Future-proofing UK’s energy grids

2 April 2024

Driven by the United Nations’ Global Sustainability Goals, the world’s electric usage is projected to double by 2045 – leading to a growing pressure on energy grids. SCC member Skyqraft seeks to address this issue by providing electric utilities with actionable insights into their physical assets, which has previously been inaccessible. Hear CEO Louise Gauffin share her thoughts on the business, steps necessary in securing energy reliability, and the use of AI as an enhancer of human expertise, rather than a replacement. 

"Recognising the energy grid as the linchpin of society and the foundation of the energy transition, our vision has been clear: to provide the data necessary for a reliable and resilient grid,” Louise explains. 

As the world is moving into an era of expansion and modernisation of electric grids, nations with underdeveloped assets are facing major challenges. In the UK, Louise points out that the aging infrastructure must be addressed to secure future energy reliability.  

“While investment has predominantly focused on renewables, upgrading the grid infrastructure is imperative for stability. The UK is at the forefront of addressing energy challenges and are taking proactive measures to fortify the domestic grid.”

From drones to software
Skyqraft’s journey has been marked by several milestones since its establishment in 2019. Initially, the company operated drones themselves to collect high-quality raw data for power grid owners, providing them with invaluable insights into their infrastructure. In 2020, Skyqraft partnered up with energy provider E.ON Sweden – leading to a significant shift in their operations. Louise explains: “We transitioned from primarily a drone operator to a software provider. From collaborating closely with E.ON we refined our solution, laying the groundwork for our current success.” 

By 2022, Skyqraft had become purely a software provider, focusing on asset analytics. This led to another milestone as they were entrusted to provide asset analytics for the majority of E.ON’s Swedish grid. 

With a software easily adaptable to local market needs, Skyqraft has made significant commercial progress outside of Sweden over the last twelve months and secured multi-year contracts in both Europe and North America.
AI – an extension of human expertise
Artificial Intelligence has come to play an important role in Skyqraft’s operations. Louise explains: “As power systems are becoming vastly more complex, the demand for electricity is growing and decarbonisation efforts are ramping up, managing the grids of the future will require more powerful analytical tools, with a critical role for AI.” 

One key area of AI application lies in predictive maintenance of the physical assets, helping Skyqraft preventing grid failures, and increase reliability and security. However, their use of AI aims to augment human expertise, rather than replacing it entirely. 

“While AI continues to advance, our commitment to maintaining human oversight remains steadfast. This hybrid approach ensures the quality and integrity of our solutions, especially in critical domains like energy infrastructure.”

Next steps
By continuing to work with the changing needs of the energy industry, Skyqraft is dedicated to equipping society with the tools needed to face a net-zero future. And looking into 2024, Skyqraft’s focus remains on expansion, particularly into the UK market.

“With proven reliability in delivering value to large grids like E.ON Sweden, coupled with robust AI models, we are poised to empower the UK’s energy system with data-driven decision-making for a sustainable future. Establishing ourselves in the UK not only unlocks significant market opportunities but also positions us as a leader in addressing similar grid challenges worldwide.”

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