Should an organization invest its time, money, and resources into a $100 million, multi-year program to build a new substation? Or spread that investment across a number of smaller projects delivering different benefits?

This is the kind of key challenge National Grid’s Massachusetts and New York Electric Planning and Asset Management teams tackle on a regular basis.

Elton Prifti, Director of Distribution Asset Management & Engineering, and Fedor Petrenko, Principal Product Manager, IT and Digital, shared how their team is now maximizing investment decisions with the help of NGP portfolio company Copperleaf, which was selected through a competitive tender process. The Vancouver, BC-based software maker provides decision analytics solutions that help asset-intensive organizations develop more effective investment plans for their diverse asset portfolios.

Prifti explained, “With thousands of projects ongoing across the US electric businesses, we need to be able to make informed investment decisions to determine which projects to start — and when — to drive the most value for our customers and the business.

“Project planning can be tricky at the best of times, even for those who are experienced, with a whole host of factors to take into account. We’ve previously had to use multiple systems and processes across a number of teams, meaning lots of extra time and effort.

“And we relied on cumbersome Excel spreadsheets filled with complex macros and formulas. But this is changing with FutureNow, which we are delivering with the help of Copperleaf.”

The Future is… FutureNow

Petrenko described how the recent FutureNow digital project came together.

“Copperleaf is a proven asset investment portfolio management platform that can assess hundreds of projects on their own merits and allow colleagues like Elton to make informed decisions on where and how to invest,” he said.

“It can calculate the value or benefits of individual projects based on multiple criteria like reliability, safety, cost, time, resources and the impact to our customers. Copperleaf can even account for the age of equipment and any possible risks.

“Then, and here’s the really cool bit, it can compare projects against each other across the entire portfolio, based on selected criteria to help us make trade-off decisions based on robust data. So we can deliver value more quickly and get more bang for our buck.”

Prifti described the launch: “After much planning, training and support, we now have over 300 colleagues managing all their project information in one place. This is genuinely going to save us time, improve our decision-making, and give us a clear picture of each project’s value.”

About Copperleaf

Copperleaf’s software leverages operational and financial data to let clients make investment decisions that deliver the highest business value.  The Copperleaf Decision Analytics Solution was initially implemented at National Grid Gas USA in 2017, followed by National Grid Gas Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission in the UK in 2018. The success of these implementations across National Grid business units led National Grid Partners to invest in Copperleaf in 2019. Copperleaf was selected to deliver the FutureNow program through a competitive RFP process.

About National Grid Partners

National Grid Partners (NGP) serves as the eyes and ears of the business, searching for innovations to keep National Grid at the forefront of the energy industry. As the corporate investment and innovation arm of one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies, NGP is helping drive the transition to a more digitized, smarter, and renewable energy system. NGP does so by investing and collaborating at the intersection of emerging technology and energy.