The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to regulate carbon emissions is just the latest challenge facing the U.S. electric power system. Technological innovation is disrupting old ways of doing business and accelerating grid modernization. Last year, AEE released Advanced Energy Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction, a report detailing the use, application, and benefits of 40 specific advanced energy technologies and services. This post is one in a series drawn from the technology profiles within that report.
Smart grid communications networks include software and hardware that enable the collection of data from and communication between smart grid technologies, including advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Smart grid software and hardware technologies allow utilities to collect vast amounts of real-time data. Smart grid data management and analytics solutions help them organize, analyze, and act on that data. These solutions are complex software platforms that use algorithms to scan all of the incoming data and point toward actionable conclusions for utilities, energy service companies, and energy consumers. These programs also help to forecast demand and better identify and monitor outages.
Utilities, energy service companies, and energy consumers across the country are turning to grid communications networks to help them better balance the grid, monitor energy usage, and integrate renewables and distributed generation. An example of this type of software is Gridco’s Grid Management and Analytics Platform, which allows for remote control and data collection and analytics of the grid.1 As more advanced software services emerge in this field, the industry is expected to see significant growth and greater adoption. Global smart grid analytics annual spending is expected to grow from $0.7 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion by 2020.
In February this year, AEE Member General Electric’s Digital Energy business announced that it would provide Iceland’s largest utility company, Reykjavik Energy, with its PowerOn Advantage advanced distribution management system. The system will allow Reykjavik Energy to reduce costs and improve functionality. “A utility’s ability to control its network and manage the people working on its power system is fundamental to ensuring a safe and reliable power system for its customers and employees,” said Magnus Rosenblad, account director for the Nordic region, GE’s Digital Energy business.
With more data and analysis providing deeper insight into grid operations, utilities can more precisely manage the grid and get a better sense of where energy efficiency measures and other energy management options may be the most valuable. Smart grid data management and analytics technologies enable utilities to better run their energy efficiency programs, integrate more variable renewable resources, and decrease the need for electricity generated by high-emitting peaking power plants.