Siemens + AEP

I joined Siemens to help solve an eight billion-dollar problem for their energy sector client, AEP. Along with executives, coal plant managers, data scientists, and other user experience professionals, I engaged in an intense series of workshops that culminated in a product MVP. This simulation application was designed to help coal plant fleets and managers gauge the effects of a wide range of decisions on the lifetime value of coal plant mortgages.


Project Details


The Problem

Consumer demand for renewables is increasing to the point where energy companies understand that their coal plants won't last forever. That leaves them with a massive asset that has an expiration date and a mortgage that they (and ultimately their customers) will foot the bill for in the event of the plant's closing. 

The Goal - Reducing Cost Passed on to Customers

Given a forecasted shut-down date, energy companies want to be able to run their plants at maximum efficiency with as little wear on equipment as possible in order to avoid forced outages and excessive maintenance. They need a tool that tells them the impact of the decisions they are making and how much money they will eventually be passing off to their consumers. 

Strategies for Understanding

Siemens facilitated a series of workshops that allowed us to listen to the issue, brainstorm communication strategies, develop personas for both fleet executives and plant managers, and eventually come up with a way for product design to help the situation.

Our Solution

I worked closely with my colleagues Mike and Caitlin to develop a strategy based on all of our rapidly gained insights. While they vetted approaches through the energy sector stakeholders and data scientists at Siemens, I laid the foundations for visual design.

We ended up creating an application that simulated the effects of various decisions on the lifetime mortgage value of a power plant. Users can see an ever-present graph that shows a baseline, the current trajectory and the simulated trajectory based on entered parameters.

The application allows users to adjust investments in capital expenditures, individual equipment load and operation efficiency. The initial concept was designed rapidly in just three days. We followed an agile approach after that, iterating over the next few months until development. Purple, Rock, Scissors and Siemens then developed the MVP into a working application based on my design.