countries that consider AI an important strategic initiative include South Korea, Russia, Canada, Israel, India, Sweden, Australia, and Singapore. 

AI-driven innovation in the power industry 

To best track the emergence and use of artificial intelligence in power, GlobalData tracks patent filings and grants, as well as companies that hold most patents in the field of artificial intelligence. 

AI job insights in the power industry 

Power Technology monitors live power company job postings mentioning artificial intelligence or those requiring similar skills. 

Jobs postings by power companies mentioning artificial intelligence in recent months. AI jobs tracker in the power sector looks at jobs posted, closed and active in the sector. 

Value chain for artificial intelligence companies in the power industry 

As illustrated by the value chain, big data – extremely large, diverse data sets that, when analysed in aggregate, reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions – plays a significant role in the development of AI technology.  

Big data is produced by all forms of digital activity: phone calls, emails, sensors, payments, social media posts, and much more.  

It is also produced by machines, both hardware and software, in the form of machine-to-machine exchanges of data.  

These exchanges are particularly important in the IoT (Internet of Things) era, where devices talk to each other without any form of human prompting.  

Once collected, big data is typically managed in data centres, either in the public cloud, in corporate data centres, or on end devices. Big data is covered in more detail in our Big Data report. 

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