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article image'System of Systems' helps utilities manage smart electrical grid Special

By Karen Graham     Apr 22, 2019 in Technology
With the advent of renewable energy resources, the modern electrical grid has become increasingly complex. One company, mPrest has developed a smart grid technology - "System of Systems." Digital Journal talked with Natan Barak, CEO and founder of mPrest.
mPrest's CEO, president, and co-founder, Natan Barak has over 35 years of experience in the development and management of complex defense projects involving computing, software, communications, and integration expertise. After serving in the Israeli Defense Force from 1980 until 2003, he retired and co-founded mPrest.
Mr. Barak talked with Digital Journal about the company's smart grid technology and its innovative approach to addressing and enhancing a utility's grid resiliency, efficiency, and flexibility.
Digital Journal: With so many sources of energy available today, what are the challenges for utility companies in managing the electrical grid?
Natan Barak: With the worldwide adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs), many utilities are still making do with older grid management systems, and this makes it difficult to integrate solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage into the mix. It has created new challenges in managing multi-directional energy flow and in handling the shifts in supply and demand.
The new energy solutions, including distributed battery storage, electric vehicles, and distributed solar and wind have created special challenges for utilities. Each system has its own management application, and quite often, these applications are not connected to the main control room management application.
With mPrest's AI and machine learning platform as part of its System of Systems (SOS), this allows for advanced load and forecasting engines to overcome expected and unexpected events. The mPrest software platform also integrates older (legacy) hardware with new hardware and IT applications.
Digital Journal: Modernizing the electrical grid can be expensive and quite often, consumers are left with rising electric rates because the cost of modernization is passed on. How does your system differ for utilities when it comes to cost?
Barak: Upgrading systems can be extremely expensive and time-consuming, sometimes taking several years. Naturally, utility companies prefer not to undertake time-consuming projects like that. Another worry is that software projects can also be time-consuming and there is the added risk of changes in the project requirements or even the replacement of existing systems.
With SOS software, companies can avoid extra costs and time-consuming risks. Modernizing a grid doesn't need to take several years. With our platform, modernization of a company's electrical grid can be done in three months - and certainly less than four months.
We really can't wait any longer. As renewables continue to take a bigger percentage of energy resources, we have to address aging grid infrastructure now, rather than later. And using artificial intelligence as well as machine learning has made it easier to go forward with modernizing to a smart electrical grid.
More about mPrest, system of systems, Utilities, Smart grid, Artificial intelligence
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