The post I wrote about energy demand management (EDM) last week certainly stimulated some discussion and got people thinking – always good.
It appears it was a timely post too as I came across two announcements which seem to indicate that the big utilities are looking very seriously at smart grids and EDM.
The first news came out of SAP’s recently formed AMI Lighthouse Council when they announced the integration of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) with Enterprise technology.
The AMI lighthouse consists of SAP, CenterPoint Energy, CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, Consumers Energy, Energy East, Florida Power & Light, Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Public Service Electric & Gas as well as several strategic vendors like eMeter, Itron and OSIsoft.
AMI short for Advanced Metering Infrastructure refers to systems that measure, collect and analyse energy usage, from smart electricity meters on request or on a pre-defined schedule.
This infrastructure includes hardware, software, communications, customer associated systems and meter data management software.
The network between the measurement devices and business systems allows collection and distribution of information to customers, suppliers, utility companies and service providers. This enables these businesses to either participate in, or provide, demand response solutions, products and services.
The idea is that the AMI Lighthouse Council are working towards the integration of SAP® solutions with AMI solutions for business processes, including customer relationship and billing and enterprise asset management. All vital to making EDM a reality.
The second announcement which caught my eye is that IBM is working with Country Energy (a utility co. which owns and operates Australia’s largest energy supply network) to develop a smart grid in Australia. From the announcement:
Country Energy is pursuing the Intelligent Network concept to improve reliability, support the growth of renewables like solar and wind, and make energy efficiency simpler for customers.
When you see tech companies like SAP, and IBM betting heavily on the smart grid concept and utilities like Country Energy, CenterPoint Energy and CLP Power Hong Kong Limited coming on board to make it happen you know that smart grids are coming.
This next generation of smart grids will be able to absorb far more energy from unpredictable (destabilising) renewable energy sources without compromising grid stability which is in all our best interests.
It’s always good to see companies working together when it comes to energy demand management. One company I read about the other day, Enernoc (http://www.enernoc.com/index.html), is even paying companies to have them come find greener solutions to their current energy management situations.
Doug Neal says
Thanks for calling attention to the big investments utilities are making in smart metering. We need to be thinking about how theycan be used to support Green initiatives. As I learned at the recent Next Generation Utilities conference in Austin ( http://www.ngusummit.com/index.asp ) these meters may well be connected to the web via Broadband Over PowerLine and within the house they may support Zigbee. So, utilities are interested because they reduce service calls to the home ( aka “truck rolls” ) by 30% or more, but we should be interested in how they can monitor energy use in a way that people will be made much more aware of what power their devices are using.
Today most people don’t know the power that their devices draw. Most of us don’t know what our computers draw when on full or on standby, unless we have purchased a device like the Kill-A-Watt ( http://p3international.com/products/special/P4400/P4400-CE.html ).
For example, with Zigbee you could likely develop a cheap refrigerator magnet that would be color coded for intenstity of power use. Get kids to monitor it and urge their parents to be greener.
You could imagine other uses of the social network. What about a badge on your Facebook page showing you and your friends what you are currently consuming. Or how about a lapel pin you wear in public that is bluetoothed to your phone which is being fed data about your energy consumption? Would you dare to go out in public if you were showing “red”?
What other ways could we use social power to get people to do the Green things that they otherwise won’t get around to doing?