Archive for October, 2009
On the 27th of October, Greg Bove, the construction manager of DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center Arcadia, gave the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama a tour amongst the installation of thousands of solar panels. The Solar Plant is the largest of its kind in the United States and will save approximately 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
After the introduction from representatives of the FPL Group, Barack Obama delivered a speech on clean energy, why the 21st century smart grid infrastructure should be built and that it will create tens of thousands of new jobs. Under the Recovery Act that totals $3.4 billion, United States are investing in a smarter, more secure- and energy efficient electric grid.
Enerway invites contributors that would like to share information about their AMI projects. Describe for example how you planned it, what kind of people were involved in the project, were there any complications that forced you to find another solution and how is the situation today.
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About the product
Google PowerMeter™ is a free tool from Google that allows utility customers and private customers with a smart meter installed to access their electricity usage data and other information from their utility company on the Internet. The information is presented on their personal iGoogle homepage but only if they sign up for the Google PowerMeter™ gadget. The gadget uses the information from the smart meter and provides the utility customer with tools to analyse the usage. There will be a tight connection between Google and the utility provider with a logotype and link directly to the utility company website. As a utility provider you can send messages directly to your customers’ iGoogle PowerMeter™ gadget. This could open all kinds of possibilities and strengthen the relationship with your customers.
How to be able to use it?
Well there are actually some things that need to be done before your can start analysing your electricity usage in iGoogle!
First you need to become a partner with Google within the Google PowerMeter™ project. There are just a few companies that are involved in this project at the moment but Google announces that they would like to add more companies. You can inform Google about your interest as a utility company by using the form provided at this link:
When you or your utility company becomes partner with Google PowerMeter™ you need to connect to Google’s PowerMeter™ data repository over the Internet and send electricity usage information from your meter or meter data repository. Google has created a step-by-step guide for the configuration and integration process. The information is stored securely inside Google’s data centers. Google PowerMeter™ doesn’t request information from outside; it just receives data that is sent to it. The format should be in XML based on the open Google Data API.
It must be sent via a secured Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s more known as HTTPS.
The customer and user must sign up to participate with the Google PowerMeter™ program to be able to use the gadget that is provided by Google. It’s not possible for a utility provider to upload data if their customer hasn’t signed up yet. The data will be rejected.
What do I gain as a customer?
By accessing the information from my smart meter I will be able to easily understand and reduce my energy bill. The information will make me more aware of the situation and it will also help me to be more interested in how I use energy. By changing small things and become more energy efficient I can save money and also the environment.
There are a number of features developed. For example you can compare your consumption against benchmarks. You can use the Budget Tracker to compare the consumption with historical data from your meter. The Google PowerMeter™ gadget presents your usage in a diagram. The resolution depends on the reading frequency provided by your utility company. There will probably be more functionality developed in the future.
Why should utility companies send information to Google PowerMeter™?
A lot of people have already signed up for an iGoogle account and they login to their account on a daily basis. How often do they login to your utility website?
If there is a possibility to not develop these features on your company website but still provide your customers with the information they wish for it could save you a lot of money.
I hope that we will be able to present more information about the Google PowerMeter™ later.
Here are links to my sources:
News from United States.
The Commerce Department has released a roadmap for about 80 initial standards needed for the Smart Grid Interoperability. The publication identifies 14 gaps in the existing system and has made a priority action plan for filling them.
Cyber security has a Critical Role. Smart Grids must be able to protect itself from hacker attacks that might turn the power off.
Listen to the full Clean Skies News report.
Here’s a great video created by the South Korean firm, Korea Electric Power Corporation and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
The makers of this film have done a fantastic job visualising a Smart Grid and what it can do. You have to watch it. It’s presented in English.
Here’s some fresh interviews from the Smart Grids Summit in 2009 provided by the World Trade Group.
Benjamin Kott interview, working at Google
Listen to his answers on these questions:
• Please describe your role at Google
• How are Google involved in Smart Grids Technology?
• What other involvement does Google have in Smart Grids Technology?
• It could be used for businesses as well?
• What are Google doing about their own energy efficiency?
• Are you working with any specific operators in rolling out the PowerMeter?
Andrew Hiorns interview, working at The national grid
Listen to his answers on these questions and more:
• Please describe your role at The national grid
• Running up to 2020, what is currently happening in the UK?
• Does that involve a massive upgrade for the grid?
• Is the integration of offshore and renewables into the grid happening over the next few years?
There are companies that can turn your house into a Smart Home. In a Smart Home you can interact with all connected electrical devices and be in charge of almost everything on remote by pressing a display button or using your cell phone or the Internet.
Smart Homes and energy
Some utility companies have installed devices which enable them to monitor the consumption in real time and their customers can analyze its consumption by using custom-made software on their computer that is connected to the Internet. So far so good, but what I would like to see is exactly what devices in my home that uses how much electricity and when.
IPv6 and NAT
A couple of years ago I read a lot about the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). With IPv6 the amount of IP addresses would get enormous (5^1028) which would make it possible to set an IP number to every electrical device that’s in you home.
For example the TV, DVD, Phones, Home entertainment system, Oven, Refrigerator, Microwave Oven, Lights in every room, Home security alarm system, Carport or anything you could think of. With a connection to each and every one of these devices you will be able to control everything AND maybe also measure it!
The changeover from IPv4 to IPv6 did stagnate because of the development of a new technique making it possible to create several private IP addresses by using a router in a local area network. The router is only using one public address. The technique is called NAT (Network Address Translation).
What I am interested in is also the possibility to measure the consumption used by every unique electrical device in a home and be able to analyse the information. I am certain that it will become real in every home. The question is when? I think within 10 years as standard in new homes.
I will end this post by putting in a commercial video from Houselogix that shows some possibilities for a Smart home. There are several companies on the market. Make a comment to provide us with more links!
This post consists of some facts and some dreams…
In the future that I believe in, almost everything will be connected and integrated with each other. You will be able to control and plan your everyday life in a new way. I believe in smart transportation plug-in hybrid vehicles that is part of the community transport system. I think that the smart vehicle will adjust its time schedule after my moves and pick me up when I need it and drive me wherever I would like to go. The people waiting for me know exactly when I will arrive. The plug-in vehicle batteries can be charged anywhere in the grid.
Does it sound too futuristic?
Visit www.skycab.se/eng or take a look at this video:
In the future that I believe in, you don’t need several cards in your wallet for bank accounts, shopping bonus cards, ID etc. You are the ID yourself by using your eyes or your fingerprints and perhaps with only one card.
Read about Precise Biometrics Match-on-Card™
Ok, what does this have to do with a Smart Grid Infrastructure?
It’s easy. Without electricity the civilization stops and this is just the beginning.
The utility companies are in the perfect position for creating new flexible and reliable services and products. In the Smart Grid everything will be more flexible and it will be easy to monitor what’s happening in the grid and automatically adjust to it. You will be able to minimize distribution losses, detect leaks, peaks and outages and much more.
There could be much more than just energy and water.
To be able to communicate in the Smart Grid you need to set up an infrastructure for telecommunication. Telecommunication will be a key in the future to come so why not build a network that all customers also can use to get access to the Internet at the same time and make some money on it? Some utility companies have decided that they don’t want to become a telecom company and stops. Other utility companies build a backbone network instead and invite telecom operating companies to use it for its traffic. This enables a deregulated market which is good for the end customers.
Here’s a link to one utility company in Sweden that provides an open city network.
www.jonkopingenergi.se/web/Bredband (Google translate)
With a Smart Grid Infrastructure you will be able to adapt to new services and products.
What is a smart grid and why should it be built?
Electricity is produced at the same time as it is consumed. There are no ways energy can be stored in large volumes yet. This means that if for example there is a blackout somewhere in the network the power plants will produce too much electricity. With too much electricity produced the demand will decrease which will affect the electricity prices in the grid. Of course the opposite behaviour will be used if the demand is increasing because of a cold winter’s day or clouds blocking the sun for the solar cells for example.
A Smart Grid could react much faster than the traditional grid and lower the production faster or route the power in another way automatically which makes it possible to minimize the blackout area faster. A Smart Grid could be constructed and programmed to become kind of self healing. The Smart Grid could save money and also the environment.
The metering devices in a Smart Grid should send information in real time to be able to react as soon as possible. The communication latency is a problem for building the Smart Grid. Some AMR systems communicate its data with a relay time of about 24 hours. They are most common for meters installed on the countryside where there are large distances between each delivery site. There are other metering systems that could send information in real time.
The Swedish parliament have decided that all network companies in Sweden should read all electricity meters at least once a month for delivery sites with a fuse size lower than or equal to 63A (Ampere). Delivery sites above the fuse size of 63A should be read once an hour. How and when the data is sent depends on what system that is being used but most meter readings are sent once a day (for hour values) and once a month (for monthly readings). For those network companies that installed a metering system designed for the minimal requirements it could be costly to upgrade the grid to a smart one. This might be something that should be in mind for those utility companies planning for a new AMI project.