The Benefits of IoT in the Generation and Distribution of Energy
11 Jan 2022
5 min read
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Application of Internet of Things in Energy Industry
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term for a list of technologies that encompasses devices of all types. It basically points towards a future where a myriad of devices will be able to communicate with each other, deciphering the best outcome for several situations within no time at all. This will include lamps and lights sensing movement within a room and shutting off and turning on when needed.
In energy industry, utilities use IoT technology as it is available. It’s not on the bleeding edge most of the time and serves the basics. For example, technology has been used to control assets and increase safety, as well as to control the grid.
Resilience of grid and secure power supply or electricity are much more difficult now with increasing in distributed energy resources (DER) and aging structure of transmission and distribution networks. Distribution grids are evolving from the longstanding structure. This was colossal and central into a new grid structure where stakeholders are more distributed and in constant communication with each other.
Distribution grid systems that have been conventionally designed and operated for one directional power flow are going to have multi-directional load flow and this will bring voltage regulation, reactive power flow and additional technical losses and these are serious problems that can bring the system to an inoperable point.
The systems to solve these problems will also have to be distributed in nature and will bring together a substantial resource requirement. For this very reason, we need to look into systems that utilize the existing assets more effectively by operating them with integrated information technologies. It is very important that the distribution companies to have some control over and manage PV generation, battery, EV charging stations and guide the end users in their choices for these systems to prevent costly system augmentation. That’s why we think that distribution companies and prosumers are going to be stakeholders that will be in constant interaction and that they can start taking steps towards enabling this interaction straight away Digitalisation
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is the end user. Power suppliers and utility companies looking to utilize IoT technologies to drive internal and external benefits will only achieve success if they get the consumer on board as well.
This focuses on the reliability and durability of the grid. It’s no longer efficient to have central control over every generation or transmission facility, but to deploy an array of intelligent sensors for every facility that can manage information loops. Of course, this will require massive deployments of hardware and software, but the return on investment will be substantial.
There are many examples of IoT usage in the energy industry and some of them are SCADA and performance management systems, AMI, ADMS,
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) allows for centralized monitoring of transmission and generation systems that lie far away from control centers. Central Master Units can control them through a user interface that allows for manual input and undertakes automated decisions. In other words, SCADA let humans to interact process remotely.
IoT will take SCADA to the next level. Due to IoT devices, it has become possible to turn every object in to a transceiver. Sending and receiving volumes of data every minute will allow for better decisions to be made. IoT will enable historical data or predictive data and advanced analytics for SCADA to increase efficiency of operation while SCADA focuses on day to day operations which allows for prior actions and the data collected to influence decisions taken that further influence other actions and so on.
SCADA with IoT will form performance monitoring for generation. This performance monitoring option will enable forecasted production values, PR values, equipment performances and other key metrics that will maximize generation and improve O&M. However, there are some difficulties with SCADA systems and IoT monitors.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers sides of the meter. AMI provides the ability to automatically and remotely measure electricity use, connect and disconnect service, detect tampering, identify and isolate outages, and monitor voltage. AMI also enables monitoring and controlling meters remotely. Hence, it allows utilities for better monitoring of power consumption and more accurate billings, so helps utilities to reduce their operational cost as well. A combination of these two allows for predictive analyses of situations and preparation for times of heavy and light use accordingly. Overall, intelligent grids are moving forward with AMI.
ADMS- Smart Grid
There needs to be an intelligent grid. It needs to be modernized in two phases.
This starts of from the collection of data and moves in to deeper analysis as the process moves along, allowing for new insights to come forward about power generation, weeding out inefficiencies, opening up bottlenecks in transmission, etc. New information from grid operations and customer interactions also allows for self-healing systems to emerge that will learn to fix faults or deal with breakdowns on their own. For example, monitoring of transformers is not an issue with IoT solutions anymore.
Decisions will be taken in milliseconds and unsafe configurations of electrical circuits and distribution equipment will be avoided. This can be achieved by IoT based solutions.
New methods of optimization will allow for entirely new facilities to be built, which will be bereft of all the inefficiencies and weaknesses of the old facilities. Interoperability across the meter, from the utility to the customer will allow for a better use of resources. And this will also mean that competition between industry leaders for IoT based solutions will intensify, creating cheaper options for customers.
ADMS is an advanced distribution management system and creates a unified monitoring and control system with a use of IoT devices. ADMS is a key to achieve the optimization of the intelligent grid and combines data from SCADA, GIS, meter data management, outage management, customer information systems. ADMS has many benefits for utilities. For example, outage response can be done automatically with workforce management which will reduce response time and increase customer satisfaction.
Cutting Down on Waste
All of this will not only cut costs and wasted energy but will also reduce operational stress on equipment and labor, making equipment last longer and taking some of the stress off employees as well.
The implementation of IoT solution in the energy industry around countries. Eventually the entire world will bring value to utilities, customers and hopefully lead to a better, greener tomorrow for the coming generations. For more information, please Contact us.