New developments in the generation, distribution and consumption of electricity have made the energy sector a hotbed of innovation in what has become known as the Internet of Energy.”With the IoT more generally, the marketing hype has largely gone ahead of the reality,” says Raj Pai, global head products and marketing at energy analytics firm AutoGrid. “But where people are spending is in the energy use cases. These are the ones that are getting funded.”
A new app that can reportedly cut household energy use by 10% is being rolled out to 200,000 Swedish homes.The Energy Tree app analyses data from the smart power grid to discover households’ energy trends and encourages users to consume less energy through personalised feedback and guidance.“The Energy Tree combines behavioural science and gamification with data analytics to engage and motivate households,” said a statement from the app developers Greenely.
The home energy management (HEM) market—made up of systems of smart, networked devices that can dynamically adjust energy use within a home—has been evolving dramatically. A number of analysts are now forecasting rapid growth over the next several years that could turn HEM into a multibillion-dollar industry by 2020. Although such growth may have huge implications for energy efficiency and demand response, the plethora of wireless communication standards (including Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Thread, and Bluetooth LE) and the seemingly innumerable HEM platforms available have presented a substantial barrier to overall HEM adoption to date by limiting interconnectivity between devices. However, three companies—Apple, Nest, and Icontrol—now seem poised to emerge from the melee of HEM vendors and service providers to help bring order to this fragmented and largely leaderless industry.
The largest smart grid project in the country is winding down, its participants just beginning to sift through five years of lessons learned, but one thing has become very clear: It’s all about the data.The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration kicked off in 2010 with an impressive array of stats: five states involved, 60,000 metered customers, 11 utilities and a $178 million budget. The plan called for a broad range of projects to be equally funded by participants and the U.S. Department of Energy, individually testing out ideas and concepts while working jointly to see if a regional smart grid could reduce energy use and improve reliability.
One of the primary benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is their ability to collect data that will ultimately help increase efficiency and mitigate problems before they occur.
Now, power companies have begun to take advantage of smart meters, in particular, in order to directly connect with their customers and find out information about their power use. From there, the power company can allocate energy efficiently through a connected smart grid and encourage customers to monitor and reduce their own usage.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has introduced a loaner program that enables customers to borrow in-home display devices from the utility at no cost. The goal is to improve consumers’ understanding of their home’s energy use and to identify high energy use appliances with near-real time information and estimated energy costs. Consumers can borrow the in-home displays for 30 days.
Caroline Winn, SDG&E’s vice president of customer services and chief customer privacy officer, explains, “The option for customers to borrow an in-home display at no cost is an important step for us to ensure we are making it easy for our customers to have access to innovative technology that will ultimately help them reduce their energy bills.
Energy is one of the more promising applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) data. By now, you’re no doubt familiar with how utilities have used sensors and smart grids to reduce overall energy costs. A recent Intelligent Utility article shows energy use is just a tactical starting point for how data from smart grids can be leveraged.
When it comes to their energy use, consumers aren’t all the same. The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) has released a report, Motivations and Emotions of Engaged Consumers, that identifies different types of consumers based on their level of interest in managing their energy use and other characteristics.
If you live in Philadelphia, you may have noticed a new device on your home called a “smart meter.” Unlike the old meters, they paint a more detailed picture of how and when we’re using energy.
Utilities are encouraging customers to use that information to make themselves smarter about their energy use. But do they make a difference?
There are lots of components to the Smart Grid, in which intelligent power technologies combine to provide electricity where we want it, but without the waste associated with the current utility system. But how do they fit together?
Making a more efficient grid that cuts overall energy use involves several things – and tech comes into it at all stages, from better managed batteries, through distributed generation, to smart composting schemes and sensor-based Internet of Things implementations which tune energy use to match the fluctuating power provided by the renewable sources.
The interesting thing is that all the different approaches can add up. Earlier this summer a “CleanTech Club” gathering in London heard how power generation can be distributed to where the power is used, how batteries can smooth the peaks of demand and supply, and how local composting could actually provide a third of the power we use in the home.