Powering the future: Data scientists, renewables, fossil fuels

Data scientists are a vital resource group for the future energy industry. That was the view of the first panel at the Energy Live Future event, where they discussed various […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Data scientists are a vital resource group for the future energy industry.

That was the view of the first panel at the Energy Live Future event, where they discussed various topics about powering the future.

Alex Montgomery, Internet of Things (IoT) & Advanced Analytics Commercial Lead at Microsoft said good data scientists should be able to uncover revenue opportunities for businesses but they are a very scarce source.

He also believes technology is the “key foundation” in driving businesses.

Gab Barbaro, Managing Director at British Gas Business added he’s seeing a lot more investment in digital skills.

He said: “How we communicate is less on the phones, less on letters… it’s now digital and that requires new capabilities… We’re investing a lot more in people who can look at the data, whether its smart data, whether its sensors in machines and less in terms of what is traditionally investment in engineering… There’s a lot more data science, it’s a lot more digital.”

The panel also discussed the energy mix and Stephen Church, Partner and Energy Market Leader at EY believes there will always be a role for fossil fuels.

He added: “There will be a mix and with that is wind, solar, storage, gas… we will have that for the next decade, 20 years.

“There will always be a mix and fossil fuels will be in that mix.”

Actor and energy evangelist Robert Llewellyn, “talking as a punter”, expressed his support for renewable energy and said people in his community are more aware of their energy usage and green sources of power.

He added: “They’re now obsessively talking about their usage, about their LEDs, about installing better insulation, about more energy efficient homes… all the farmers are desperate to put in 15kW wind turbines.”

However he believes “even if you’re a tofu eating, tree hugging Tesla driver, you will still need aluminium and steel”.