Do you really need a partner for advanced analytics?

do you really need a partner for advanced analytics?
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System operators face extraordinarily complex challenges. Decisions about everything from power matching to planning scheduled maintenance require advanced mathematical models, the results of which can have wide-ranging social and financial impacts. 

Many system operators turn to third-party solutions providers for help analyzing and solving these complex problems. However, because of the sensitive and unique nature of work in the energy sector, some are hesitant to partner with vendors from outside their organizations. 

So, do system operators really need a partner for advanced analytics? 

The key is to find the right partner for the job. They need to have experience in your industry, test strategies for solving complex problems, and offer the support your team needs.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about how a third-party solutions provider can bring value to your team and show you how N-SIDE has successfully partnered with system operators around the world.

How can N-SIDE bring value to my team?

In-house teams at TSOs and DSOs have expert knowledge of the systems they use every day and of the wider energy industry. They also have access to troves of real-world data, and the ability to explore it. 

However, when it comes to actioning large, complex initiatives like designing a new energy market or optimizing reserves dimensioning, few in-house team members will have experience bringing similar solutions to production. 

This is where an outside partner becomes invaluable. At N-SIDE, we have real experience using the data and expertise system operators have available to deliver robust, production-ready advanced analytics applications — then maintaining and evolving them over time. 

Here’s what N-SIDE brings to the table in our system operator partnerships:

Real-world experience

The team at N-SIDE has experience working with system operators all over the world on major projects related to system planning and operation, grid development, maintenance, market facilitation, asset management, and more. 

We always carry forward the learnings from past projects, so that rather than reinventing the wheel, we can optimize our strategies for each partner’s unique needs.

This experience also enables us to collaborate with stakeholders from our partner organizations to co-create solutions to new and exciting challenges, from proof-of-concept to production.

Tried and true technology

The problems faced by system operators are unique, and it’s rare that any can be solved with an off-the-shelf product. As a result, many TSOs and DSOs choose to build solutions in-house. 

Building technology takes a massive investment of time and money, and an ongoing commitment of resources to support the solution over time. In addition, internal IT departments are not usually equipped to handle the types of advanced analytics technologies involved in these projects. 

N-SIDE comes to the table with the foundation of many system operator solutions already constructed. These building blocks include solutions for maintenance planning, outage planning optimization, dynamic reserves dimensioning, advanced grid planning expansion, congestion management/topology optimization, voltage management, incident recognition, and more. 

Our solutions have been proven in real-world environments and can be adjusted to suit each partner’s exact needs. 

Working with a third-party solutions provider also means gaining a partner for implementation, integration, and lifetime support. This allows system operators to go live with applications faster without causing major disruption to internal operations.

Consultants that understand your field

At N-SIDE, we offer more than just an academic background in applied mathematics. Our consultants also have deep experience working in the energy sector, and with system operators specifically. We’ve gained experience in the unique requirements of system operators in different regions including Europe, Asia, and the U.S. 

When you work with N-SIDE, you’ll work with a team that understands your needs and can help you develop the best advanced analytics applications to meet them.

Examples of successful partnerships with N-SIDE

Here are a few examples of how partnering with N-SIDE has helped system operators succeed:

Cornwall Local Energy Market

In Cornwall, UK, we were a key partner in the design and implementation of an innovative local energy market. We helped the system operator Centrica pioneer a solution to grid congestion and flexibility issues related to renewables by involving hundreds of local homes and businesses in a first-of-its-kind flexibility market. The project also involved several local system operators and demanded deep TSO-DSO coordination. 

This pilot project was a huge success, resulting in 10,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases saved and 310 megawatt-hours traded.


N-SIDE developed the EUPHEMIA algorithm on behalf of a group of European power exchanges known as PCR. EUPHEMIA is used every day by power exchanges and market participants in 26 countries throughout Europe to trade electricity and capacity across borders and zones.

The EUPHEMIA project demonstrates our expertise overcoming complex advanced analytics challenges in the energy sector. The algorithm is highly efficient, solving market coupling problems containing hundreds of thousands of orders in a variety of formats in less than 17 minutes.

Elia outage planning 

Working collaboratively with Elia, the Belgian system operator, N-SIDE developed an application that allows for optimal outage planning and scheduled maintenance. 

By combining constraint programming with deep business knowledge, this application ultimately reduced the number and duration of outages required for Elia to maintain the grid. This increased the welfare of Elia’s customers and reduced the workload of their field and planning teams.

You need the right partner

So, do you really need a partner for advanced analytics?

While system operators can — and do — develop solutions in-house, the results are usually more expensive, less optimal, and more difficult to maintain than solutions developed with the right partner. 

The right partner brings real-world experience creating production-ready applications, tried-and-true technology, and deep expertise in both applied mathematics and the energy business. N-SIDE brings all that and more to the table. 

Related: Contact N-SIDE to talk about the needs of your project

About the Author

William Petteau

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