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INTERVIEW: Jeff Ray, CEO, Ventyx

Jeff Ray, CEO, Ventyx, an ABB company, on managing grid complexity.

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Jeff Ray: Renewables pose a challenge to the gird.
Jeff Ray: Renewables pose a challenge to the gird.

What are the factors that make a grid system unstable? 
Various factors can contribute to grid instability. Renewables, in particular, pose a challenge to the reliability of distribution networks because their output does not always coincide with demand, which causes a capacity imbalance that can lead to asset stress and, ultimately, outages.

By accurately forecasting meteorological conditions, successfully implementing and managing demand response programs and providing actionable business intelligence to operators that allows them to have a real time view of the state of the network, the risk of network imbalance can be mitigated and the network can be more efficiently operated.
 
How do your solutions help utilities manage their grids?
Ventyx’s solutions bridge operational and information technology to fully leverage existing network data and turn them into actionable business intelligence.

An example of this is our Asset Health Centre solution, which combines ABB’s deep asset knowledge with Ventyx’s industrial experience to allow customers to sweat their assets, improve their asset maintenance regime and lower their overall operational costs.

Our solutions cover every business need from reducing outages, improving customer engagement, integrating renewables, improving asset health and fully optimising your network.
 
What does ‘smart grid’ mean to Ventyx and what is your role in building them?
Smart grids enable transformational productivity improvements, more responsive and agile networks, and reinvent the way you engage customers. Productivity improvements accrue from transforming transmission and distribution (T&D) business processes like asset lifecycle and the outage lifecycle.

By transforming these business processes, we can improve productivity in the field and in the control center. More responsive and agile networks mean balancing supply and demand in real time, especially when renewable and distributed energy resources are integrated into the grid.

Engaging with customers means giving customers new choices and options related to how and when they use energy. It means enabling customers to become active participants in energy markets.
 
How do your solutions help companies integrate renewable energy into their grids?
Our solutions optimise renewable generation connected to the network, which results in greater network efficiencies.

In particular, we have a project on the island of Gotland, Sweden where we are helping them meet a real business need of integrating large quantities of wind generation and managing this generation in such a way as to allow the island to be self-sufficient and not reliant on their connection with the mainland.

Tell us about your achievements in the Middle East and future plans for the region?
The Middle East is a major area of focus for Ventyx. Winning the Sadara contract is a crowning achievement for us and a testimony that we are a serious player.

In terms of future plans, we are hoping our involvement in regional oil, gas and chemical projects gain traction. Plus our recent Iraq win is a huge boost to our presence in the region! We are very optimistic about the region and have many solutions that will work well in most of the upcoming projects. 

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