Alphabet-owned AI powerhouse DeepMind is looking to work with the UK’s National Grid to help Britain radically reduce its energy consumption.
Last July, the London-based company employed AI-fuelled optimisation to slash down electricity use at Google’s data centres by 15 percent: after training a neural network to forecast future cooling requirements, it managed to reduce the amount of energy used for cooling by about 40 percent. It was calculated this could potentially save Alphabet hundreds of millions of dollars.
Now, in an interview with the Financial Times, DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis claimed that similar techniques could be applied on a national scale.
“We’re early stages talking to National Grid and other big providers about how we could look at the sorts of problems they have. It would be amazing if you could save 10 per cent of the country’s energy usage without any new infrastructure, just from optimisation. That’s pretty exciting,” Hassabis said.
Given that The UK energy’s generation was about 330 terrawatt-hours as of 2014, reducing consumption by 10 percent would be a significant achievement, both environmentally and from a brutally financial perspective.
The National Grid takes care of balancing energy supply and demand, ensuring that the power is always distributed equally throughout the network and that needs are always met. DeepMind’s AI might predict energy demand trends throughout the network, thus helping the system allocate energy in a more cost-effective fashion.
A DeepMind spokesperson also suggested AI could aid the National Grid make the most of renewable energy sources “through using machine learning to predict peaks in demand and supply.”
The partnership, though, has not yet been established: both DeepMind and the National Grid underlined they have just started discussing about potential synergies.
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