SAPNBusiness | How AI can mitigate RSA’s energy crisis

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South Africa presents itself as the perfect candidate for the Xpress Optimization as it has had an ongoing energy crisis leading to load shedding, dating back to 2007. There have been four periods of scheduled outages varying in their terms since the inception. According to the CSIR Energy Centre, load-shedding has cost the economy as much as R338-billion; in 2019 alone, the country experienced 530 hours without power, at a cost of up to R120-billion.

The energy industry is rapidly expanding its use of mathematical optimization across a wide array of business areas, from supply chain management to clean energy production, The adoption of FICO Xpress Optimization at the enterprise level will streamline and improve energy providers existing decision processes while building on the success of previous projects,” said Mark Collingwood, FICO vice president for decision management solutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mark Collingwood – FICO Vice President for decision management solutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REI4P) was introduced as part of the Integrated Resource Programme 2010-30. Its objective was for 17.8GW of renewable energy to be produced in South Africa before 2030. The plan was later updated to diversify the energy mix to address the insufficient energy capacity problem. But despite these efforts, South Africa finds itself on the backfoot as the COVID19 outbreak has forced the country pause to load-shedding which was expected to continue for a further few months to ease the load on the energy suppliers. But what are energy providers across the world doing to optimise energy efficiency in a world that faces challenges in optimising power supplies to an ever-expanding global economy?

The FICO® Xpress Optimization has the ability to move to compute of even the largest energy providers to the cloud, develop new business opportunities and power up global decisioning processes. With Xpress’s flexible licencing model, global energy providers, such as Uniper, are now able to upscale cloud infrastructure as needed, delivering faster results and creating new business opportunities. for more information, you can check out: https://www.fico.com/xpress

Uniper needs the smartest technology available to inform our energy production decisions, which is why Xpress models run at the core of a number of our decision processes, The first-class service we’ve received from the FICO team for the past 20 years only cemented our recent decision to upgrade our Xpress solution to enterprise-level. FICO has earned its reputation as a leader in optimization technology,” said Colin Silvester, Senior Modelling Expert at Uniper.


Uniper has used FICO® Xpress Optimization on seven previous projects to maximize value from volatile energy markets over the past 20 years. With this enterprise-level upgrade, Uniper will be able to expand its existing projects:
• Energy storage modelling: Uniper can now base its energy storage valuations on a combination of multiple income streams. This new ability to identify both complementary and mutually exclusive income streams is helping Uniper develop more robust business cases.
• Energy asset management: Uniper is now able to offer its expertise on predictive maintenance in power plants to other energy providers worldwide which open up new revenue streams.
• Commercial optimization of heat and power assets: The FICO® Xpress Mosel modelling language allows Uniper to include heat constraints and assets into its power optimization model, in order to maximize electricity production while meeting heat obligations. About FICO FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 195 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of aeroplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

By: Bradley Brizzy
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