The oil crisis made the businesses turn from oil-based fuels turn towards a more accessible and ecological energy source - electricity. Electric energy does no harm to the environment and can be harnessed from the Sun, wind, and water. When used, electricity does not leave any byproducts that contaminate the environment. Surely, there are other, less safe and ecological ways to get electricity but still, they are much more eco-friendly and sustainable than oil extraction and refining.
Due to the world’s economic and political situation, an unprecedented spike in the power industry capitalization around the world is here to come. According to June’s Zion Market Research, the green energy market will generate a whopping $1950 B between 2022-2028. It’s twice as much as the whole market value generated by 2021.
If you plan to capitalize on that trend, providing energy for businesses and individuals, you will need the proper infrastructure to do that. And now it's not just about the actual power generators and grids but also the advanced technologies that make power-sharing, management, and delivery easier. Without any doubt, IoT is the major driver of the power industry in this regard. But how do IoT sensors and related technologies transform the ways we generate and use electricity? Let’s find out together and review:
- The modern image of the power industry;
- The role IoT plays in the power industry today;
- The benefits the Internet of Things brings to the power industry.
Distributed power generation: the new paradigm of the electricity industry
The spread of IoT technologies opens a new age of the power distribution by introducing the intelligent grid concept. Now, IoT creates foundation for more interconnectedness between the generators and the users, letting the providers shift from centralized services to distributed ones.
Distributed energy resources (DERs) are capable of producing, detecting, accepting, and exchanging the power/data flow in a decentralized manner, allowing customers more choice in how to use their energy. This is the transition from the one-way process where there is a type of middleman between a generation facility and a customer. Primarily, DERs concept refers to the PV equipped smart homes. DERs allow customers to interact and get electricity from multiple sources directly. It optimizes the energy consumption, data exchange, collection, management, and analytics.
However, to implement the new paradigm into your business requires the latest digital and sensor infrastructures. It includes specialized user apps, cloud storage, analytics services, data transmission networks like 5G and etc. You can see the comparison of the legacy and modern power industry functional elements in the picture above.
The role of the Internet of Things in the modern power industry
The two most widespread use cases of IoT in the power industry are supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
To make a long story short, SCADA has to do with the sensors and actuators connected and controlled by the central computer. Such a system collects time-stamped data and displays it in the user interface.
AMI, in its turn, is a two-way device communication system that works with both business and customer side meters. It is another crucial part of the “smart grid” that provides data analytics, smart meters, data/energy management systems, and communication networks.
Both of the use scenarios are aimed to cover a part of the IoT Information Value Loop (IVL). SCADA and AMI mostly deal with the right side of the loop, providing sensory data collection, its transmission via the network, and aggregation in the databases.
Examples of IoT technologies in the power industry
There are hundreds of various sensors you can use to optimize the power distribution and generation. So in this section, we will focus on the most impactful technologies that unite and manage the IoT sensors information.
Smart meters enhance demand response, voltage management, outage management, accelerated restoration, and overall operational efficiency of the smart grid.
Smart inverters are the new version of the traditional inverters that are able to make autonomous decisions to increase the grid safety and optimize power consumption.
IoT user applications
Web, mobile, or desktop client-side applications for remote control over smart assets and access to their expenditures and energy consumption analytics.
Benefits of the IoT in the Power Industry
So what are the practical examples of the IoT in the power industry? Let's review the major five directions where IoT technologies improve electric power businesses.
Advanced grid control and maintenance
Perhaps, this is the first stage of your power business modernization. To deploy the more advanced and expensive you need to make the foundation on which to build them. Thus, the perfect way to start is to improve the power line resilience and data ingestion capacity. In this case, data ingestion and resilience have synonymous meanings. That’s because real-time control over the grid state is the primary factor for preventive maintenance and timely upgrades.
There are a plethora of IoT sensors to control different aspects of a smart grid:
- Voltage transformers (VTs);
- Current transformers (CTs);
- Temperature and humidity sensors;
- Internet protocol (IP) cameras;
- Smart meters;
- Merging Units (MUs);
- And etc.
When the IoT sensors are orchestrated by the proper AI, the smart grid can heal itself. A self-healing grid means advanced control over the mains voltage and other power line factors that allows the system to prevent blackouts automatically. Apart from preventing blackouts, the system can take immediate actions to fix any disruptions or malfunctions of the grid.
Lower energy costs
IoT sensors paired with augmented intelligence systems allow you to optimize energy consumption reducing energy loses and waste. Let’s take a smart home as an example. If you have an IP camera, movement or sound sensor that can detect if there’s any person in a room it can automatically switch on and off the lights. Basically, you can apply it to any electrical device that uses electricity in your home or business facilities.
In addition, IoT sensors and smart power transmission systems allow businesses and customers to regulate their power consumption more precisely. Also, they can improve power transition and use, by eliminating electric devices’ idle time.
Detailed and actionable insights
The core of the modern power grid data aggregation and analytics is ADMS. Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS) is software that unifies all the existing apps to create a single ecosystem for energy source users and providers. It makes the data aggregation much more efficient, giving your Augmented Intelligence food for analytics. More analytics means more useful insights and more useful insights - well-informed business decisions.
The key to unlocking the true power of ADMS is data accuracy and transition speed. That’s why prior to implementing such a system, you need to pay attention to your sensors and network performance. The system will simply be useless if you don’t have IoT sensors for grid state control, effective data gateways, pipelines, cloud storage, and the latest connectivity technologies.
Power distribution optimization
IoT network is the neural system of your energy business infrastructure. By analogy with the human neural system, it transmits data through the body of all the parts connected to it. But there was a problem - the assets couldn’t send back signals to a powerhouse.
Today, they can. The smart inverter technology introduced two-way communication between the power generators and receivers. The signal exchange comes through the unified control console that aggregates and analyzes them. Direct communication between the two sides allows for an on-demand electricity supply and faster energy transmission too.
Better customer service
IoT can give you a competitive edge over other energy providers, allowing you to offer them high accessibility, availability, and fairer prices.
IoT applications give your clients more control over their electricity consumption. Through such applications, customers can access insights into their electricity consumption habits and spending.
Besides, smart homeowners can manipulate their IoT-enabled property remotely with a tap of a finger. So, if a person usually forgets to switch off an iron, it won’t be an issue any more. Sure, only if it's embedded with an IoT sensor that is able to act upon the commands from the app.
Akveo IoT consulting services
If you plan to implement IoT technologies into your business, contact us
for a free consultation on what solution will be the best for you. We can help you create a digital network for your IoT environment and other software-related parts of the IoT system. Akveo specializes in mobile and web app development, cloud (IoT Hub), AI integrations, data management and analytics systems, IoT system UI/UX design.
P.s. All the images belong to their respective owners mentioned in the image descriptions.
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