Archive for the ‘Smart Grid Technology’ Category

The U.S. smart grid is set to boom by 2015

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The U.S. smart grid is set to boom by 2015, growing to a $9.6 billion market with smart-grid management services generating $4.3 billion in revenue, according to separate reports from GTM Research and Pike Research.
The smart-grid market in the United States will grow 70 percent to $9.6 billion by 2015, according to a Sept. 24 forecast from GTM Research analyst David Leeds. The market research company currently pegs the market at $5.6 billion.

The term smart grid refers to a next-generation electricity delivery network designed to monitor household and business consumption and automate control mechanisms. Rather than depending on a single technology, smart grids consist of a web of networks allowing real-time communication between users and power providers.

The expansion will be driven by federal grants for utility modernization, competition between utilities companies and investments in smart-grid technology by large IT companies, according to GTM Research. For example, utilities can submit their plans and budgets for approved smart-grid projects by Sept. 30 to qualify for a share of the $3.4 billion in federal stimulus grants.

GTM Research analysts calculated the 2015 forecast by compiling outlooks in four core technology sectors: advanced metering infrastructure, distributionautomation, home area networks and smart utility enterprise.

“Over the next 10 to 15 years, GTM Research expects the distinction between ‘smart grid’ and traditional grids to dissolve,” Leeds said.

The smart grid is not just about adding communications capabilities to the electricity grid. It also requires integrating back-end utility systems so that companies can analyze the data being generated and act accordingly, he said. With business intelligence in place, smart grids can adjust supply for a specific area based on demand and time of the day, reroute the distribution path if there is a problem in a section of the grid, and support new applications, such as renewable and electric transportation.

GTM Research analysts estimated that large-scale deployment and integration would cost about $165 billion.

Since the deployment timeline is about 20 years, according to the report, full penetration is still decades away. Even so, utility companies are increasing investment in advanced metering infrastructure, such as smart meters, energy displays and appliance controls. These projects will allow utilities to move away from flat-rate billing to variable rates depending on usage and let consumers adjust their usage patterns accordingly, the report said. It also predicted that smart-meter deployments would reach 48 percent nationwide by 2015.

Utility companies are not the only ones looking at this market: Some of the biggest names in technology are building smart-grid offerings. Cisco Systemshas an extensive line of energy-monitoring devices, routers and management software, such as the Cisco Network Building Mediator, which tells managers how much power is being used by elevators, heating and cooling systems in a building. IBM offers consulting, design and implementation services to utilities companies, while Intel has been working on IEEE standards for smart-grid technologies.

A separate report released by Pike Research on Sept. 22 predicts that utilities companies will depend on outside experts to deploy, manage and maintain these grids. Global spending on smart-grid management services is expected to grow to $821 million in 2011, up from $470 million this year. Smart-grid management services alone will generate $4.3 billion in revenues by 2015, according to the report.

While there are economic benefits to improving electricity distribution, the growing popularity of electrical transportation is a bigger driver for smart-grid investment, according to both market research companies. The number of plug-in cars and trucks in the United States is expected to reach 841,000 by the end of 2015, Pike Research said.

GTM Research identified systems integration and data managementsolutions as additional areas of investment.

“The day is quickly approaching when the bulk of new hardware, software and systems added to grids will be intelligent,” said GTM Research’s Leeds.

Smart Grid – A Vision of the future

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Smart grid is the term applied to tomorrow’s electricity system. It encompasses a variety of changes that will transform the way electricity is used, delivered and produced, and result in a cleaner more efficient and more interactive electricity system. It represents a paradigm shift for electricity much in the way that mobile phones transformed communications. The concept is broad; it stretches beyond modernization of the transmission and distribution grid to include devices that allow consumers to better manage their electricity use, new ways of creating and storing electricity, and the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The power grid shift to move to a culture of conservation and its substantial commitment to renewable energy will also be supported by the smart grid. Smart meters, a major smart grid component, can give consumers timely information on price and consumption. Emerging devices will empower consumers to act on this information automatically while at the same time improving their energy efficiency, comfort and convenience. New sensing, monitoring, protection and control technologies will enhance the ability of the grid to incorporate renewable generation.The institutional structure of the electricity industry makes it easy to look at how the smart grid will impact each piece of the system in isolation, but the most profound impact of a smart grid may be its ability to link these pieces more closely together.

With the regulator OFGEM, we could have a system of applying structured market operator requirements with corporation responsibilities, encouraging longer-term system network planning, and procuring electricity supply and demand resources connected to the network. Both by the electrical shippers, National Grid and and the the regional Distribution Network Operators (DNO’s). but also the Feed in tariff (FIT’s) small generation customers and CHP and renewable end customer/suppliers. While the smart grid will affect each of these segments in different ways, it will affect all of them by increasing their ability to work together to better serve consumers.

Smart Grid Definition
A smart grid is a modern electric system. It uses communications, sensors, automation and computers to improve the flexibility, security, reliability, efficiency, and safety of the electricity system. It offers consumers increased choice by facilitating opportunities to control their electricity use and respond to electricity price changes by adjusting their consumption. A smart grid includes diverse and dispersed energy resources and accommodates electric vehicle charging. It facilitates connection and integrated operation. In short, it brings all elements of the electricity system – production, delivery and consumption closer together to improve overall system operation for the benefit of consumers and the environment. A smart grid is not only information rich, but also has the analytic infrastructure, processes and trained individuals necessary to integrate and act on information in the very short time frames required by the electricity system. It is characterized by clear standards, security protection and open architecture that allow for continued innovation through the development and deployment of new technologies and applications by multiple suppliers. So OFGEM must get it right, undertaking discussions with both the customer and the electrical supply and distribution network industry community.


Driver’s for a smart Grid

The Goverment’s commitment to establishing a culture of conservation and the desire to reduce the environmental footprint of the electricity sector are major drivers for creating a modern grid. The culture of conservation requires the continual search for new ways to encourage all customers to use energy more efficiently and lower consumption during peak periods. The comprehensive provision of smart meters creates the opportunity for all customers to better understand and manage their electricity usage and, for those who wish, to become active providers of demand response, and be rewarded in doing so.

The prominence of renewable energy in the Governments white papers an increased ability to accommodate variable renewable generation from off shore tidal, wind farms, solar, biomass and micro generation. Where today the grid serves primarily as a vehicle to move electricity generated in large central facilities to consumers, in the very near future, the grid will need to do much more. As the number and distribution of smaller generators grow, Micro generation (FITs) come on line, the operational challenge of incorporating these independent generated energy resources, while maintaining safety and reliability, will also grow. Meeting this challenge will require a smart grid. Other features of this arrangement will also also drive the development of a smart grid. DNO’s will need to upgrade, renew or replace a significant amount of the existing electricity infrastructure network load monitoring and reporting real time demand and quality of supply (similar in some ways to end customer smart meters to be rolled out) In addition dynamic load forecasting to request power stations load demand requirements. This need creates an opportunity to use smart grid technology both to maximize the use of existing equipment and to improve the efficiency of the grid as it is replaced. Growth and redevelopment also present opportunities to introduce smart grid technologies in newly developed and reconstructed areas. Demands by industry and consumers for increased reliability and power quality technology are also pushing toward a smarter grid.

Promise, Cost and Timing Of a Smart Grid
There are many potential benefits from a smart grid in the areas of economics, environment and operating performance. The ability of consumers to increasingly participate in the electricity market by adjusting their demand in response to price or other signals will help to defer the need for peaking resources and incorporate additional generation from variable sources. Improved system economics will come from reduced losses during electricity delivery (line losses) and better use of power station and distribution network plant & equipment. Potential reductions in network congestion will also allow greater use of the most cost effective generation and improve the capacity to move generation throughout the electrical supply network. Greater ability to integrate generation and load can also reduce the cost of operating reserve and some ancillary services. Finally, improved analytics and the ability for the grid to automatically restore itself from faults can reduce the scope and duration of outages, lower operations and maintenance costs, and improve service to customers. Many of the identified economic benefits also have associated environmental benefits. Reduced losses not only reduce cost, they allow more of the electricity generated to reach consumers thereby lowering the environmental impacts from generation. Increased ability to incorporate distributed energy resources, including both renewable generation and demand response, will allow us to move more quickly to a cleaner resource mix that everyone generally wishes to be collectively archive. Even if if it is viewed by some, that this is achieved by someone else. Using existing assets more efficiently can defer the need to expand the grid to accommodate growth. The smart grid offers enhanced operational performance. Greater awareness of system conditions can help anticipate and address problems before they lead to outages, minimize the scope of outages that do occur, and enable more rapid restoration of power. With a smart grid, these fixes may increasingly occur automatically so that the grid becomes self healing.

The ability to remotely monitor equipment condition and performance can also enhance security, help better target maintenance and improve the accuracy of replacement decisions. The information provided by a smart grid also can be used to improve power quality, which is increasingly important in operating today’s sophisticated equipment controlled by digital electronics.

By automating functions that are controlled manually today, the smart grid will increase productivity, which will be essential in managing the more complex grid of tomorrow and helpful in addressing the demographic issues facing the electric system as the baby boomer’s retire and new workers need to be hired and trained. Finally, the smart grid can provide significant operational advantages through its ability to improve both public and worker safety by increasing the amount of system information available for protection and control and by enabling remote operation and automation of equipment. The costs of the smart grid are difficult to quantify. They will depend on investment decisions and the pace of implementation by numerous companies and individuals undertaking smart grid expenditures. It is through the analysis underlying these decisions that the benefits and costs of specific smart grid investments will be evaluated. Certain cost elements that support the smart grid have already been incurred. Ontario’s investment in smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure provide an important connection with customers and the beginning of the communications infrastructure necessary for a smart grid. Additional communications, with greater bandwidth, speed and reliability will be needed, for full smart grid implementation. Moreover, much of the distribution infrastructure replaced over the last few years is already smart grid compatible.

Customer support also would be a key factor in evaluating smart grid investment and customer education will be necessary to inform consumers on this issue. Investment at this level would require increased availability of demonstrated smart grid technology and the human resources to install and integrate it. Finally, the costs and benefits of proposed incremental smart grid investments would be evaluated through appropriate regulatory processes. The timing of smart grid development also will depend on individual investment decisions, which in turn will be influenced by external policy drivers. The investment plans by Electrical shippers, distribution network operators, IDNO’s, meter operators and consumers that will largely determine the pace of adoption for smart grid technologies will be based on their individual needs and circumstances, and their available capital. Government policy, implemented through incentives, mandates or regulatory initiatives will be a major factor in influencing the timing of investments. In short, because the smart grid is not a single project, but rather a series of actions by a variety of entities to modernize the electricity system, it is difficult to produce a definitive time line for smart grid development.

When it does come together, and matures, the system as a ‘whole’, will be more resilient, but it will dependable on all parties being dependable on each other. Including the micro generation and independent supply generation supply contribution and working efficiently, otherwise extra power stations will still be required to be built or available, just in case all independent customers disconnect supplies from the network, say as a future government protest action, interrupting the collective electrical supply contribution factored in the ultimate smart generation mesh smart grid arrangement.

In some respectsit is similar to the how the internet developed and matured and came to be more resilient and depended by everyone including the internet backbone and local ISP’s provide the network grid to connect people and systems together.

Another interesting development will be how supply authorities & DNO’s will undertake works on the network.

For the purposes of this blog, assume in simplistic traditionally engineering supply arrangements, that electricity is generated from a remote power station, distribution via the national grid 132KV network to the local DNO network (66 / 33 /11 / 6.6KV substation network to a 230 V rated supply and so onwards the the end customer via the service cutout consumption monitored by the electrical meter / CT arrangement . Generally, electrical only going one way – Power station via DNO’s to the end customer.

So isolation of cabling & equipment only required from local substation supply to be dead supply to enable major upgrade work to be undertaken.

In comes the Smart grid roll out which end customers are encouraged to provide their own renewable energy, with spare capacity connected and used by local network So introducing multiple back-feed supply’s. Always connected, but independently controlled and managed by the customer, supply on and off all the time – generally individually, each micro generation arrangement not resulting a constant dependable supply contribution, only achieved collectively when provided in clusters of connection points.

So back to the final distribution feeder cable supply requiring major works to be undertaken. DNO isolates at substation and is checked and tested that the LV cable was a ‘dead’ cable, but it could become live at any time, thanks to customers micro-generation connected supply.

So how do you isolate the DNO feeder cable, to cut or repair the cable?

OK – Live working methods can be used and will have to be adopted through the LV network from now on.

But the customers generation equipment will also have to be able to provide circuit protective devices from a grid network earth fault or the remote chance that the distribution point may not be connected to the network. But thats a separate subject, as well!

In a joint up world – simple things get complicated – but systems change and adapt to “keep it simple” – to make it more easier to manage and control.

A Smart Grid for Intelligent Energy Use

Friday, April 9th, 2010

ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

As the industry leader, only ZigBee offers an established, competitive marketplace providing the core technology for monitoring, controlling, and automating the delivery and use of energy and water. ZigBee Smart Energy is the affordable and easy way to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The following ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products were tested to ensure they meet all of the Alliance’s strict specifications and perform as promised. These products represent solutions across the entire efficiency ecosystem – energy services portals, meters, displays, thermostats and load controllers. Each product may wear the ZigBee Certified logo and the green ZigBee Smart Energy icon so that they may be easily identified in the marketplace.

Alektrona offers embedded communications engineering design services. Our specialization is in systems that leverage IP network and wireless ZigBee\ISM band connectivity. As a core member of the ZigBee Gateway group, Alektrona is an active participant in the design and specifications within the Alliance. Our team focuses on engineering high reliability solutions emphasizing system level design with a business level approach. Alektrona Engineering Expertise Includes: ” ZigBee networking and Gateway product design ” ISM band wireless ” Embedded Systems and Microcontroller Hardware ” Firmware and software design ” Sensor and control networks. ” NMS, SCADA and BMS integration ” Internet appliance design ” End to end embedded product design and manufacturing Please contact us at: solutions@alektrona.com 401-228-2962
Z-Aperture ZA07-200-ESP
View Product Details
Alektrona’s Z-Aperture™ ZA07-200-ESP is the first broadband Energy Service Portal and Internet Gateway to receive ZigBee Smart Energy Golden Unit certification.
Aztech Associates, Inc.
In-Home Display
View Product Details
Aztech’s In-Home Display communicates directly with smart meters.
Computime International Limited
CTW200
View Product Details
CTW200 is a thermostat which monitors, controls and displays energy consumption and rate information for ZigBee-enabled residences.
CTW300
View Product Details
CTW300 is an In Home Display with a large dot matrix screen for users to monitor energy rate and consumption information in residences supporting the ZigBee Smart Energy profile.
Comverge is a leading provider of clean energy solutions that improve grid reliability and supply electric capacity on a more cost effective basis than conventional alternatives by reducing base load and peak load energy consumption
DCU
View Product Details
Comverge DCU offers a wide range of functionality – from individual addressing to adaptive algorithms
PowerPortal
View Product Details
Comverge PowerPortal® IHD is an easy to use, AMI ready display that allows consumers to closely track their electricity consumption and receive messages or alerts from their utility provider.
SuperStat Pro
View Product Details
Comverge’s SuperStat™ Pro is a state-of-the-art “smart” thermostat.
Control4
EC-100
View Product Details
The EC-100 is an easy to use energy controller that empowers consumers and utilities to better manage energy use and costs.
Cooper Power Systems, Inc., with revenues of approximately $1 billion, is a division of Cooper Industries, Ltd. (NYSE: CBE). Cooper Power Systems is a global manufacturer of world-class power delivery and reliability solutions for the electrical and industrial markets. Cooper Power Systems manufactures distribution transformers, distribution switchgear, reclosers, capacitors, protective relays, voltage regulators, automated switches, cable accessories, surge arrestors, transformer components and dielectric fluids, fuses and tools and it provides engineering services for the electrical and industrial markets. Through its Energy Automations Solutions group, it is also a leading provider of software, communications and integration solutions that enable customers to increase productivity, improve system reliability, and reduce costs. For more information visit www.cooperpower.com or www.cooperpowereas.com.
UtilityPro ZigBee
View Product Details
Cooper Power Systems – The ZigBee®-enabled UtilityPRO™ is a Honeywell touchscreen programmable thermostat designed for utility-sponsored demand response programs and is equipped with a Cooper demand response module.
Digi International is the leader in device networking for business. Drop-in Networking solutions include ZigBee/802.15.4 embedded modules, stand-alone adapters, extenders and environmental sensors, plus wireless mesh gateways that collect and transport data from the ZigBee network to an IP network via cellular, Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Reliably network-enable devices and sensors where no wired networking infrastructure exists, where network access is prohibited, or when laying cable is impractical or cost-prohibitive.
ConnectPort X2 ESP
View Product Details
Digi’s ConnectPort X2 ESP enables energy service providers to deploy HAN devices that are completely managed by the Digi gateway over a broadband or cellular connection, allowing Smart Grid services to be deployed in areas not covered by Smart Metering networks.
Smart Energy Range Extender
View Product Details
Digi’s XBee Range Extender is a certified ZigBee Smart Energy device.
ecobee�s mission is to help homeowners conserve energy, save money and reduce their environmental impact. Our green automation platform sits at the convergence of energy conservation, green technology, the networked home and consumer electronics. Our products automate energy conservation, making it easier to save on energy costs without sacrificing comfort. ecobee targets the large markets of heating, cooling and ventilation, utility demand response and green automation.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
View Product Details
ecobee’s green automation platform sits at the convergence of energy conservation, green technology, the networked home and consumer electronics.
Energate Connecting Conservation with Comfort Energate lets you take your smart grid strategy beyond smart meters, to where demand is rooted — in the home. Energate’s home energy management solutions let consumers and utilities manage energy use and reduce peak demand without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Building upon over 25 years of HVAC industry experience, Energate smart thermostats offer industry-leading equipment interface technology and comfort control algorithms.
Pioneer Z100
View Product Details
Energate Pioneer Z100 – Energate has expanded its Pioneer series of smart thermostats to support the Smart Energy Profile.
Pioneer Z107
View Product Details
Energate Pioneer Z107 – Energate has expanded its Pioneer series of smart thermostats to support the Smart Energy Profile. Incorporating next generation technology beyond the features found on today’s most sophisticated thermostats, Energate’s Pioneer Series of smart thermostats provide unparalleled performance with an exceptional user interface to meet your current and future needs.
Founded in 2005, Energy Aware Technology is a Canadian company focused on demand side management products that increase awareness of resource consumption and help people save money. Energy Aware’s first product, the PowerTab, is an in-home energy display designed for deployment with smart metering infrastructure.
PowerTab / PowerPortal
View Product Details
Energy Aware’s PowerTab is an in-home display that uses the Zigbee Smart Energy profile to allow consumers to closely track electricity consumption and costs. The PowerTab’s attractive design and user-friendly interface encourage energy conservation and facilitate increased data flow to end users. The PowerTab’s features include a 100 mW radio, a magnetic backing, and three colour LEDs to indicate tariff rates.
Itron Inc. is a leading technology provider to the global energy and water industries. Itron Inc. consists of Itron in North America and Actaris outside of North America. Our company is the world’s leading provider of metering, data collection and utility software solutions, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Our products include electricity, gas and water meters, data collection and communication systems, including automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI); meter data management and related software applications; as well as project management, installation, and consulting services. To know more, start here: www.itron.com.
Open Way Gas Module
View Product Details
Itron – OpenWay Gas Module accurately measures natural gas consumption and supports two-way communication with the Itron
OpenWay
View Product Details
Itron® OpenWay™ is an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution built around OpenWay
In Chinese, Jetlun means literally “save energy”. Jetlun is building the last mile to the Smart Grid and providing an integrated energy network management solution for residential and commercial markets using standard-based network technologies that maximizes the use of a building’s existing wires and wireless networks for total coverage and connectivity. The Jetlun Intelligent Management solution (“JIM”) is a family of energy network management products that provides granular energy usage information– by whole-home, by phase, by circuit, and by appliance– enabling a homeowner or property manager to pinpoint areas that are consuming the most power.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75606
View Product Details
The JetLun Gateway SE (model RD75606) is the world’s first integrated ZigBee and HomePlug® enabled gateway that collects.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75607
View Product Details
The JetLun Gateway (model RD75607) is the world’s first integrated ZigBee and HomePlug® enabled gateway that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption information and helps you manage and control- both onsite and remotely- your energy usage through a simple user interface on any web browser or any web-enabled phone, such as the Blackberry® or iPhone®.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75609
View Product Details
The JetLun Gateway Lite SE (model RD75609) is an ZigBee® to IP enabled gateway that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption
KDN is providing high-tech total electric power IT service in entire processes of electric power system, such as from power generation to transmission, distribution and sale. As such, KDN is largely contributing to achieving efficiency and advancement in electric power business by establishing IT system. Furthermore, KDN, by securing international competitiveness in international power IT market, will grow into a global specialist in power IT.
KDN Smart Meter
View Product Details
KDN Smart Meter Single-Phase and Poly-Phase Smart Meters produced by Korea Electric Power Data Network Co.[KDN] are highly accurate, intelligent, and fully featured electricity meters with integrated communication modules. The Smart Meters have special features such as two-way communication via standard-based ZigBee and PLC(Power Line Communication) technologies, two-way measurement, Power Quality measurement(Sag and Swell), Tamper detection and Remote connect/disconnect. IEC standards (IEC 62052, IEC 62053, and IEC 62056) are applied to Smart Meter.
Landis+Gyr is the leading provider of advanced metering, energy efficiency, and infrastructure communication systems to electric, gas, and water utilities worldwide. Landis+Gyr’s proven record of customer satisfaction and value creation is supported by over 20 million customer advanced metering end points in production or under contract worldwide. Landis+Gyr supports its 500+ customers with a staff of over 700 professionals located in offices across the United States.
Landis + Gyr E35C-A
View Product Details
Landis + Gyr E35C-A is a high performance 2.4GHz ZigBee transceiver that is supplied loaded with ZigBee Smart Energy firmware. The unit is fully certified and works with Landis + Gyr E350 U-Series meters.
The EcoMeter Energy Monitor
View Product Details
The ecoMeter energy monitor is a critical component in the final delivery of the benefits of the smart grid to its energy end-users; and an integral component in Landis Gyr’s Smart Grid solution – Gridstream. The ecoMeter P250 is the means for energy consumers to become fully informed and directly engaged to their energy consumption; and is the tool of choice to empower consumers to manage energy better.
The Landis Gyr Focus AX
View Product Details
The Landis Gyr Focus AX endpoint is a ZigBee-enabled advanced metering endpoint that provides two-way communication with the utility, meter and home-area networks.
LS Industrial Systems has been leading the industrial electric controls and automation field in Korea with the advanced technology for decades. Providing top quality products, LS Industrial Systems set the long term goal as “Superiority over quality and product development”. To set the standard of digitalization which will drive the future of the industry, LS Industrial Systems provides Total Solution found on abundant industrial knowledge and technology in electric control, automation, tube & pipe and the new business area.
LK Meter
View Product Details
The LK Series Single-Phase and Poly-Phase Electric Meters are intelligent, fully featured revenue-grade energy meters with integrated communication function. These solid-state meters feature two-way communication via plug-in type communication modules using standard-based ZigBee® and PLC (Power Line Communication) technology. Each meter complies with IEC 62052, 62053, and 62056 standards.
LS Research is a leading design firm specializing in providing turnkey RF and wireless design services. A perfect match for OEM customers looking to develop high performances low cost short range wireless solutions based on 802.15.4 radio and the Zigbee stack. A sister company, LS Compliance, is an FCC-certified and A2LA-approved EMC testing laboratory offering comprehensive EMC testing and consulting services. L.S. Research and L.S. Compliance W66 N220 Commerce Court Cedarburg, Wisconsin 53012 USA Phone: (262) 375-4400 Fax: (262) 375-4248 E-mail: sales@lsr.com www.lsr.com
RS-SE-24-01
View Product Details
RS-SE-24-01 – The RATE$AVER is an In-Home-Display device capable of communicating with ZigBee Smart Energy Profile Compliant Energy Service Portals (ESP) withn Utility Meters displaying energy usage data.
OpenPeak Inc. creates, designs, and develops innovative systems and devices that enable simple control of home energy usage, VoIP telephony, digital media, Internet content, and consumer electronics on a single touch screen device. OpenPeak allows utilities to deliver service updates to users on demand today, and provides a platform for the deployment of future energy applications as they are developed. Through the OpenPeak App Shop, the same device can deliver a complete communications package including news, sports, weather, social networking, and instant messaging and is compatible with a variety of communication standards, including ZigBee and Wi-Fi. For more visit www.openpeak.com.
OpenFrame 7EZ
View Product Details
OpenPeak’s OpenFrame 7E – touch screen device provides an engaging way for consumers to take an active role in managing their energy consumption. By integrating home energy management with on-board multi-media functions, the same device can deliver a complete information and communication experience including news, sports, weather, social networking, music, and family photos.
PRI Limited
Customer Information Panel
View Product Details
Home Energy Controller (HEC) monitors and displays electricity and gas consumption and cost information on a customer friendly display. Using the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile, it can read any meter that meets the standard and display the data in tabular and/or graphical format to encourage consumers to reduce their energy consumption through better information.
Horstmann S23 Meter Interface
View Product Details
Single and Poly Phase Multi Rate Meters – ZigBee Smart Energy Certified meter interface can be fitted to PRI and Horstmann electricity meters to provide consumption data to other Smart Energy devices on a network. The meters conform to IEC 62052-11 and are available with optional load control switches, as well as a variety of power ratings to suit any market.
Rainforest Automation makes products that enable residential energy management, and allow utilities to rapidly deploy Smart Grids that are less expensive and more reliable. Our products include EMU™, a utility targeted in-home display (IHD) designed with simplicity and high-volume deployments in mind, and Orchid™, an energy services platform that serves as a low-cost gateway between the utility and the consumer.
Energy Monitoring Unit
View Product Details
Rainforest Automation’s EMU™ – Energy Monitoring Unit is an In-Home Display designed specifically to meet the technical and budget requirements of utility deployments. The EMU™ has a simple user interface, runs on standard AA batteries, and displays real-time usage, accumulated statistics and provides a peak pricing “traffic-light”. With its 2-way link to the smart meter, EMU can support custom features such as pre-payment, opt-out, and messaging response.
Silver Spring Networks, the leader in IP networking, connects utilities with their customers over a two-way, IP based network, enabling innovation and change. Utilities can enhance the way they interact with customers. Customers are empowered to manage their energy more efficiently. Using this IP-based network, utilities can deploy a scalable, reliable infrastructure from the substation to the customer premise and implement advanced metering, demand response and other applications at a fraction of comparable costs. An open, IP -based network lowers not just capital costs, but total cost of ownership. When planning the network of tomorrow, it helps to partner with a company that makes it available today
Interactive Energy Management
View Product Details
The Silver Spring CustomerIQ web portal by Greenbox delivers near real-time data on their energy efficiency programs, including consumption and pricing
Telegesis develops and manufactures advanced wireless products to provide low cost, high performance solutions. Telegesis ZigBee ready Module and Development Kit is based upon Ember Corporation’s meshing technology and is the first in a family of products, others of which are already at prototype testing stage. Our low cost Development Kit enables an out-of-the-box mesh network in less than half an hour. Telegesis range of ZigBee products will aid rapid development and integration into OEM products through the provision of complete ‘plug-in’ modules. Telegesis AT-style command line interface software further speeds and facilitates the building of total solutions.
ETRX2USB & ETRX2USB-PA ZSE IHD
View Product Details
ETRX2USB ZSE-IHD In Home Display – The Telegesis ETRX2USB ZSE-IHD is a high performance 2.4GHz ZigBee transceiver in USB stick form which is supplied loaded with ZigBee Smart Energy (ZSE) IHD firmware. The unit is a fully certified In Home Display and can be supplied with Certicom test or full certificates. An AT command layer on top of the ZSE IHD firmware allows a host application to easily control the stick.
Range Extender & Range Extender-PA
View Product Details
Telegesis Smart Energy Range extender – The Telegesis Range Extender and Range Extender-PA are fully certified ZigBee Smart Energy (ZSE) units which enable increased distance between nodes in a ZigBee Smart Energy network. If the distance between nodes is too great for communication to be established. By adding one or more Routers in-between an extended ZSE mesh network can be formed.
Tendril focuses on network operations and deployment – the next big stage of the Wireless Sensor and Control Network industry. Our software allows companies to access, deploy, monitor, manage, and integrate networks into the real world. This approach allows Tendril to address the macro trends of energy efficiency, security and life expectancy.
Tendril Insight
View Product Details
Tendril Insight is an in-home display that communicates with networked smart devices, such as thermostats, electricity meters and outlets, and displays information about consumption levels and energy rates. Empowered with real-time information, energy customers can potentially save money, while utilities can reduce customer service incidents and improve overall load balancing and demand response capabilities.
Tendril Relay
View Product Details
Tendril Relay is a ZigBee device router that plugs into a standard household outlet. The Tendril Relay extends the range of a smart energy network, making it easier to access and connect devices in large homes and hard-to-reach places, like garages and sheds.
Tendril Transport
View Product Details
Tendril Transport is an IP gateway that opens a new channel of interaction and collaboration between consumers and their utilities. The Tendril Transport delivers two-way information to consumers and utilities, providing insight into household energy footprints. With the Tendril Transport, customers gain more access to energy-related information and more control over energy consumption decisions. Utilities can better manage supply, demand response and load control scenarios, and costs.
Volt
View Product Details
Tendril Outlet is a 3-prong, ZigBee Smart Energy electrical outlet that can be plugged into a standard home outlet to monitor and control the energy consumption of any electrical appliance or device. Multiple Tendril Outlets in the same home can be tracked individually or as a group over the Internet or from a local Tendril Display device. The Tendril Outlet gives the consumer unprecedented insight into and control over their household energy footprint, improving their overall energy efficiency.
Volt
View Product Details
Tendril Volt is a three-prong, standards-based smart electrical outlet that can be plugged into a 110Volt/15A AC standard wall power outlet to turn off or on any connected electrical appliance or device. When used in conjunction with the Tendril Insight or the Tendril Vantage web portal, multiple outlets in the same home can be managed individually or as a group over the Internet, giving consumers unprecedented insight into and control over wasted energy and their household energy footprint.
Trilliant Networks, Inc. is the industry leader in open solutions for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), demand response, and grid management. The company is focused on delivering ANSI and IEEE standards-based AMI, without vendor lock-in, enabling choice of meter, network and IT infrastructures. Trilliant brings over 20 years’ experience solving AMI needs for utility customers through the legacy of its Nertec brand founded in 1985. Additionally Trilliant is the originator of the first ANSI tools for development, simulation and compliance now used by most meter manufacturers and AMI companies to develop and test ANSI meters as well as meter communication products. Trilliant has more than 100 utility customers including Baltimore Gas & Electric, Duke Energy, Hydro One, Hydro Quebec, Milton Hydro, Northeast Utilities, OneOK, Public Service Electric & Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric.
SecureMesh Micro Access Portal
View Product Details
Trilliant SecureMesh™ Micro Access Portal is independent from the meter and can be embedded in any end-point device including thermostats, in-home displays, appliance controllers or meters. Trilliant’s SecureMesh AMI Network is based on the same IEEE 802.15.4 standard as ZigBee providing an end-to-end fully standards-based solution for energy applications.

Smart Grid – Distribution Automation

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

The smart grid will impact virtually every aspect of the distribution system by making system conditions more visible right down to the customer level. This visibility will promote reliability, faster service restoration, enhanced maintenance practices and improved planning. When system visibility is combined with computer analytics and intelligent controls, the result will be to increasingly automate operation of the distribution system. In the future, the smart grid will enable distribution systems that can use sensors and computer analysis to predict system disturbances, take action to avoid their occurrence, and automatically reconfgure the grid to minimize the impacts of faults that do occur.

Starting with the customer, smart meters will let system operators know whether a home or business is without power even if it is unoccupied. With additional sensing capability installed, smart meters could also indicate the voltage and power quality at the customer’s meter. This will allow utilities to better understand conditions throughout their distribution networks. Ultimately, consumers with unique needs for power quality, such as manufacturers with sensitive electronic equipment, will be able to be served by equipment that is designed to provide the power quality that they are willing to purchase. Functionality available for smart meters can also permit automatic initiation and disconnection of service. Moving up into the distribution system, sensors can communicate the operating state of distribution transformers and lines. This information will improve utilities’ ability to operate the distribution system as it grows increasingly complex. Advanced transformer energy monitoring combined with information from smart meters at customer locations also will provide information on the loss or theft of energy throughout the system. “Flexible AC transmission systems” (FACTS), a technology that is being used more widely on the transmission system to control power fows is also being introduced for distribution lines. Fault detec-tors and grid automation in some circumstances will allow electrical faults to be automatically located, isolated and the grid restored without operator intervention and within minutes of the fault occurring. At distribution substations, sensors will provide information on loading and operating conditions, station security and physical condition. Communicating this information back to the utility and applying computer analytics to it will allow distribution operators to better understand and control these components, including determining their maintenance needs and risk of failure. This information can also feed into systems that automatically control voltage and reactive power to help maintain delivery voltage and reduce line losses. In summary, this information will assist in optimizing the use of the distribution system and  scheduling maintenance work Sensing and communications equipment will be particularly helpful in managing outages and restoring power. Sensors can communicate outage information directly into a utility’s Outage Management System.
This system can begin automatically notifying consumers through cell phones or text messages that  the utility is aware of the outage and is working on restoration. Subsequent communications can provide consumers with estimated restoration times. Linking service crews directly into the Outage Management System through mobile communications and equipping crew vehicles with Global Positioning System (GPS) capability and access to the utility’s Geographic Information System will allow crews to better  understand the nature of outages, see the equipment involved, and go directly to the outage location. An issue for distributors implementing smart grid technologies is the need to collect, cull, manage,  store, retrieve and integrate the large amount of data that smart devices will produce. The presentations highlighted the challenge inherent in managing this vast amount of data securely and effciently and turning it into actionable information. There is a risk of collecting data “for data’s sake” and by so doing overwhelming the ability of people and processes to use the data collected effectively. Data produced will need to be accessible to and usable by a variety of distribution utility computer  systems including those that control the system, map and locate system equipment, manage outages,  handle meter data and billing, and maintain customer information. Enterprise integration, which allows these systems to access the data they need from a common source, using a common format and integrating them through a common service architecture, will be necessary for distributors to achieve the full functionality  of a smart grid.

The challenge of moving to a smart gird is signifcant from both a technological and human resources perspective. Many of the technologies that will be used to collect, manage and analyze smart grid information are currently being developed. As with all “leading edge” technologies, there is a substantial risk of false starts and dead ends, and a virtual certainty that integration with existing technologies and systems will prove to be more diffcult than advertised. From a human resource perspective, learning to understand and use the full capabilities of smart grid technologies will require a substantial training effort and opportuni-ties to practice using the new tools in a simulated environment. Current business processes will also need to be modifed in light of the new information available and the capabilities of smart grid technologies.In addition to impacting operations, the smart grid will also enable much more detailed planning as  utilities gain more precise information on the loading of their equipment down to the individual customer level. By deploying sensors on feeders, lines and substations, utilities will be able to more accurately  determine the need for additional infrastructure and to better analyze which capital additions will provide the greatest system beneft.

Better analysis of the timing and confguration of needed capital additions will promote effcient capital spending. As discussed below in the Distributed Resources section, a smart grid is essential if the province is to maximize the generation, storage and demand response resources connected to distribution lines. The distribution grid was originally developed to deliver power to consumers. The sensing and communications that the smart grid will bring are necessary, but not suffcient, to meet the distribution system’s expanded role of incorporating substantial amounts of generation safely and effciently.

Renewable energy with smart grid technology – The new complex relationship turning everthing upside down

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The energy world is about to turn upside down. With the coming of smart grid, the electricity consumer customer becomes the electricity seller; the passive home appliance becomes the active energy manager; and the local 11KV DNO network becomes the power generation network itself.

Such an upheaval means that the energy world needs to start thinking about a new business model, says a recent report by IBM Global Business Services Energy and Utilities.

The fact that IBM is advising the energy industry is itself a point of interest, yet another signal of the new market opportunity emerging within the energy arena for information technology. This opportunity has drawn the attention of not only IBM, but also CISCO, Google and many others.

So how does IBM see the energy business model changing? First consider what it has been for the last century: a grow-and-build model. Utilities encouraged more and more consumption, and they built power plants and transmission to the far corners of the nation to serve the growing demand.

“The success of this strategy was remarkable. In the United States for example, from 1920 to the mid 1960s (excepting the period of the Great Depression), usage increased at seven percent annually – about five times the rate of usage of all forms of energy combined and three times the rate of economic expansion in general,” says the IBM report, “Switching perspectives: Creating new business models for a changing world of energy.”

But today we no longer need such expansion. The grow-and-build model is obsolete, yet continues to be used by utilities. As a result, utility stocks, which in the 1940s-1960s significantly outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, now lag well behind.

Instead of expanding their territory, utilities are being called upon to change their product — to offer energy that is more efficient and clean and service that is more consumer-friendly.

Smart grid technology can help utilities meet today’s imperative. But it brings with it a new and complex relationship between customer and utility. This is because smart grid allows consumers to control energy usage via a home computer. With smart buildings into the mix and their appliances can control energy usage without the consumer doing anything. And with increased use of solar energy and other distributed technologies, the home also becomes power plant and storage facility for the electric utility.

“Companies willing to tackle industry model innovation and sit at the nexus of new complex relationships among business partners and customers will be well positioned to create and capture new demand for emerging products and services. Strong growth in revenues and profits – albeit accompanied by some risks – is achievable in multisided business models because of the embedded network economies of scale (i.e., margins increase with network size),” says the report.

IBM calls this new business model “a multisided platform.” What does it look like?

“Manufacturers, retailers and shoppers all benefit from having a single location where they can meet and transact business. A wider variety of stores and services brings more shoppers; more shoppers bring higher sales volumes for manufacturers and lower costs for retailers (and, in theory, also lower prices for shoppers). Thus, some element of network economy is bundled into the shopping center value proposition. The platform owner (the shopping center operator) extracts some of this value in the form of rent to store owners and, in some cases, service fees to shoppers,” says the report.

If indeed this is the future, it won’t be embraced quickly or easily by utilities, which are notorious for their caution. For those who do move forward, here is some of what IBM advises.

Be sure your current customer base is sizable enough to ensure that you get a meaningful head start.

But don’t hurry. History has shown that later movers may actually benefit from standing back from the first wave of early adopters.

Time the announcement of your new business model carefully to avoid shocking long-time constituencies or alerting rivals too soon.

But in the UK, the cat has already leaped out of the bag!

The UK Regulator – Ofgem’s duty to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development promoted this duty, placing it on an equal footing with its duties to meet reasonable demand and financing authorised activities. The principle objective, to protect the interests of consumers, refers to future as well as existing consumers. These changes underline Ofgem’s important and developing role in shaping the future of gas and electricity industries in a sustainable manner.The UK is facing a future that involves increased geopolitical risks to energy security, potentially higher energy prices and the need to do much more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone can afford to adequately heat their homes.

While much of what is needed to deliver sustainability is not within the regulators direct control, a responsibility to facilitate change by engaging in the debate, trying to persuade relevant players to make changes where required and contributing information and expertise where it can.

Actions speak louder than words:

So whats already implemented in the UK?

  • Smart metering (CoP10) with import and export facilities – Coming to every home in the UK – See my blog on smart metering for more information
  • feed-in tariffs (FITs) for small-scale low-carbon electricity generation from 1 April 2010 – Customers own micro energy generation agreements connected to the local DNO grid – See FITs for more information
  • Climate Levy Tax incentives – Look at you next bill and spot this tax!
  • ROC’s – See my blog for more information
  • REGO – See my blog for more information
  • OGEMs – See my blog for more information
  • REC’s – See my blog for more information

The next step:

  • Informing the customer and proving ‘idiots’ guides to understand the available technologies and energy savings available.
  • Providing engineering design  and installation solutions.
  • The correct customer incentives to explore and implements these technologies.

CoP10 Metering

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Cop10 – Code of Practice specifically applies to metering of energy via low voltage circuits for Settlement purposes.

Metering Equipment compliant with this Code of Practice can be traded either elective Half Hourly (Measurement Class E) or Non-Half Hourly.

Crib Notes:

No supply capacity limitation’s now defined under this CoP10 document.

The limitations of use are now only the CT’s ratios selected / installed and the meters CoP10’s MOP configuration for customer use.

CoP10 can be include import and energy export metering facilities.

Cop10 can be used as Half Hourly (Measurement Class E) or Non-Half Hourly MOP use.

Only one requirement, it has to be a low voltage circuit being measured.

HV metering using Cop5 or Cop7 metering facilities.

For HV metering using CoP5 or CoP7 metering facilities

Currently the CoP10 can not be used as a replacement in this instance.

Energy suppliers are to be responsible for installing smart meters in all households in the UK by 2020

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Plans for smart meters for millions of homes have been unveiled with trials suggesting the £8bn scheme may help people save £28 a year.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change wants to see 47 million meters in 26 million properties by 2020.

It is hoped the technology will help people cut their energy bills by paying more attention to usage.

Smart meters have a visual display allowing customers to see exactly how much electricity and gas they are using and relay the data to energy firms automatically.

Energy use

Trials of smart meters have resulted in some people moderating their energy use.

ANALYSIS

John Moylan, BBC business reporter

The government had already announced that it wanted all UK homes to have smart meters by 2020.

What is new today is that, following a consultation period, it has now decided how that will happen.

The main energy suppliers will be responsible for the roll-out.

This was the government’s preferred option, although there was a debate in the industry over whether it could be done another way, for example by the regional electricity distribution companies.

The government has also outlined its early thinking on the buzzwords in the industry at the moment – smart grids.

Potential savings outlined already by ministers are only a fraction of the current average annual bill of more than £800 for gas and £445 for electricity.

The £28 a year figure for savings has been cited as a conservative estimate for a typical household.

But the DECC says case studies had shown people could reduce their bills by about £100 a year as the meters can encourage changes in behaviour.

“Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt.

Savings

Energy suppliers, rather than distribution networks, will be responsible for the roll-out of the meters at a cost of about £340 per household.

They will be able to recoup the cost from customers through higher bills or upfront fees, but competition between suppliers is expected to ensure only some of the expense is passed on.

The companies stand to make big cost savings themselves, with the need for teams of meter readers becoming a thing of the past.

Martyn Hocking, from the consumers’ association Which?, said: “We are concerned that consumers could be saddled with the entire multi-billion pound bill for a project that is going to save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds a year.”

ENERGY SAVINGS

UK homes add £33 a year to bills by leaving appliances on standby

Every minute taken off a daily shower can shave between £5 and £10 off an annual energy bill

Lowering the room thermostat by 1% could save a householder around £65 a year

Source: Energy Saving Trust

The plans, which also confirm that each meter will include a standalone display device, were welcomed by the big energy companies.

“We are delighted the government is moving forward with its plans for the roll-out of this technology throughout Britain,” said British Gas managing director Phil Bentley.

“This will be the single biggest revolution in energy use since British Gas converted all the nation’s homes to natural gas in the 1970s.”

Mark Daeche, of energy company First Utility, said the mass roll-out of smart meters would not begin until 2013. But from next summer, all First Utility customers who elected to have a smart meter would be supplied with one.

He welcomed the format of giving suppliers the responsibility for the supply of meters instead of a system of regional franchises.

Smart grid

Plans have also been announced for a smart grid to manage the flows of electricity and to increase the use of renewable energy.

In the past the National Grid has delivered electricity from large power plants to our homes. In the future the grid will need to be much smarter, according to BBC business reporter John Moylan.

“Computers will have to handle more volatile sources of electricity, such as windfarms,” he said.

“They will also have to cope with micro-generation – consumers using solar panels or heat pumps to generate their own electricity and sell it back to the grid.”

From BBC web site

Connecting Smart Buildings to the Smart Grid

Friday, November 20th, 2009


Suggesting turning off the lights in our buildings has been a constant theme. Saving or conserving energy, especially when the cleaning crew and security personnel are the only ones occupying a 250,000 sq ft office tower, makes sense at a very basic level. You would think that a simple concept such as conserving energy in our built environment would be easy to deploy. Given that energy, and thus our independence, is on everyone’s mind, combined with the fact that buildings use 40+% of the total daily energy spend, one would expect it to be a high priority.

Over the years engineers have introduced a number of different ideas, concepts and technologies that would help building owners conserve energy. Even to this day, adoption of these “common sense” ideas have been met with great resistance. In trying to better understand why this remains such a low priority I’ve summarized the common client drivers  / observations:

1) during the boom times, making money trumped every other priority,

2) in many situations tenants paid the utility bills and the landlord had no motivation to conserve,

3) real estate companies have struggled with “who” in their organization should take responsibility for this issue (IT,PM,FM,Energy),

4) while executives promoted “green” for marketing purposes, commitment and execution was superficial and

5) many of these technologies involve CAPEX or in some cases initial impacts to OPEX investments and without the motivation of a “return”, never made it past the budgeting process.

There have been bursts of interest in this topic by the built environment over the last 5-7 years. In fact there are case studies of real estate companies who have implemented sophisticated technology solutions to monitor and manage their energy consumption with a much greater level of accuracy. Over the last 24-30 months, many of our trade associations have also joined in the battle to conserve and begun to aggressively educate their memberships on conserving energy. While all of these “green” initiatives have been positive, there has been little discussion on the role that technology, automation and innovation can play. While insulated windows an important part of the strategy so is a lighting strategy that can reduce energy costs by 50%.

Enter the Smart Grid discussion.

About 2-3 years ago the discussion of the Smart Grid started to heat up. Major companies like GE, IBM, Siemens and, most recently Cisco and Google, started to beat the drum on the benefits of being able to manage electricity in more sophisticated ways. Instead of producing power in big old clunky power plants and “broadcasting” the energy down very old “asynchronous” (one way) power lines, the idea has emerged of a “networked”, very smart, easy to manage electrical infrastructure that connects both your refrigerator to the network as well as the solar panel or wind turbine that you have in your backyard or the roof of your office building. The idea is big, the benefits are big, the issues are big, and so are the challenges. While the marketing of many of these large smart grid companies would lead you to believe that the technology is in place and everything has been figured out, there are a mountain of questions ranging from privacy issues to standards and everything in between.

One of those big issues to be figured out is how to we “connect” a smart building to the smart grid and what if we’re starting with a building that is not so smart. One of the most basic questions that need to be answered is “who in a building takes charge of this issue.” Buildings have many number of different tenant landlord relationships, from owner occupied to multi-tenant. The relationship in many cases will influence who takes the lead on this important topic. Once the “business” side of the equation is figured out, then you move to the building technology and ultimately the relationship with the smart grid. These are very big questions and in many respects are the primary reasons that so many building owners have not initiated an energy plan. The other major reasons for slow response to this issue is the maturity of the technology (still evolving) and the regulatory role of local, and national government agencies.

If you break the smart grid into three distinct categories it is a little easier to understand.

We have the:

1) “middle infrastructure” i.e. the transmission lines, sub-stations etc.,

2) the power plants – both traditional as well as the emerging technologies, and

3) the end user, which in our world translates to the building.

These make up the major components of the smart grid. When we isolate the building’s role it’s easy to understand why this is such a complex issue. It’s not only the connectivity of the building to the smart grid, but also the internal infrastructure of the building that needs to be automated in order to create a completely digital, transparent connection. Connecting a building to the smart grid without considering the tenant space will leave you with less than desired results. The topic gets even more complex when you consider all the other building technologies that need to be considered for integration into the building network such as security, tenant communications etc. at the same time you are trying to figure out the connectivity into the smart grid for the purpose energy management and conservation.

The benefits of the smart grid begin to get very interesting when you start talking about how a commercial building owner could gain financially from this concept. Just imagine you’re at 30,000 feet looking down on a major city and picture all the buildings being turned into individual solar and other renewable energy source power plants that could sell unused energy back to utilities via smart grid technologies. There are some who have speculated that this could be a significant income stream for owners and operators once the idea is adequately developed.


The bottom line is that the idea of smart buildings connecting to the smart grid is an idea whose time has come. Whether adoption is fueled by financial opportunities or by strict legislation, this idea is not going away. In the early stages, as with all new technologies and ideas, there are more questions than answers. However, last week’s announcement by the US Obama administration on their 3.2 billion dollar commitment to the smart grid is sure to advance the topic and produce real results.


The question remains how will BUILDINGS CONNECT to the SMART GRID, with technology companies developing products and exploring this new major industry (as it will become). Which company will become the brand leader, but even more important is which real estate owners will become the  known  to champion this technology, and get an competitive edge on its rivals.

Two more utilities join IBM-backed smart grid coalition

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Two new utility companies have joined The Global Intelligent Utility Network (IUN) Coalition, which is a group formed by IBM that is pushing best practices for smart grid technologies and installations.

The new members are CPFL Energia (Brazil) and Liander (The Netherlands). The four U.S. members (CenterPoint Energy, Pepco Holdings, Progress Energy, and San Diego Gas and Electric) collectively were granted $3.4 billion last month in federal funding for their various smart grid pilots and projects.

The collective mission statement of the Global IUN is to use “digital intelligence” to help reduce outages and faults, manage demand and integrate new sources of energy such as wind into the power grid. The group was responsible for developing the Smart Grid Maturity Model, which is now being used by more than 60 utilities as part of smart grid strategy and planning.

More evidence of the coming collision between home broadband and the smart grid

Friday, November 20th, 2009

One trend that will pick up steam in 2010 is technologies and alliances that bring the current home broadband infrastructure (Home Automation network) and the emerging smart grid infrastructure closer together. After all, viagra canadian pharmacy as more homes embrace high-speed Internet access (wired OR wireless), it makes sense that smart meters and other smart grid devices communicate via what is already in place.

Anticipating this convergence of interests, iControl Networks has come out with a platform called ConnectedLife Energy Management. The technology, which is intended for broadband operators, utility companies and other service providers, will allow for the development of demand response systems and other energy-efficiency services. The company expects Connected Life Energy Management to be commercially available to consumers sometime in 2010. It would allow for applications such as scheduled energy usage that is tailored to meet certain efficiency or carbon footprint goals.

Here are some of the consumer-level applications that will be possible:

  • Real-time energy usage monitoring
  • Remoted management of thermostats from an Internet browse, iPhone or other mobile phones
  • Automation applications that, for example, would let you set up thermostat configurations for your air-conditioning or heating systems
  • Ability to manage your account against certain cost parameters

Energy Transformation Technologies

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The energy utilities industry is very conservative. The combination of long asset life and the absolute priority on safety and reliability has meant that many of the technologies have not changed radically since the 1950s.

Now that is changing. Faced with the rapid shift in energy-consumption patterns, the move to green energy solutions and the evolution of communications technologies, utilities are reassessing their energy delivery strategies.

This article explores the pressures that this industry is facing. It takes a look at how two of the big technology changes — smart grids and smart metering — mandate the need for a cohesive communications strategy.

The Industry Pressures

There are four fundamental pressures on today’s utilities:

  • The changing pattern of electricity consumption, driven by the extensive proliferation of air conditioning resulting in the peak period of electricity consumption moving to the heat of summer.
  • The move toward green energy solutions, epitomized by the European Commission, which requires (among other things) 20% renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020.1 This is not uniquely European: politicians everywhere are pressuring utilities to accommodate environmental change.
  • Consumers and regulators alike are demanding highly reliable energy delivery, vital in maintaining an efficient national economy.
  • Financial stakeholders require better operational efficiency. Large-scale investment in new energy infrastructure is to be avoided where feasible. Given that the basic electricity infrastructure lacks the flexibility to track swiftly changing market pressures, utilities are examining two complementary approaches to increasing the efficiency of their networks:
  • Intelligent networks
  • Smart metering

Intelligent Networks

Intelligent networks (a term covering smart grids, substation automation and distribution automation) aim to improve the utilization of the network assets by monitoring and controlling them far more closely than previously possible. For example:

  • Make the energy-carrying capacity of a network dynamic by measuring in real time climatic conditions such as instantaneous temperature or the cooling effect of the wind, thus enabling better network utilization.
  • Today’s distribution networks have little real-time measurement or control. Intelligent technologies will provide a far more accurate picture of demand, energy flows and network incidents, yielding a major improvement in energy reliability and asset utilization.
  • The modern techniques of “condition monitoring” — monitoring the network assets for telltale signs of performance degradation — allow a very accurate forecast of equipment failures to be built. This means that assets can be replaced on a just-in-time basis, delivering significant investment savings and increased energy reliability. The benefits of intelligent energy networks are huge. They extend the lifetime of the assets, optimize power flows, increase energy reliability and enable investment to be focused where it is most needed.

Smart Metering

Smart metering is primarily intended to make consumers more conscious of energy consumption, thus leading to reduced consumption during peak periods and an overall reduction in the production of greenhouse gases.

Informing the user is merely the first step: facilitating the desired action by consumers requires two other capabilities:

  • The use of tariffs to encourage energy consciousness (whereby high instantaneous demand during periods of peak demand is charged a premium price)
  • Direct control of major household appliances

Smart metering brings its own set of challenges. This is a new application using new technologies — the smart meters, the communications network to access millions of devices and the platform to manage them.

Communications as the Key Enabler

As stated above, the technologies used in the energy networks have not changed radically since the 1950s. Thus, communications networks have, in general, been built up over several decades using ad hoc, application-specific technologies, with little network sharing and, in many cases, with little management or control.

To deliver the benefits of intelligent networks and smart metering, a homogeneous, reliable, flexible communications infrastructure is essential. Today, it is feasible to create a single cohesive network that will support:

  • Latency-critical applications such as teleprotection
  • Existing modem-based SCADA applications
  • Intelligent network and smart metering applications using modern communications protocols
  • IEC61850 Ethernet-based services for future automation applications
  • Other future applications, such as closed-circuit TV (CCTV) for physical security, which will expect the latest communications protocols to be supported This results in a typical infrastructure as shown in Figure 1.


In this architecture, the multi-service optical transport layer ensures the support of both mission-critical operations such as teleprotection services, with their very tight technical requirements, and existing applications using traditional TDM-based protocols. Simultaneously, it efficiently transports packet-based data for new services and applications on the same infrastructure.

The IP/MPLS layer supports new packet-based applications traffic, including substation automation, smart metering and security services with a virtualized network using Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs. Corporate voice, video and data applications can also be supported, with traffic management features ensuring that mission-critical operational traffic is given priority.

This network architecture delivers high reliability with secure support of mission-critical operations traffic. The associated end-to-end management capability makes this network easy to manage, allowing utilities to lower the skill barrier for staff.

It has allowed existing applications to be migrated and supported without disruption and has enabled systems operators to realize the consequent efficiency and reliability improvements.

For those starting down the road to energy network transformation, experience suggests a number of steps:

  • By starting with the high-voltage substations, a modernized multi-service TDM and Ethernet transport footprint can be established that will support all utility services.
  • Substation transformation to Ethernet services will be driven by asset life cycle management or new plant construction. New Intelligent Electrical Devices will simply plug in to the transport footprint established earlier.
  • Distribution automation and smart metering should be considered as complementary activities (where the regulatory regime permits). In this way, an access network can be built that supports both these applications in a single, cohesive network. This requires that the complete future access requirements are considered at the outset of the project, otherwise utilities risk perpetuating application-specific, vertically integrated networks, thereby aggravating communications inefficiency.

Conclusion

Energy utilities are on the cusp of the first real technology change in network and metering technologies since the 1950s. This change is predicated on the requirement for a robust, reliable and flexible communications network that will support existing mission-critical applications as well as the evolution to modern smart grid and smart metering technologies.



The Future: Smart networking, LonWorks, the IP network, and open source computing are going to drive a different world

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Lunch7

At Apple co-founder Mike Markulla’s Venetian Hotel-styled private theater in this posh Palo Alto suburb, the chairman of Sun Microsystems, makers of Java, and CEO of Duke Energy, makers of 36,000 megawatts of electricity in coal and nuclear plants, shared the stage.

The CEOs found common ground pushing a vision of the future where light switches are superfluous and any device that uses power is networked, easily automated, and far more energy efficient. Holding up a standard Sun identification card, Sun Chairman of the Board Scott McNealy noted that it was faster than an Apple II computer.

“We can connect anything that is more than a dollar in value,” he said.

But McNealy’s declaration that he was “over” the network was the real highlight of the hour-long event to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Markulla’s post-Apple endeavor, Echelon, which makes sensors and controls for all types of devices.

“I want my stuff to be on the network”   said McNealy.

Coming from the CEO of a company that once had the tagline, “The network is the computer,” the comment drew laughs from the small crowd. McNealy admitted that his statement probably was “not the best marketing thing.”

Crowd

Beyond his glib distaste for social networking, McNealy and Jim Rogers, Duke Energy’s CEO, presented a serious case that the future of networking lies with your toaster, lights and curtains. By turning “dumb” devices into nodes on a smart network, the businessmen said that the entire economy could be restructured to use energy more efficiently.

“I believe the most energy efficient economy is going to be the one that provides the greatest standard of living for its people,” Rogers said.

Rogers also noted that utilities would have to redefine their businesses away from commodity power and start making money by helping their customers control, not just use, their electricity.

“I see embedded in every customer six to eight networks and on each network there’s three to five applications,” he said. “What if I create value by optimizing those networks and those applications?”

That’s a major change in thinking for utilities that previously considered their job finished when the electricity hit your meter.

Though they painted grand visions of what the future could hold, both executives said there were many challenges to be met in creating the network of things.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” McNealy said. “There’s a lot of work to take the complexity out of client devices and to take the cost out of client devices.”

Jimrogers

Cost and complexity have slowed the adoption of home automation systems, but all three companies clearly see an opportunity to capitalize on the high cost of energy and increasing concern over carbon emissions.

McNealy even dropped Echelon’s protocol LonWorks into his solution for the future.

LonWorks, the IP network, and open source computing are going to drive a different world where per capita energy usage can plummet as green becomes the new black”, he said “And I mean black in terms of making money.”

Rogers’ vision was equally amibitious and showed that the North Carolina-based CEO knew his big-thinking Silicon Valley audience.

“At the end of the day, what I’m gonna provide is universal access to energy efficiency the way we provided universal access to electricity in the last century.”

Images: Jim Merithew. Top: Scott McNealy speaks to the crowd. Middle: The crowd is bathed in green LED light during a demo of the room’s fancy lighting system. Bottom: Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers lays out his plan for the future of a smarter electrical grid.

Europe’s first ‘intelligent city’

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

AMSTERDAM GETS SMART WITH ACCENTURE

Accenture has been chosen by Amsterdam to run a scheme designed to create Europe’s first ‘intelligent city’.

The aim of the Amsterdam Smart City programme is to introduce sustainable and economically viable projects that will help Amsterdam reduce its carbon footprint and meet the European Union’s 2020 emissions and energy reduction targets. Among the projects to reduce energy consumption are a smart electric grid, smart meters and in-home feedback displays, smart building technologies and electric vehicles.

Accenture will work on the programme in partnership with the Amsterdam Innovation Motor, a city-affiliated agency that will build public and private sector co-operation to support Amsterdam Smart City.

Accenture’s European leader for smart grids, Maikel van Verseveld, commented: “Because cities are the world’s major source of carbon emissions, they must play a leadership role in energy management and electricity consumption by uniting the private and public sectors. Accenture’s role is to facilitate this integration and build and manage the intelligent infrastructure that will transform the urban environment.”

Joke van Antwerpen, director of the Amsterdam Innovation Motor, said: “We chose Accenture for its innovative thinking in helping city authorities and utilities come together in responding to climate change challenges, as well as its expertise in smart grid and smart metering technologies.”

Cisco Systems Partners with Duke Energy to Develop & Implement Smart Grid Technology

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –Duke Energy announced it will join forces with Cisco Systems Inc., the world’s largest network communications company, to fast-track development of Duke Energy’s state-of-the-art electric “smart grid.” The two companies will jointly evaluate a variety of smart grid communications hardware and software, and oversee installation and testing of selected equipment and software throughout Duke Energy’s electric grid.In addition, Cisco will work with Duke Energy to develop and install home energy management devices to help customers control and reduce their electricity consumption.

Todd Arnold, senior vice president for smart grid and customer systems at Duke Energy, America’s third-largest electric utility.

“Our goal is to rapidly transform the way electricity is delivered to, and used by, the 11 million people we serve in five states.Partnering with Cisco is central to Duke Energy’s plan to build an ‘energy internet’ that will improve electricity delivery, strengthen grid security, lessen our company’s environmental impact, and help customers reduce their electricity usage.”

The three-year partnership is the latest development in Duke Energy’s effort to rapidly convert its existing electricity delivery infrastructure into an advanced smart grid that uses two-way digital communication to reduce energy usage, improve efficiency, bolster system reliability, detect power outages, and integrate solar and other renewable energy sources into the electric grid.

Cisco Systems, working closely with Duke Energy, will develop a highly refined, end-to-end, smart grid communications architecture – one that both companies believe will be among the most comprehensive and interoperable in the electric utility industry.

The newly created architecture will be based on what the industry calls “internet protocol-based open standards” – an approach that permits easy accommodation of new and emerging communications technology as it becomes available in future years.

Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager ofCisco’s Emerging Technologies Group;

“Internet protocol-based open standards are key to creating a smart, highly-secure backbone for the nation’s modern electrical grid. The two companies also will test a new generation of durable, weather-proof communications equipment designed for use at Duke Energy’s electric substations.”

Replacing our analog electric grid with advanced digital technology to create a 21st century electricity delivery system largely involves data, networks and communications – all of it Cisco’s expertise,” Arnold said.

In Ohio, Duke Energy later this year will launch a five-year mass deployment of smart grid technology, including more than 700,000 electric smart meters and 450,000 natural gas smart meters.

In Indiana, Duke Energy is seeking approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to install extensive smart grid technology, including approximately 800,000 smart meters.

Duke Energy announced it had reached a settlement agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and key consumer and business groups regarding the company’s Indiana smart grid proposal.

In addition to smart meters, Duke Energy plans to install a large amount of distribution automation – both hardware and software – to improve system efficiency and reliability on its electric grid in both Indiana and Ohio.

The company also is laying the groundwork to bring large-scale smart grid technology to three other states it serves – North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky.

“Working with innovative industry leaders like Duke Energy, Cisco will deliver an end-to-end network infrastructure from power plant to customer in order to manage electricity supply and consumption both efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Cisco’s De Beer.