Any Artificial Intelligence is only as smart as its data. This is one of the biggest sticking points. The topics of data protection and data security are some of the greatest weak points for the use of Artificial Intelligence.
Those who are connected digitally and intelligently reveal a lot about themselves and the system becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. In 2018, the German Federal Office for Security (BSI) observed that the number of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure tripled in comparison to the previous year.
Energy supply and the entire energy system are part of this critical infrastructure. This is why cybersecurity is becoming more and more important today and in the future in order to protect the highly networked power grid from attacks and data theft from the outside. There are already strict security requirements for participants in the electricity market in the area of data protection and data security, though.
Contrary to the widespread opinion that AI makes the power grid less secure, AI can make an important contribution in the fight against cyberattacks. It can quickly check large amounts of data and thus detect deviations. AI can also draw conclusions from past cyberattacks. Machine Learning has already achieved great success in this area, for example in the detection and defense of Trojans.
Many end users are critical of Artificial Intelligence, especially in relation to smart home technologies. This is understandable, because the data of the most private space that reveals a lot about its users is collected. Studies have shown that the biggest obstacle to the acceptance of smart meters is fear of revealing private information without knowing exactly how it is used. These fears are justified, as there is still no regulation on how to handle this sensitive data, which is important for the electricity system of the future.
Germany and the EU are trying to curb data access by private companies, as is happening in the USA and China, for example. The EU Commission has therefore developed four basic ethical principles for AIs: AI should respect human autonomy, avoid social harm, be fair, and be explainable. You can read these guidelines here. Especially the aspect of explainability will become more and more difficult with stronger and self-developing AIs.
In order to give the energy industry and in particular end consumers more confidence in the AI, it must be clearly communicated how the data is used and by whom, and data security must be guaranteed.
Another criticism of AI is the power consumption of Artificial Intelligence itself. The processing of large amounts of data consumes a lot of electricity. When using AI for energy system transformation, it is crucial to analyze as well how to design the data centers themselves to be energy-efficient and as climate-neutral as possible. Possible solutions to this dilemma include the physical proximity of data centers and renewable energy generation plants, the postponement of power-intensive computing operations to times when a lot of power is available, more energy-efficient IT hardware, or programming that requires as little computing power as possible.
In the energy industry, AI offers a multitude of suitable application scenarios that will support the energy transition and a climate-friendly energy system. It will be crucial, however, to protect user data and make the use of AI transparent and comprehensible.
Disclaimer: Next Kraftwerke does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy and actuality of the information provided. This article is for information purposes only and does not replace individual legal advice.
All about our Products and Services
With the rise of renewables all over the world, we are facing a gigantic transformation of the global energy system. The Virtual Power Plant answers the demands of the decentralized energy world and opens up new business prospects for its participants and, of course, RES aggregators. We help you utilize them in the best possible way.