Originally published on June 1, 2020 by Power Engineering International
Power Engineering International interviewed James Johnston, Director of Wholesale Operations at Exelon and Jason Kram, Executive Vice President at Adapt2 Solutions about Exelon’s move to digitally transform their back office operations.
Exelon, one of the largest energy providers in the United States, and Adapt2 Solutions, a specialized software solutions company, are partnering to digitally transform Exelon’s back office wholesale operations into the cloud. The implementation includes replacing current legacy systems with an upgraded platform that will maintain 9 ISO markets for settlements operations and enhance operations using leading-edge technology including Azure cloud, big data, and AI. According to Adapt2, by migrating onto a single platform that they are providing, Exelon will have a holistic view into all North American energy markets for smarter, more integrated, operations. They will also incorporate several external calculations such as complex allocations into a base system supported by Adapt2 with continued enhancement of data analytics.
What are the benefits of moving to a cloud based settlement platform and how does this (or not) impact operations and collaboration further down the line into the DSO realm?
Adapt2: Moving to the cloud allows energy enterprises like Exelon to keep up with evolving market updates and fully utilize energy market data for market intelligence and data validation. There is also more room for collaboration and innovative thinking to find settlement discrepancies, identify anomalies, and streamline allocations. Further, by leveraging machine learning models available on the cloud, energy companies can better understand the daily needs and key data elements that are important to their company’s success.
Exelon: Moving to the cloud with Adapt2 has enhanced our partnership, through operational support that Adapt2 can anticipate versus being reactive to. When market downloads get interrupted or the ISOs/RTOs have communication issues, Adapt2 is able to alert us in many cases, as opposed to us alerting them. In addition, our technology platform can scale up and down readily as our use varies. Moving to a 3rd vendor-hosted platform gives us a known storage cost per year and virtually unlimited storage.
What kind of information can be extracted from the platform from a data perspective and what other data analyses are Exelon undertaking to ensure smooth operations and to determine their future capital requirements?
Adapt2: Exelon will receive market data on all 9 ISOs that they participate in to better buy, sell and manage energy wholesale operations. Both public market data and data private to Exelon is accessible within our data lake that allows Exelon to see trends, correlate attributes, and anticipate changing conditions that impact overall operations. By leveraging embedded AI, these trends and correlations will remain within the system and learned for future alerts.
Exelon: Any and all market data is present in the Adapt2 platform. We can readily create reports or do analysis to help our situational awareness and validate our transactions. The Microsoft based platform provides a level of familiarity and comfort for all users.
How is this feeding into Exelon’s plans for digitalisation and modernisation?
Adapt2: Adapt2 has taken Exelon’s settlements processes into the cloud and provided the latest technology platform for data lake and AI analysis of data. There are no silos of data in the Adapt2 platform and data is readily accessible. Adapt2 is aligning with Exelon Generation’s current initiatives in digital transformation.
Exelon: Looking to the future, it is critical for Exelon to differentiate our business with product innovation and diversification. Ease of use and a repository of all of our data that we can quickly access in real-time were key factors in our decision to work with Adapt2 Solutions. Energy businesses evolve rapidly and Adapt2 provides an architecture and solution that allows enterprises like Exelon to “Adapt2” change. We see scalability in our work efforts to also do more analytics and more automation now that we have a technology stack that is current and leading edge.
Exelon Generation’s front to back office activities require us to stay current with the ISO/RTO platforms as we focus on business strategies that can evolve quickly. Adapt2 will keep our market systems up to date and in lock step with the ISO/RTOs but also leverages the most current technologies to quickly support our strategies and, in some cases, anticipate them.
We also know you have a green footprint. Can you tell us more about the Adapt2 Green solution?
Adapt2: Adapt2 Green is an extension to Adapt2 B2B that was introduced in 2019 to help renewable energy providers manage the complexities of intermittent resources in ISOs. Using machine learning and AI technologies, Adapt2 enables better utilization and market participation of renewable generation in established ISOs in addition to newly established imbalance markets like SPP WEIS an CAISO EIM. Back office operations are also enhanced through REC management and complex contract settlements that associated with renewable generators and their counter parties.
What future trends can you see in the energy space in terms of tech / IT/OT convergence, automation and AI?
Adapt2: Convergence is happening now and finally the technology in terms of processing power and the data storage levels are available to take full advantage of AI. The vast amount of data available in ISOs at sub-hourly granularity enables better machine learning to anticipate and suggest automations and strategies consistently with better accuracy. Every day, hour, minute, second is a learning opportunity for the system and that directly translates into better operational decisions and execution.
About the interviewees:
James Johnston is the Director of Wholesale Operations at Exelon Generation Co., LLC. with over 31 years of experience in the energy industry. Jim began his career in 1985 and in 2004 he joined Exelon Generation as Risk Controller and moved to its Wholesale Operations team in 2012 with the Merger of Exelon and Constellation Energy. Jim received a BS degree in Accounting from Stockton University in 1984.
Jason Kram is the Executive Vice President at Adapt2 Solutions with over 25 years of experience in the energy industry. Jason began his career in 1994 at Black & Veatch, later joining Duke Energy where he focused on trading and marketing around generation assets in all North American markets. For the past 15 years, Jason has worked in the software industry with power market participation and optimization specialities. He currently leads all commercial aspects of growing Adapt2’s business in advanced AI-enabled power marketing solutions.