Fresh news on smart grid, IoT and green technologies
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Picture a time when a company’s buildings look less like net energy consumers and more like integrated power plants, suggests William “Billy” Grayson, principal of Bent Branch Strategies and former director of sustainability at Liberty Property Trust. That’s what Grayson believes the future will look like.
Grayson will be speaking about this and how the role of energy managers is evolving at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. We recently caught up with him to find out the major shifts happening in energy management.
What is a trend you’re seeing in energy management?
One is the availability of really granular data. We’ve gone from the time when you had to work with utility companies and maybe a couple brokers to do energy procurement to having your own dashboard. Now the energy manager has almost the same tools that the energy brokers would have.
Related to that, what are the biggest challenges?
When you have this data at an affordable price, you still often need some guidance on how to project long-term trends and build a mix of energy that leads to price stability, helping you get the best deal.
Everybody has to figure out how to integrate renewable energy — onsite or offsite — into their energy management mix. You’re looking at more long-term deals. Normally when I’m buying electricity through the grid, I’ll sign for a year or two, not for 20. Doing a solar power purchase agreement is very different than buying electricity or gas through the grid, even for a sophisticated energy manager.
What are examples of companies using energy management to meet sustainability and financial goals?
In industrial real estate, Prologis has had an interesting time integrating renewables into their portfolio and figuring out ways to make money from onsite renewable energy. They’re the biggest owner of warehouses in the United States. They have 120 megawatts installed of solar — that’s about 10 times as much as any other industrial real estate owner.
Energy management: Oracle has introduced Oracle Utilities Operational Device Cloud Service (ODCS), a new cloud offering that enables utilities to further automate the management of their grid assets and devices, at a total lower cost of ownership.
The utilities industry is going through tremendous transformation as a result of IoT and increasing distributed energy resources. The United States alone has more than 70 million smart meters installed [footnote] and utilities are increasingly deploying smart field sensors. As each smart device has its own unique requirements for maintenance, inspection, firmware upgrades and security, utilities are struggling to manage the lifecycle of these assets in a single, centralized way. In response to these challenges, Oracle has unveiled a cloud-based version of its Operational Device Management Solution that provides a scalable and future-proof way to manage IoT device operations.
Available as a new stand-alone cloud service, ODSC automates the management of smart grid and IoT devices. When combined with Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Management solution, it delivers a unified solution in the cloud to extend asset performance management to smart devices at a massive scale. This complete visibility of smart assets delivers detailed insights into each device’s location, characteristics, health, and firmware upgrade status. In addition, utilities can extend ODCS for customer—owned asset registration processes such as smart thermostats and solar PVs. Additionally, by leveraging the cloud, utilities can reduce their total cost of ownership.
“We’re in front of the dramatic shifts the utilities industry is experiencing, providing new technologies that meet the needs of our customers as they navigate this changing landscape,” said Rodger Smith, general manager and senior vice president for Oracle Utilities. “We’re committed to innovation, and to providing cloud solutions that make operational excellence a reality for electric, gas and water utilities worldwide.”
The solution can be added to Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Cloud Service and Oracle Utilities Meter Data Analytics Cloud Service or used as a stand-alone solution depending on a utility’s requirements.
Energy trading and commodity firms across Europe are currently scrambling to deal with the implications of the MiFID II regulation. This marcus evans event will focus on how to obtain the crucial ancillary activity exception, but also what to do if this is not obtained in order to remain a profitable organisation. It will also illuminate the current rules on position limits and hoe they will affect firms in practice while shedding light and clarifying the new market structure under MiFID II. The event will take place in London, UK the 20th-21st of November 2017.
Attending this premier marcus evans conference will enable you to:
• Understand the technicalities surrounding the ancillary exception and what it requires you to demonstrate
• Hear what kinds of plans can be made should your firm not obtain the exception
• Gain clarity on the rules for position limits and how they will affect you in practice
• Obtain clarity on the new market structure under MiFID II: SIs, MTFs, and OTFs
Learn from Key Practical Case Studies
• OMV explore the definition of hedges under MiFID II
• FCA engage on the outcomes of RTS21
• BNP Paribas explain the realities of the new market structure, including Sis
Expert Speaker Panel includes:
• Dr.Josef Bogensperger, Principle Risk Manager, Verbund
• Jasper Jorritsma, Senior Policy Advisor, Autoriteit Financiele Markten
• Nikos Triantafyllidis, Group Financial and Energy Markets Compliance Manager, OMV
• Paul Willis, Technical Specialist-Commodities/ Derivative Markets/Markets Division, FCA
• Gerd Stuhlmacher, Director of Legal and Compliance, Uniper
For more information, please visit the event website: https://goo.gl/mFjBhY
or contact Melini Hadjitheori at firstname.lastname@example.org
In Germany, evolving energy policies and changing consumer preferences are leading to a fundamental shift in grid operations. Distributed energy resources (DER), including renewable energies, lie at the centre of this transition and are driving countries like Germany to explore integration solutions that can mitigate the associated disruptive effects.
The development of smart grid infrastructure is critical for countries attempting to manage the transition to a decentralised and digital grid. In Germany, evolving energy policies and changing consumer preferences are leading to this fundamental shift in grid operations. Distributed energy resources (DER), including renewable energies, lie at the centre of this transition and are driving countries like Germany to explore integration solutions that can mitigate the associated disruptive effects. Deploying advanced metering infrastructure can be seen as the first step in this process, as it provides German energy producers and consumers with the requisite information for balancing the energy supply system while also establishing a secure communications platform for current and future smart grid technologies.
While Germany has made remarkable strides in its pursuits of renewable power generation, the country has fallen behind some of its Western European counterparts in the deployment of smart grid technologies, most notably smart meters. Up until now, Germany has been largely hesitant to install high volumes of smart meters, wary of the costs, technical challenges, and a host of data security concerns. After years of intense debate, the tides are now beginning to turn with the passage of the Digitisation of the Energy Turnaround Act in July 2016. This legislation establishes guidelines for Germany’s initial minimalistic smart meter rollout set to begin in 2017 and lays the groundwork for a new phase in Energiewende, the country’s ultimate energy transition.
Why implement smart meters now?
Driven by Energiewende, Germany has been progressively shifting its energy mix away from centralised generation and aims to fill 80% of its energy demand with renewables like solar and wind by 2050. This fundamental restructuring of the energy supply system can lead to a number of integration challenges – including voltage instability, bidirectional power, power quality, capacity constraints, over-utilisation (damage to existing asset base), and load levelling/peak shifting. Deploying smart meters can help mitigate these issues by establishing a secure communications network over which information on energy production and consumption can be shared. This dissemination of information can provide further visibility into the energy supply system and enables grid operators more flexibility in reacting to current grid conditions. This enhanced flexibility and visibility is a core element of effective DER integration and is central to Germany’s planned smart meter rollout.
The largest demand response provider in the world is in trouble, and layoffs last year to streamline the company have not been enough. EnerNOC, despite recent contracts signed in Asia, says additional revenues overseas will likely not be enough to keep the company growing.
While EnerNOC had turned to software as a way to shore up demand response revenues, the company now says that market has been slow to develop.
“Although we had a number of strategic sales wins and more recently have seen indicators of accelerated market adoption, the near-term opportunity has materialized much more slowly than we expected,” Tim Healy, Chairman and CEO of EnerNOC, said in a statement.
In September of last year, the company said it had a plan to restructure its subscription-based energy intelligence software to focus more on select industry segments and “high potential customers.” That announcement came with a 15% force reduction. Before that in June, EnerNOC informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it would sell its utility customer engagement business, and reduce its North American workforce by about 5%.
ABB, a leading player in the global power technology industry has launched ABB Ability Electrical Distribution Control System, a breakthrough innovation for cloud-based energy management, for its US market.
The system connects a facility’s electrical equipment with the Internet of Things and leverages ABB circuit breaker’s built-in sensing and connectivity to provide the information and control functions to reduce total operating costs by up to 30 percent.
ABB Ability is a range of solutions that are digital and connected to allow ABB to support customers and optimize their assets. The ABB Ability™ Electrical Distribution Control System was launched in Europe in 2016.
The smart home has seen impressive technological innovations designed to improve sustainability and reduced energy usage, leading to a drop in associated utility expenditures. But the same is not true for businesses: The “smart store” does not yet exist.
To make the smart store a reality, the same innovations found in the smart home must be applied to brick-and-mortar retail outlets to help them manage energy usage and reduce overhead expenses.
Whether or not a retailer operates in multiple locations, energy costs take up a large percentage of overhead expenses (think refrigeration units at a grocery store or AC units running at a coffee shop on a hot summer day). Without an energy management system in place, these HVAC systems often go unchecked, unnecessarily running through the day and night. Worse yet, their energy costs are assumed to be a necessary, unchangeable factor.
Retailers have an opportunity to save immensely on energy usage and overhead expenses if similar innovations from the smart home carry over to the store. For these businesses, connected devices are the next step in focusing on sustainability while cutting costs, increasing energy efficiency and easing the work of energy managers.
At any given retail location in the United States, it’s likely facility managers are struggling to accommodate employees, customers and their temperature preferences, affecting air conditioners, furnaces and thermostats that maintain pleasant work environments — which costs money. Another expense often overlooked is when employees leave a store at the end of the day. It’s not unusual for the HVAC system to work throughout the night, even when unneeded. There is a lack of communication between the stores and their environments.
To remedy this, some large retailers use expensive, complex energy management solutions to handle their usage and lower their bills; the same types of technology are simply inaccessible to small and medium-sized stores. A major roadblock for interested business owners is the complexity of current systems, which often requires massive infrastructure changes and store downtime. While smart thermostats for the home have been streamlined to simple, elegant devices, retailers have not been so lucky.
An IBM-backed energy startup will attempt to advance the smart grid via a new cloud-based analytics platform designed to forecast renewable energy supplies along with the overall health of a statewide and regional power grids.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) and electric power transmission specialist Vermont Electric Power Co. (Velco) said last week the energy startup called Utopus Insights Inc. would incorporate researchers and intellectual property from IBM’s smart energy team. IBM Fellow Chandu Visweswariah will serve as president and CEO of the energy analytics startup, which is scheduled to begin operations around March 1.
Despite the Vermont focus, the smart energy spin-out from IBM Research will be based in Valhalla, NY. Headquartered in Rutland, Vt., Velco, is owned by several state electric distribution companies. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Electrical grids have become increasingly complex on both the power generation and demand sides, forcing operators to identify new tools for managing fluctuating renewable energy sources, growing energy demand and far-flung assets.
Another factor fueling the energy management startup is the rise of extreme weather. “Increasing extreme weather events coupled with explosive growth in weather-dependent renewable energy sources led Velco to look for new analytical tools to ensure grid reliability,” company CEO Tom Dunn noted in a statement. Velco worked with IBM Research to develop grid management software that will serve as the basis of the Utopus platform.
By 2018, 70 percent of utilities are predicted to launch major digital transformations in response to the challenges faced in their current business model. For utilities, vendors, and regulators, the challenge is not just to examine and optimize existing processes, but also finding entirely new ways of conducting business in a digital grid across a vast number of areas and functions.
In 2015, the International Energy Agency said the U.S. would need to spend $2.1 trillion by 2035 on grid technologies and infrastructure to prepare for higher penetrations of renewables. For the most part, utilities are responding. The inner workings of utility agencies may be an enigma for consumers, but many experts predict increased transparency.
“As distributed energy resources and consumer-driven investments continue to grow, enhanced grid transparency and the ease of access to distribution system information are both key to unlocking the full range of benefits of these resources,” said Sara Baldwin Auck, the Director of the IREC Regulatory Program.
Utility as a Platform
To survive the digital age, utilities are realizing they must market themselves to consumers as something more than just a utility company. From mobile apps to gamification, many utilities are partnering with third party vendors to help users track and control usage, pay bills, report outages, and receive notifications.
“If utility companies can figure out how to become trusted energy advisors and a convenient energy resource, they can increase their validity in the market while helping customers better manage their consumption,” says Yoav Lurie, founder and CEO of Simple Energy, a utility as a platform company that aims to empower people to save energy.
Lurie believes the utility as a platform model is the way of the future for utilities looking to evolve. Utility as a platform uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people save energy and how utilities engage customers.
“Different utilities have different reasons for their energy efficiency and demand response programs, from mandates to avoided capacity costs, but perhaps the biggest draw of the platform is how it changes the customer relationship,” explains Lurie.
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TU-Automotive are thrilled to announce that Dan Preston, CEO of Metromile is joining the keynote speaker line-up at Connected Car Insurance Europe 2017 (April 19-20, London).
Dan brings an American flavour to an already prestigious speaker line-up composed of the biggest European insurance carriers. He will be joining the likes of Aviva, Generali, insurethebox, AIG, Zurich, Direct Line Group, RSA, MAPFRE to deliver their insights on the future of the connected motor insurance space.
Dan Preston, CEO at Metromile states: “Metromile is excited to share our journey in creating the 1st pay-per-mile business model in the U.S. and our view of how the future of the connected car ecosystem will lead to new innovation benefitting both consumers and insurers. Europe has demonstrated that they’re ahead in InsurTech and Connected Car Insurance Europe is a must-attend event to connect with like-minded companies and individuals.”
Connected Car Insurance Europe is the leading convergence of the connected motor insurance executives looking to be at the forefront of the impact of vehicle connectivity on traditional insurance models. This year the agenda tackles how to usher in a new era of mobility insurance products powered by usage based insurance data.
Sample of Connected Car Insurance Europe 2017 Speakers:
- Dan Preston, CEO, Metromile
- Paul Heybourne, Head of Innovation & Business Development, Aviva Group
- Steve Hales, Head of Connected Insurance, Generali
- Michael Brockman, CEO, Insure the Box
- Dan Freedman, Head of Motor Development, Direct Line Group
- Simon Gallimore, Senior Manager Complex Claims, AIG
- Andy Price, Practice Leader, EMA – Motor Fleet, Zurich
- Kenny Leitch, Global Head of Telematics, RSA
- Sergio Gomez Recio, Corporate Deputy Director of innovation, Mapfre
- Luigi Barcarolo, Group Head of Connected Insurance Products Roll Out, Generali
- Iwan Parry, Head of Insurance, Transport Research Laboratory
- Manjit Rana, CEO & Founder, Ingenin
- Matteo Carbone, Founder, Connected Insurance Observatory
A comprehensive overview of the event can be found here: http://www.tu-auto.com/connectedcar-insurance-eu/
TU-Automotive is a world leader in providing events and business intelligence to the automotive technology community, covering telematics, mobility, autonomous vehicles and legal & insurance. You can sign up to receive free weekly updates, including exclusive industry analysis, interviews and insights at: www.tu-auto.com
Project Director | TU-Automotive
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