Robotics in Energy: Automation as the Driving Force of Energy Production and Distribution

As technology advances, the energy sector persistently strives to find new and more efficient ways of production, transmission, and distribution of energy. In recent years, robotics has started to play a crucial role in this process, transforming the face of the energy sector, and enhancing efficiency, safety, and reliability.


Robotics in Energy Production

Energy production is a complex process, requiring constant supervision and maintenance. The use of robots in this area brings many benefits. An example can be automation in the renewable energy sector, including wind and solar power plants.

According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2023, the efficiency of wind and solar energy production has increased by 20% over the past five years thanks to the application of robotics. Robots assist in the installation and maintenance of equipment, eliminating human errors and increasing efficiency.

In the nuclear energy sector, robots are invaluable. They are used to carry out dangerous tasks, such as cleaning and inspecting reactors, which are too dangerous for humans. For example, in 2022, robots were used to inspect the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which helped in assessing the condition of the power plant and planning repair work.


Robotics in Energy Distribution


The energy distribution process also benefits from the advantages of automation. An example is the application of robots in managing transmission networks, where they assist in maintaining and repairing transmission lines.

In the USA, according to data from the Federal Energy Commission in 2023, about 30% of maintenance work on transmission lines is now carried out with the help of robots. These automated systems are able to quickly detect and repair faults, significantly shortening the duration of power outages.

Robots are also used to create smart grids. By applying advanced sensors and algorithms, robots can monitor and adjust the energy distribution in the network, enhancing efficiency and reducing losses.


Automation in Offshore Wind Farms

Furthermore, one of the more innovative and fascinating applications of automation in the energy sector is the use of robots in offshore wind farms. Such farms are often located several kilometers off the coast, making regular maintenance and repairs challenging. Weather conditions, such as strong wind and waves, can pose additional challenges to workers.

However, with the help of robots, these problems become less significant. For example, Danish company Vestas, one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers, implemented an automated inspection and maintenance system for its offshore turbines in 2022. Using drones equipped with advanced cameras and sensors, this system is able to detect damages and imperfections that may be invisible to the human eye.

Robots are then used to carry out necessary repairs, both inside and outside the turbines. All this takes place without direct human involvement, significantly reducing the risk of workplace accidents and costs associated with transporting workers to the site.

The results are impressive. Vestas reports that this system has allowed for a reduction of turbine downtime by 30% and a shortening of the time needed for repairs by 25%. This is a prime example of how automation can revolutionize the way energy is produced and maintained, contributing to increased efficiency and safety.


Implementation of G1ANT Automation in the Energy Sector

A German energy supplier, holding about 20% share in the industrial and commercial gas market, and about 30% share in the sales of electricity to residential and commercial customers, faced a problem related to outsourcing costs as well as processing and handling invoices.

In response to these challenges, the company decided to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA) using G1ANT technology. The aim was to optimize processes, cost savings, speed up payments, and reduce indebtedness.

The use of robots enabled the company to scale its business and reduce handling time and error rates. The use of RPA extended to various functions of the company, including sales, finance, ICT and HR.

The whole implementation process took 64 days, resulting in savings of 400 working hours per day, and the quarterly investment cost amounted to 10852 euros. The return on investment (ROI) reached a level of 170%, and error reduction was 90%.

For example, one of the robots operated in MS Office programs, communicated with the company's external network provider, solved problems with a lack of meter reading in SAP ERP, and communicated with third-party sites. Using the robot outside of working hours allowed the company to quickly scale up operations, reduce handling time, and lower error rates.

Additionally, the implementation of RPA allowed for automated reading of emails from suppliers and contractors and automatic downloading of invoices along with attachments. The data from invoices were automatically processed, which increased the efficiency and quality of data processing.

As a result, the company successfully reduced the processing time of fuel costs, minimized employee frustrations related to handling invoices, and also avoided penalty costs resulting from payment delays. The implementation of RPA contributed to achieving substantial savings and increasing the company's operational efficiency.


The Future of Robotics in Energy

The potential of robotics in the energy sector is enormous. This technology has the potential not only to improve efficiency but also to reduce the risk associated with working in dangerous conditions, especially in the nuclear energy industry and on hard-to-reach transmission lines.

According to forecasts from the World Energy Association, by 2030 over 50% of production and distribution processes in energy will be using robots. It is predicted that the application of robotics will contribute to reducing energy production costs by 20-30%, which will have a beneficial impact on energy prices for consumers.

However, these changes are associated with challenges such as the need to create appropriate legal regulations or threats to jobs. Nonetheless, the ability to adapt and technological advancement may bring more benefits than potential problems.


Conclusion

Robotics brings significant benefits to the energy sector, despite existing challenges such as the need to create appropriate legal regulations and potential threats to jobs. Forecasts indicate a continuous increase in the share of robotics in energy processes, with the possibility of reducing energy production costs by 20-30% by 2030. Robotics also has the potential to increase job safety, especially in nuclear energy and transmission lines. Finally, the successful application of RPA in a German energy company shows how automation can bring significant savings and increase operational efficiency.

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