USGIF GotGeoint Blog USGIF promotes geospatial intelligence tradecraft and a stronger community of interest between government, industry, academia, professional organizations and individuals focused on the development and application of geospatial intelligence to address national security objectives.
At DistribuTECH Nancy Bui-Thompson, President of Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD), gave an insightful presentation about her utility from the perspective of an elected official. I think that Nancy is one of the first examples of an elected official presenting at DistribuTECH. SMUD is and has been for some time one of the most forward-looking utilities in North America. It was the first California utility to reach 20% renewable power and the first to commit to 33% renewables. It is also one of the most energy efficient utiltiies in California.
It is governed by an elected board of directors, who are responsible for policy and strategy, and perhaps this is the reason it is very customer focussed and has consistently maintained high customer satisfaction ratings. For example during the rollout of the smart meter program it maintained an impressive 95% customer satisfaction rating. The major customer drivers are green, renewable and reliable, and the need for choice. Nancy emphasized that SMUDs unique governance model reserving policy for the board of directors allows SMUDs management and employees freedom to implement without interference.
SMUD is moving from a centralized utility with a business model based on selling electricity to a distributed utility providing localized grid services. This means SMUD is getting out of the business of selling electricity, and into the business of selling grid services.
At the policy level the focus areas are customer analytics, changing the rate structure and grid analytics.
Customer analytics includes collecting operational data on customer behaviour to help identify and provide new services. For example, these statistics helps identify early adopters, customers who are interested in renewable energy or energy efficiency in the home and who help drive programs focussed on theses areas. Customer data and analytics also helps with segmentation, defining the different market segments that require different types and levels of grid services.
Grid analytics is helping SMUD better manage outages. Collecing operational data and analyzing it to be able to predict outages has reduced the number of outages by 20% and the average durating of outages by 28%.
One of the most interesting innovations at SMUD is in the area of rate structure. SMUD and other utilities are in the interesting position for a retailer of trying to sell less of its product, in this case electricity. People are using less electricity as a result of personal interest as well as SMUD's own energy efficiency programs. But the money has to come from somewhere. SMUD has introduced a flat infrastructure fee. Currently every customer pays $18/month for the grid, independent from how much power they consume. SMUD has determined that $28 is the breakeven point, where the cost of maintaining the grid would be covered by infrastructure fees, and is moving towards that monthly change.
Another interesting innovation at SMUD (which I have seen elsewhere) is their solar power program. Customers can buy into solar power without the bother of having to install solar panels on their roofs. The first solar program was a 1 MW solar PV program designed for residential customers. The next will be a an 11 MW program for commercial customers.
Urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon. According to the World Bank, 54 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas today. By 2045, the number of people living in cities will increase by 1.5 times to 6 billion, adding 2 billion more urban residents. With more than 80 percent of global GDP generated in cities, urbanization can accelerate economic development, but it has to be managed in a way that decreases energy intensity (energy per unit of GDP).
Smart city technology is becoming an essential element in the development of the world's megacities. For example, the new Indian government's budget includes an allocation for initiating the development of 100 smart cities. Songdo IDB in Korea and Fujisawa in Japan are two smart cities already under development. China has 36 smart cities in development and a low carbon model city in Tianjin. Singapore plans to become a smart nation by 2015. Iskandar is Malaysia's first smart city. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) incorporates smart city concepts.
According to a recent report, the global smart cities market is forecasted to grow from $410 billion in 2014 to $1.1 trillion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5%. This includes smart homes, intelligent building automation, energy management, smart health, smart education, smart water, smart transportation, smart security, and related services. Most of this activity is expected to occur in Asia and the Middle East.
Technologies and trends such as smart cities, smart grids, sensor webs, the Internet of Things (IoT), facilities and asset management, indoor and outdoor navigation, energy performance modeling and real-time, “big data” analytics are important for urban planners. In these technology domains, open standards encourage the sharing of information. The OGC Urban Planning Domain Working Group intends to discover requirements for open spatial standards in information systems involved in the planning, design, use, maintenance and governance of publicly accessible spaces.
According to the IPCC urban areas accounted for 67 – 76 % of energy use and 71 – 76 % of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2006. Cities are going to have to adopt a leading role in transforming to efficient, non-carbon energy, if we are going to be able to achieve a sustainable level of economic development.
In preparation for COP21 in Paris, all of the major developing nations have committed to decreases their energy intensity. For example, India has just released its commitments (INDC) to reducing emissions prior to the Paris COP meeting. The challenge for India is tackling climate change while at the same time improving the standard of living of its third of a billion poor.
According to Navigant worldwide 96 cities that have committed to becoming 100% renewable. These include Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, California. According to the annual ranking by the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) Vancouver is the world's fourth greenest city. According to the GGEI the top three greenest cities are Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Stockholm. The countries corresponding to these cities (Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden) also rank high, in the top 5 country rankings. Canada is 12th. The Nordic cities have achieved their high standing with the help of their respective national governments, whereas Vancouver has achieved its high green ranking on its own with little help from the federal government. Two years ago the Dutch Ministry of the Interior initiated a joint project with the Municipal government of The Hague (Den Haag) to reduce and stabilize energy usage and costs in downtown Den Haag. The study area is roughly about a square kilometer where the buildings are large and owned for the most part by the National and Municipal governments.
Most of the world's electric power utilities have adopted a smart grid strategy at some level. This can involve distributed renewable energy (DER), reduced emissions from existing fossil fuel generation and various energy efficiency programs. Navigant Research has just released a report that investigates the fundamental shift in the way cities manage energy and their relationship with electric power utilities. It focusses on DER, demand management, EV vehicles and charging infrastructure and energy efficiency. The major technology suppliers according to Navigant are ABB, Accenture, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Hitachi, Huawei, Itron, Oracle, S&C Electric Company, SAP, Schneider Electric, Siemens, SSN, and Toshiba.
Navigant Research projects that the global smart energy for smart cities technology market will grow from $7.3 billion in annual revenue in 2015 to $20.9 billion by 2024. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%.
It should be noted that this analysis does not include energy efficient buildings the market for which Navigant has estimated in a separate study to be $307.3 billion in 2014 growing to $623.0 billion in 2023.
At the Year in Infrastructure conference in London SA Water is one of the finalists for the annual Be Inspired Innovation in Roads Awards. Today Rowan Steele presented an overview of how SA Water, based in Adelaide, South Australia, has applied operation analytics to reduce the water utility's power bill by A$3 million.
South Australia has been suffering from an extended drought for nearly a decade and has just built a desalinization plant to provide more reliable water to their customers.
About 40% of the South Australian power generation is now renewable. Most of this is wind (33%) and solar (8%). Fluctuating sources of power generation means that the price of electricity can range widely from -A$1000 to A$13,000 per megawatt hour (Mwh).
The drought, the new desalinization plant and the fluctuating cost of power introduced complexity into managing what used to be a fairly simple water network.
To address these issues SA Water decided to invest significantly in IT to help manage the water network better. They acquired a hydraulic model that allowed them to simulate the network under different conditions. They also invested in an operational analytics tool.
Together these applications have helped them optimize their network in various ways, such as optimizing chlorine dosing (water from the desal plant has very little organics compared to river water), minimizing electric power costs and reducing water age in some parts of the network. The benefits have been significant. They not only have been able to reduce their power bill by A$3 million, but also have cut their network operating costs by nearly a A$ million. It has also resulted in improved water quality. For example, they can map water age geographically for their entire service area. More fundamentally it has given them much greater insight into sources of revenue and the costs of various aspects of operating a water network.
The Delhi Metrorail Corporation (DMRC) has signed an agreement with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) that will make it possible to incorporate the unique needs of metro installations and mass rapid transit systems for new metro stations and depots within the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building rating system. India is one of the USGBC's top five countries for LEED.
This summer two of Delhi Metro's new stations were awarded the platinum (highest) rating for adherence to green building norms of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). IGBC's Green Mass Rapid Transit System rating is the world's first exclusive rating system to address sustainability in new municipal rail systems. The IGBC rating system enables new rail based municipal rapid transit systems (MRTS) to apply green concepts during design and construction to reduce environmental impact. The rating system ranks stations and depots and on a scale of platinum, gold, and silver depending on their adherence to IGBC specifications. All 90 new metro stations which will be completed by 2016 as part of Delhi Metro's Phase 3 are green buildings. In addition five new solar power facilities have been installed by Delhi Metro at different stations, depots and residential enclaves.
The Delhi Metro is a remarkable achievement in other respects in addition to green. The Government of India and the Government of Delhi jointly set up the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 1995. The DMRC is a special purpose organization with great autonomy and powers. The DMRC has full powers to hire people, decide on tenders and control funds. The initial phase of the $2.3 billion project wrapped up in December, 2005, on budget and nearly three years ahead of schedule. According to Business Week "A well-run subway is a marvel even in a first-world city. In India, where public works are often models of dysfunction, it's nothing short of a miracle." One reason was that DMRC relied on private funding from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation and other international organizations.
India has just released its commitments (INDC) to reducing emissions prior to the Paris COP meeting. India houses 30% of the world's poor (363 million people) and 24% of the global population without access to electricity (304 million). The challenge for India is tackling climate change while at the same time improving the standard of living of its third of a billion poor.
On a per capita basis India is barely on the same chart as the U.S. and Canada. Depending on what is included in the calculation, India is the world's third or sixth largest emitter. On a per capita basis India is 137th. Per capita emissions in the US in 2011 were 4.5 tonnes of carbon, while India's were 0.45 tonnes, 1/10 of U.S per capita emissions.
On a per capita basis electric power usage is also extremely low in India. Indian per capita electricity consumption reached 1010 kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2014-15. In comparison, China has a per capita consumption of 4,000 kWh and developed nations average about 15,000 kWh per capita.
India is taking climate change seriously. A year or two ago India announced a voluntary goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20–25% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. Despite having no obligations per the Convention (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), a number of policy measures were initiated to achieve this goal. India's emission intensity per unit of GDP has decreased by 12% between 2005 and 2010. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in its Emission Gap Report 2014 recognized India as one of the countries on course to achieving its voluntary goal. The energy intensity of the economy has decreased from 18.16 goe (grams of oil equivalent) per Rupee of GDP in 2005 to 15.02 goe per Rupee GDP in 2012, a decline of 2.5% per annum.
In its just released Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the period 2021 to 2030, India has committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. Even more impressively, it has committed to achieving 40 % cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources (renewables and nuclear) by 2030. It also committed to creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
A detailed estimate of the cost of India's climate change program has not yet been finalized, but it is recognized that significant international resources will be required to achieve its goals. The amount will depend on the gap between the actual cost of the implementation of India's commitment in the INDC and what can be allocated from India's domestic sources. A preliminary estimate suggests that at least US$ 2.5 trillion (at 2014-15 prices) will be required for meeting India's climate change actions between now and 2030.
One of the things India is doing to help achieve both emissions reduction and improving the standard of living of its poorest citizens is developing 100 smart cities (under the Smart Cities Mission). These next generation cities will provide core infrastructure and a decent quality of life to its citizens by building a clean and sustainable environment. Smart solutions like recycling and reuse of waste, use of renewables, protection of sensitive natural environment will be incorporated to make these cities climate resilient.
The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is a new urban renewal mission launched by the Government of India for 500 cities with the objective of ensuring basic infrastructure services such as water supply, sewerage, storm water drains, transport and development of green spaces and parks by adopting climate resilient and energy efficient policies and regulations.
The Indian Government has recently launched the Clean India Mission with the objective of making the country clean and litter free by applying modern solid waste management in about 4041 towns covering a population of 306 million. It includes constructing 10.4 million household toilets and half a million community and public toilets.
Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) are being introduced across India. The first two corridors are the 1520 km long Mumbai-Delhi (Western Dedicated Freight Corridor) and the 1856 km long Ludhiana-Dankuni (Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor). The projects are expected to reduce emissions by about 457 million ton CO2 over a 30 year period.
Delhi Metro is India’s first municipal rail project to earn carbon credits. Delhi Metro has already installed 9 solar power generation facilities and plans to increase their number.
India has recently formulated a Green Highways (Plantation & Maintenance) Policy to develop 140,000 km long “tree-line” with plantation along both sides of national highways.
In India forest and tree cover has increased in recent years as a result of national policies for the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Forests and tree cover has increased from 23.4% in 2005 to 24% of India's geographical area in 2013. The Indian Government's long term goal is to bring 33% of its geographical area under forest cover. India has improved the carbon stock in its forest by about 5%, from 6,621.5 million tonnes in 2005 to 6,941 million tonnes in 2013.
According to the annual ranking by the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) Vancouver is the world's fourth greenest city. The most recent GGEI analysis covers 60 countries and 70 cities. It tracks how investors rank the appeal of cities and countries as markets for green investment and it provides a global measure of performance in key efficiency sectors, including buildings, transport, tourism and energy. It also integrates environment & natural capital measuring perceptions and performance in environmental areas like air quality, water, forests and agriculture. According to the GGEI the top three greenest cities are Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Stockholm. The countries corresponding to these cities (Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden) also rank high, in the top 5 country rankings. Canada is 12th. The Nordic cities have achieved their high standing with the help of their respective national governments, whereas Vancouver has achieved its high green ranking on its own with little help from the federal government.
How did Vancouver do this ?
I have blogged on several occasions about geospatial developments at the City of Vancouver. Vanmap, which is the City's geospatial portal, was an early development that has supported a number of the City's green initiatives. Vancouver was one of the first cities that made its geospatial and other data open and free.
Yesterday at Ottawa's City Hall, Andrea Reimer, Vancouver's Deputy Mayor, described in a fascinating presentation how Vancouver achieved its high GGEI ranking and its plans to rise even higher to become the world's greenest city by 2020. In addition the City has recently committed to running 100% on renewable energy by 2035. This means only green energy sources for electricity, heating and cooling and transportation.
This all started about a decade ago, when a public consultation about greening the city attracted an incredible 2300 people. The enthusiastic response was unexpected. It cost participants ten dollars and the organizers were expecting something on the order of a few hundred people. It turned out that they had to change the venue twice to accommodate everyone. The mega response clearly showed a tremendous interest in green by Vancouver's citizens. From this beginning Vancouver's greenest city initiative has continued to be a grass roots movement supported by the City government.
The City started off with some quick start projects which had high visibility and were inexpensive. These included separated bicycle lanes, provision for organic waste (food scraps), a deconstruction bylaw, drinking water stations, community gardens, urban commercial farms, green buildings, city power utility that generated electricity by burning sewage and waste, commercial car sharing, and an urban forest initiative.
The City developed the Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) which focussed on 10 goal areas addressing three overarching areas of focus; zero carbon, zero waste and healthy ecosystems. The 10 goal areas were arrived at by a process of public consultation.
The Greenest City Action Plan includes commitments to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both from City operations and the community; generate 100 per cent of electricity from renewable resources; and implement the greenest building codes in North America. This commitment has helped stimulated the local green economy. 5% of all jobs in Vancouver are green and Vancouver is among the top 10 green technology clusters. World-leading companies such as Westport Inovations (advanced natural gas engine-maker), General Fusion (nuclear fusion), Ballard Power Systems (hydrogen fuel cells) and Saltworks Technologies (waste water remediation) are based in Vancouver. In Vancouver's case economic development and greening the city have gone hand in hand.
The results of the greenest city initiative to date are impressive; for example, 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 18% reduction in waste going to landfills or incinerators, 18% reduction in water use per capita, 19% increase in jobs in the green sector, 30% increase in food assets, and 10% increase in trips by bicycle, on foot or using public transit.
Vancouver's greenest city initiative is an amazing story with concrete measurable achievements. As David Chernushenko, Ottawa City councilman, said in his comments after Andrea's presentation, there is no reason from a technology perspective that other cities such as Ottawa cannot follow in Vancouver's footsteps with their own solutions reflecting their unique environment. But the key ingredient that enabled Vancouver's green revolution is broad public participation, which Vancouver had right from the beginning.
At the beginning of May Elon Musk gave a presentation is which he offered his vision of an alternative to fossil fuels as the future of humanity's energy sourcing and delivery. Musk's long term objective is global carbon free energy for power generation and transportation. He announced Tesla Energy and its first products, lithium-based Powerwall consumer (10 kWh) and Powerpack utility-scale (100 kWh) batteries. He also discussed a third product, GigaFactory, which he described as a gigantic machine to manufacture Powerwall and Powerpack batteries.
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur with a vision for humanity. He is the chairman of SolarCity and his vision for practical carbon-free energy helped start the company. SolarCity has already had significant transformative impact on the traditional power utility business model. He is also the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, a manufacturer of electric vehicles and batteries. (He is also CEO of Space-X, but that's another discussion.) Musk is proposing a fundamental transformation of how the world works, by developing an alternative model for how energy is sourced and delivered. He believes it is possible with solar and batteries to wean the world off fossil fuels and reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions to near-zero.
The world's electric power and transportation is powered by burning fossil fuels. The result is that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have pushed atmospheric CO2 concentrations (first recorded by climate scientist Charles Keeling) to levels not seen even in the paleoclimate record.
Musk thinks that collectively we should do something about this, but is has to be practical (and not win the Darwin award). His proposal for a solution has two parts.
1. Solar Musk pointed out that we have this "handy fusion reactor in the sky" in the sun. We don't have to do anything except harvest the energy. Musk calculated the total surface area needed to generate enough power to get the U.S. completely off fossil fuel power generation. Shown as a blue square on Musk's slide it covers less than 1/4 of the Texas panhandle.
2. Batteries The obvious problem with solar energy is that the sun does not shine at night and even during the day the the power generated varies. Energy captured from the sun needs to be stored. Battery technology has evolved to the point where the size of the batteries needed to wean the U.S. power generation off fossil fuels is the size of a pixel ("the red pixel") on Musk's slide.
In Musk's view what is needed is a battery that simply works. A battery that doesn't require a lot of space, is reliable, works with existing home electrical networks and solar installations, is safe, can be used for years and is affordable. The Tesla Energy consumer battery, the Powerwall, is wall-mounted and comes in different colours so you don't need a battery room. It stores either 7 kWh (priced at $3000) or 10 kWh ($3500) and can be stacked for up to 90 kWh. To put this in context the average Ontario homeowner uses about 800 kWh a month in energy which translates to an average of 27 kWh a day. The Powerwall comes with a 10 year warranty.
What it gives you is peace of mind. You don't have to worry about being without power after an ice storm. It also gives consumers energy independence. Together with solar panels with these batteries consumers can go completely off the grid. This presents a huge challenge to the traditional electric power utility business model, comparable to the impact of cell phones on traditional land-line telephone companies.
Powerwall is targetted for homes and small commercial sites. You can order the Powerwall right now on the Tesla web site. Musk said that shipping will start in 3 to 4 months. Initially the rampup will be slow because the batteries will be made in Tesla's Freemont, California factory. But next year the rampup will accelerate as Tesla transitions to its Nevada Gigafactory.
Tesla is not the only company producing this type of battery. Aquion Energy and Iron Edison are also also producing consumer-scale power batteries. You can see how Tesla's Powerwall and these other companies' products compare from a financial perspective here.
Powering remote locations
Battery power is even more crucial for people in remote locations where there is no grid (remote parts of India and Africa), electricity is intermittent (many urban areas in India), or extremely expensive (northern Canada). Musk thinks that the Tesla Powerwall can scale globally. What he expects to see is what happened with cell phones and landlines. The cellphone leapfrogged the landline. There wasn't any longer a need to put landlines in remote locations. People on islands or remote locations can install solar panels and Tesla Powerwalls and never have to worry about electicity lines.
Utility-scale battery storage
The Tesla Powerpack (100 kWh), which is designed to scale infinitely, can provides gigawatt power. According to Musk Tesla Energy is already working with a utility on a 250 mWh Powerpack installation.
Emphasizing that the Powerpack is a reality, Musk announced that the entire evening event had been powered by Powerpack batteries that had been charged by the solar panels on the roof of the building where the event was taking place. The entire evening was powered by stored sunlight.
Tesla's competitors in this market include Eos Aurora and Imergy Flow. You can see how Tesla's Powerpack and other companies' products compare financially here.
The big picture: transitioning the world to sustainable energy
Musk calculated that 900 million Powerpacks would be required to transition the world to renewable electric power (90,000 GWh). To transition the world to renewable electric power and electric powered transportation would require 2 billion Powerpacks.
Musk made the case that this is something that humanity is capable of by looking at what humanity has already done with transportation. There are about 2 billion cars and trucks on the road. About 100 million cars and trucks are produced every year so that the world's transport fleet gets refreshed every 20 years. Musk's argumemnt is that if we can do it with vehicles, it is within our power to do it with batteries.
This is the reason that Tesla's approach in developing the Gigafactory is to treat it as a product. They are designing a giant machine for making batteries. Musk foresees that there needs to be many gigafactories in the future. He emphasized that this is not something that Tesla is going to do alone. Many other companies need to develop their own gigafactories.
Musk also announced that Tesla's policy of open sourcing patents will continue for gigafactories, Powerwalls, Powerpacks, and other technologies.Musk foresees with this technology a future where the Keeling curve will flatten and where there will be no incremental anthropogenic CO2 increase. The path that he has described based on solar panels and batteries is the only path that he knows can achieve this. In his view it is something that we must do, that we can do, and that we will do. I have to agree with Ed Parsons. This is on the level of Steve Jobs revolutionizing consumer electronics and commercial music delivery, but working on the "slightly bigger challenges" of carbon-free transportation and power generation.
Stuart Laval, Smart Grid Technology Manager at Duke, presented an overview of the COW II project. At most utilities the current architecture is a collection of proprietary application silos with no field interoperability. What interoperability there is is via the enterprise service bus in the central control office. Duke is proposing a distributed intelligence platform (DIP) with seamless interoperability in the field. Duke's plan is to implement a Common Information Model (CIM) into an OpenFMB field message bus which is based on mature standards - OMG Data Distribution Service and Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) which is now an OASIS Standard. CIM provides semantics in the form of standardized object model representations.
The use case is a islandable microgrid. The microgrid will include solar and battery storage and will use wireless to support field communication between all the devices on the distribution grid.
Some of the objectives of the COW II project are
Demonstrate operation of an islandable microgrid utilizing solar PV and battery storage.
Demonstrate a functioning distributed intelligence architecture.
Demonstrate interoperability based on CIM between open publish/subscribe standard protocols including DDS and MQTT.
Develop and demonstrate "edge of the grid" applications such as volt/var and solar smoothing.
Demonstrate live interoperability at DistribuTECH 2016.
Duke has lined up 25 vendor partners to support the COW II effort. For most types of equipment, there are two vendor partners that can provide the equipment. For example, Elster and Itron manufacture smart meters.
A key part of the demonstration is a field message bus based on open standards. Duke is working with a number of partners to support this effort.
Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP)
North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB)
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) DOE INTEGRATE project
EPRI Integrated Grid program
CPS Energy "Grid of the Future" deployment in San Antonio
The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) has already created an OpenFMB working group to support this effort.
The smart grid requires exchanging data between different devices from many manufacturers in the field. Traditional utility technologies are very often vendor silos utilizing proprietary hardware, telecommunications and software platforms that communicate to a centralized hub. Last year at Distributech 2014 a group of Duke Energy and six companies called the “Coalition of the Willing” (COW) – Accenture, Alstom Grid, Ambient Corporation, Echelon, S&C, and Verizon, demonstrated interoperability between their products. The goal was to demonstrate that data and control commands can be shared across multiple vendor platforms (typically proprietary) to achieve interoperability with lower costs and faster response times.
At Distributech 2014 Duke energy also described the challenges Duke has encountered in cleaning, merging and managing operational data, combining it with other types of data including social media, and developing analytical tools to extract meaningful information. Duke also described an innovative approach for involving vendors in the development of their smart grid platform and applications, which provided the basis for vendor involvement in COW.
COW 1 Volt/Var Optimization
The first phase of this project was to convert a Volt/Var Optimization (VVO) function to run on a distributed platform. It used a “communications node” and a standards-based messaging architecture to enable peer-to-peer communications to integrate data from different vendors' systems. Each of the COW participants exposed some data via a standards-based interface (Field Message Bus). The application read two residential meter voltages supplied by Echelon meters and brought the data back via Power Line Carrier (PLC) to the Ambient communication node. If an under voltage condition was detected, the application sent a close command to the control via DNP3 through peer to peer messaging over the Verizon Wireless network. The capacitor control closed the capacitor bank to alleviate the under voltage condition on the meters. Finally, the Alstom DMS was updated with the new state of the capacitor.
Open standards, open source
The COW 1 project involved open source hardware (Raspberry Pi), open source software and open standards. According to Duke the Field Message Bus (FMB) is intended to be an open standard-based, common logical publish/ subscribe (pub/sub) interface that connects multiple disparate grid devices, telecom networks, and information systems. It is the key technology enabler to demonstrate the benefits of the distributed architecture by facilitating interoperability between multiple different vendor’s OT, IT, and telecom systems. It uses open-source software to translate data to a common publish and subscribe messaging interface using the IEC Common Information Model (CIM) data model. Other open standards that are being used in this project include industry-standard protocols as DNP3 and Modbus and messaging protocols like MQTT (for lightweight applications) and AMQP (for heavy duty messaging).
COW 2 Islandable microgrid
Last June Duke Energy announced the next phase of their interoperability project with an expanded groups of vendor partners. The second phase will include the operation of a microgrid system which will integrate distributed renewable resources such as solar PV and battery storage with a field message bus-based distributed intelligence platform with wireless communications to devices.
The new project will support another open standard. The Object Management Group's (OMG) Data Distribution Service (DDS) for Real-time Systems provides a secure publish-subscribe messaging protocol. Many real-time applications involve publishing “data” which is then available to remote applications that are interested in it. In a utility setting this communications model needs to scale to thousands of publishers and subscribers in a robust manner.
A data model based on the CIM standard will be implemented into an open field message bus to support standardized object model representations. The use case for this demonstration project will be an islandable microgrid which Duke will implement and operate at its smart grid test facility.
For the first time in a hundred years, the electric power utility industry is undergoing a momentous change. Distributed renewable power generation, especially solar photovoltaics (PV), is introducing competition into an industry that has been managed as regulated monopolies. Consumers with solar PV panels on their roofs are fundamentally changing the traditional utility business model. A recent report from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) report refers to disruptive challenges that threaten to force electric power utilities to change or adapt the business model that has been in place since the first half of the 20th century.
Most utilities are in the midst of deploying smart grids, which basically amounts to applying the internet to the electric power grid to link intelligent electronic devices, sensors and grid control applications to enable data-driven decision making. One of the most important changes driven by the implementation of smart grid is the much greater importance of location. Geospatial technology (location, geospatial data management and spatial analytics) is seen as foundational techology for the smart grid.
The other major global change in energy is the shift in energy demand from the world's advanced economies to emerging economies. Energy demand from OECD countries has hit a plateau. Currently China is driving world energy demand. The International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2014 projects that in the future as demand slows from China, world energy demand will be driven by India, the Middle East, and Africa and Latin America.
Recently IDC Energy Insights released a report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Utilities 2015 Predictions with predictions for the future of the utility business. Some of these are startling, suggesting that the utility industry is going to experience fundamental changes in how they do business over the next few years.
New business models
IDC predicts that utilities will be looking less at generation as a source of revenue. IDC predicts that by 2018 45% of new data traffic in utilities' control systems will originate from distributed energy resources that are not owned by the utility.
To make up for this loss of generation revenue IDC predicts that utilities will be looking for new business opportunities such as services. Specifically, IDC predicts that utilities will derive at least 40% of their earnings from new business models by 2017.
Cloud - By 2018 cloud services will make up half of the IT portfolio for over 60% of utilities.
Integration - In 2015 utilities will invest over a quarter of their IT budgets on integrating new technologies with legacy enterprise systems.
Analytics - By 2017 45% of utilities' new investment in analytics will be used in operations and maintenance of plant and network infrastructure.
Mobility - 60% of utilities will focus on transitioning enterprise mobility to capitalize on the consumer mobility wave.
Smart systems - By 2018 cognitive systems will penetrate utilities' customer operation to improve service and reduce costs.
Some of the important drivers for these trends include the global redistribution of energy demand from the world's advanced to the emerging economies, the rapid emergence of cloud-based provisioning and services, increasing regulatory pressure responding to customer demand to improve energy market transparency and competitiveness, cross-industry competition for technical, especially IT skills, smart analytics, and virtual and augmented reality beginning to be applied in business.
Top 10 technology trends
In March 2014 Gartner, Inc. identified the top ten technology trends which it saw impacting the global energy and utility markets. There is considerable overlap between IDC's business predictions and the technology trends identified by Gartner, Inc.
Social media are beginning to be used as a customer acquisition and retention medium, as a consumer engagement channel to drive customer participation in energy efficiency programs, a source of information about outages, and as the emerging area of crowd-sourcing distributed energy resources coordination. Social media are also being used by utilities for communicating information about outages with customers.
Smart grid will increase the quantity of data that utilities have to manage by a factor of about 10,000 according to a recent estimate. This trend is driven by intelligent devices, sensors, social networks, and new IT and OT applications such as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), synchrophasors, smart appliances, microgrids, advanced distribution management, remote asset monitoring, and self-healing networks. The type of data that utilities will need to manage will change: for example, real-time data from sensors and intelligent devices including smart phones and unstructured data from social networks will play a much greater role for utilities in the future.
Mobile and Location-Aware Technology
Mobile and location-aware technology which includes hardware (laptops and smartphones), communication products (GPS-based navigation, routing and tracking technologies), social networks (Twitter,Facebook and others) and services (WiFi, satellites, and packet switched networks) are transforming all industries. Utilities for the most part have been slow to adopt consumer mobile technology, but this is changing.
Acccording to Gartner, areas such as smart meter, big data analytics, demand response coordination and GIS are driving utilities to adopt cloud-based solutions. Early adopters of cloud technologies include small utilities with limited in-house IT skills and budgets, organizations which provide application and data services to multiple utilities, such as cooperative associations and transmission system operators, and investor-owned utilities (IoUs) conducting short-term smart grid pilots.
Sensors, which are being applied extensively throughout the entire supply, transmission and distribution domains of utilities, provide a stream of real-time information from which a real-time state of the grid can be derived.
IT and OT Convergence
Virtually all new technology projects in utilities will require a combination of IT and OT investment and planning, such as AMI or advanced distribution management systems (ADMSs). This will be a challenge for many utilities, especially smaller ones, which don't have in-house IT skills.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure
AMI provides a communication backbone aimed at improving distribution asset utilization and facilitating consumer inclusion in energy markets.
Internet of Things
Sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects are linked through wired and wireless networks, using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. When intelligent objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding utility grids and responding to changes in near real-time. Following McKinsey there are two key benefits arising from the Internet of Things for utilities
Enhanced situational awareness - acheiving real-time awareness of physical environment, in this case, the grid
Sensor-driven decision analytics - assisting human decision making through deep analysis and data visualization
Asset performance management
Traditional asset management approaches are too limiting for today’s performance-based, data-driven utility environment. Asset performance management solutions need to deliver real-time equipment performance, reliability, maintenance and decision support for effective resource management so that operations and maintenance teams are empowered with real-time decision support information, providing the right information to the right people at the right time and in the right context. The result is improved operational performance and better asset availability and utilization.
Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics
Analytics will become essential as the volume of data generated by intelligent devices and sensors, mobile devices (the Internet of Things) and social media increases and huge pools of structured and unstructured data need to be analyzed to extract actionable information. Analytics will become embedded everywhere, often invisibly.