OwnerJuly 2015 to presentEl Cerrito

Finding best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow: energy efficiency, demand response,, solar, wind, electric vehicles, biofuels and smart grid. It’s all the innovations that make the energy we use more secure, clean, and affordable. The energy world's best hopes lie in what's happening in the digital realm, especially in data analytics.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Italy - 27 Million Smart Meters

Italy had smart grid before the name even existed and it works. The world's largest smart meter deployment was undertaken by Enel SpA, the dominant utility in Italy, to over 27 million customers.

1. Background
2. Acronyms/Definitions
3. Business Case
4. Benefits
5. Risks/Issues
6. Companies
7. Links

Echelon Smart Meter

  • The world's largest smart meter deployment was undertaken by Enel SpA, the dominant utility in Italy with over 27 million customers. Over a 5 year period beginning in 2000 and ending in 2005 Enel deployed smart meters to its entire customer base.
  • Italian electricity prices are more expensive than average European rates, partly because Italy produces 70% of its electricity from hydrocarbons, while in the rest of Europe the same percentage is produced from coal and nuclear fuel.
  • These meters have integrated bi-directional communications, advanced power measurement and management capabilities, an integrated, software-controllable disconnect switch, and an all solid-state design. They communicate over low voltage power line using standards-based power line technology from Echelon Corporation to Echelon data concentrators at which point they communicate via IP to Enel’s enterprise servers.
  • However, power line communications remains a relatively rare form of communications for smart meter deployments in North America, which have tended to rely on utility-owned wireless networks so far.

2. Acronyms/Definitions
  1. ADDRESS - Active Distribution network with full integration of Demand and distributed energy RESourceS - A large-scale Integrated Project co-founded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program, in the Energy area for the "Development of Interactive Distribution Energy Networks".
    • Its target is to enable the Active Demand in the context of the smart grids of the future, or in other words, the active participation of small and commercial consumers in power system markets and provision of services to the different power system participants.
    • The total budget is €16 million, with €9 million financing by the European Commission. The project started on June 1st 2008 and will last 4 years (2008 - 2012). It is carried out by a Consortium of 25 partners from 11 European countries, and is being coordinated by Enel Distribuzione.
  2. BPL – Broadband over Power Lines - Uses PLC by sending and receiving information bearing signals over power lines to provide access to the Internet.
  3. PLC - Power Line Communication (power line carrier) also known as Power line Digital Subscriber Line (PDSL)
  4. PLT - Power Line Telecom - A system for carrying data on a conductor also used for electric power transmission. (aka PLN – Power Line Networking)

Smart Meter

3. Business Case
  • Enel’s smart electricity meter that communicates through PLC to the nearest substation, next, centralized control rooms read the data through GSM cellular communications.
  • The system provides a wide range of features, including the ability to remotely turn power on or off to a customer, read usage information from a meter, detect a service outage, detect the unauthorized use of electricity, change the maximum amount of electricity that a customer can demand at any time; and remotely change the meters billing plan from credit to prepay as well as from flat-rate to multi-tariff.
  • Echelon's Networked Energy Services (NES) System delivers core services such as:
    • Automated meter reading
    • Outage detection
    • Theft and tampering detection
    • Very accurate data collection
    • High level of reliability
    • Extensibility from 10,000s to millions of customers

4. Benefits
  • Reduction of Electricity Theft - This is probably the biggest saving in Italy's case and was a problem that plagued that market. While some customers can indeed steal services by breaching the data channel, it is an additional barrier for criminals. Without some relatively sophisticated equipment, it is hard to hide where electricity theft is occuring. With 'dumb' meters, it is far easier to game them.
  • Cost Savings - Savings at the household level are not dramatic, but when multiplied by millions of customers, the investment has a reasonable pay-back. Enel’s smart grid system cuts power bills by about 1.5 Euros per customer per month, says Bob Dolin, CTO of Echelon, which put in the power-line networking equipment that underlies the system. That comes to 18 Euros a year per home.

    But since the utility has installed smart meters in 30 million homes since 2001, added all up that comes to approximately half a billion Euros a year. The utility raised €2.2 billion to install it, giving it a four-year payback.
  • Avoided High Voltage - The savings that come from smart grid technologies, however, aren't always easily predicted. In Italy the money in homes saved doesn't come through demand response programs. Instead, it comes because the utility can deliver electricity at lower voltages to homes because of the meters and because of phase balancing, a process that better matches the output from the utility with the usage patterns of homes.
  • Pre-Payment Option - The Italian project also deployed pre-paid power systems in some locations. It's like a Laundromat: you put money in, and power runs until the cash runs out. England had this after World War II.
  • Existing Infrastructure - The extensive powerline infrastructure already available appears to allow people in remote locations to access the Internet with relatively little equipment investment by the utility. Also, such ubiquitous availability would make it much easier for other electronics, such as televisions or sound systems, to hook up.
  • Signal Coverage - The primary advantage of power line arises from the fact that it has better signal coverage than wireless. Power line networking chips allow communication signals to travel on the same wires that go to the lights. As a result, rapid, finely tuned commands can be shuttled from a utility without worries that other radios or environmental disturbances will hamper.
  • Bulk Purchase SavingsAccording to IBM, the Enel initiative is the best example of the significant savings possible from the large-scale purchase and implementation of advanced meters. Our preliminary analysis indicates that purchases of fewer than 500,000 meters cost a premium of up to 80% over larger block purchases. So, for example, while a large utility ordering over 500,000 meters may pay $200 per meter, a smaller utility ordering fewer meters would pay $360 each for the same meter.

5. Risks/Issues
  • Low Bandwidth - ENEL was the first to use PLC on a mass scale and has the advantage of having evaluated the technology for quite a few years. However, this is narrowband PLC technology and bandwidth can only support simple meter reading functions.
  • Transformers Block BPL Signal - BPL has developed faster in Europe than in the United States due to a historical difference in power system design philosophies. Power distribution uses step-down transformers to reduce the voltage for use by customers. But BPL signals cannot readily pass through transformers, as their high inductance makes them act as low-pass filters, blocking high-frequency signals. So, repeaters must be attached to the transformers. In the U.S., it is common for a small transformer hung from a utility pole to service a single house or a small number of houses. In Europe, it is more common for a somewhat larger transformer to service 10 or 100 houses. For delivering power to customers, this difference in design makes little difference for power distribution. But for delivering BPL over the power grid in a typical U.S. city requires an order of magnitude more repeaters than in a comparable European city.
  • Lack of BPL Standards - Variations in the physical characteristics of the electricity network and the current lack of IEEE standards mean that provisioning of BPL is far from being a standard, repeatable process.
  • Signal Quality- Power lines are inherently a very noisy environment. Every time a device turns on or off, it introduces a pop or click into the line. Energy-saving devices often introduce noisy harmonics into the line. The system must be designed to deal with these natural signaling disruptions and work around them.
  • Radio Interference - Older versions of BPL interferes with ham radios and emergency equipment. In April 2008, in a lawsuit brought by the American Radio Relay League ham radio association, a federal court ruled that the FCC had to rewrite its BPL regulations to solve that problem. BPL companies solved that problem by "notching" the frequencies they used to avoid those that interfered with ham radio.

6. Companies
  • Enel –An Italian energy provider, the third-largest in Europe by market capitalization. Formerly a state-owned monopoly, it is now partially privatised with Italian government control: the largest shareholders are the Italian Ministry of Economy & Finance (21.4%) and the state-run bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (10.2%).
  • Echelon San Jose, CA -(Nasdaq: ELON) -Develops, markets, and sells a range of hardware and software products and services that enable original equipment manufacturers and systems integrators to design and implement open, interoperable, and distributed control networks in the building, industrial, transportation, utility/home, and other automation markets. In August Echelon signed a $15.8 million order with utility Duke Energy for smart meters and supporting services. But that initial order for about 120,000 smart meters could expand to $150 million.

7. Links

Monday, November 2, 2009

Energy Smart Miami

Miami will spend an estimated $578 million on an ambitious smart grid project to insert smart meters in pretty much every building and residence in the city.

1. Background
2. Program Components
3. Business Case
4. Benefits
5. Risks/Issues
6. Participating Companies
7. Links

  • Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, on October 27 President Barack Obama announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The end result will promote energy-saving choices for consumers, increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

    The $3.4 billion in grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion.

    FPL was awarded the maximum $200 million grant for Energy Smart Florida is a comprehensive project to advance implementation of the Smart Grid, including installing over 2.6 million smart meters, 9,000 intelligent distribution devices, 45 phasors, and advanced monitoring equipment in over 270 substations. By incorporating intelligence into the transmission, distribution and customer systems, the utility will be able to anticipate and respond to grid disturbances, empower customers through alternative rate programs, and enable the integration of renewable and on-site energy sources.
  • In April 2009, Miami-Dade County and Florida Power and Light announced that under the Energy Smart Miami plan, funded in part by federal stimulus dollars, the utility would install smart meters on one million homes and buildings in the county, essentially covering the entire city. Florida Power & Light, the electric company in the area, already has 100,000 in service in Broward County, north of Miami.
  • The project, which aims to land stimulus bill funding for as much as half the project, will create as many as 1,000 new jobs as it brings next-generation technology to homes and businesses. In addition to smart meters, the project aims to install solar power systems on several schools and universities, add 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles to the city's fleet, and bring a series of new technologies like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes.
  • Some of the money is for sensors on the high-voltage grid, and the distribution network, including transformers, power lines and switches, to give operators a clearer idea of the condition of the equipment, and earlier warning of problems that could lead to blackout.
  • Energy Smart Miami piggybacks on a series of already planned upgrades to the Miami area electric grid that has been in the works from FPL and California-based Silver Spring Networks. In the new project, GE will provide one million smart meters to the project, with the potential to upgrade to 4.5 million, enough to cover FPL's entire customer base in Miami-Dade. Silver Spring Networks will provide the technology to link those smart meters, and Cisco is spearheading the in-home smart devices and home dashboards in 1,000 residences.

From left, Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron,Cisco Systems Chairman & CEO John Chambers, FPL Group Chairman & CEO Lewis Hay III, GE Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Silver Spring Networks Chairman and CEO Scott Lang, each hold a Smart Meter during the announcement of the Energy Smart Miami initiative at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. on Monday, April 20, 2009

2. Program Components
  • Smart-Grid Automation and Communications – More like the Internet than an electric network, the new Smart Grid system will connect Smart Meters, high-efficiency transformers, digitized substations, power generation and other equipment through a centralized information and control system. This will continuously monitor status, identify and automatically fix or dispatch teams to outages and provide useful information to improve reliability, efficiency and productivity from power generation through consumption.
  • Smart Meters – Through the Energy Smart Miami initiative, Smart Meters will be installed in more than 1 million homes and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. Over the next five years, FPL intends to expand the project to a total of more than 4 million homes in Florida. The cost of expanding Smart Meters outside of Miami-Dade County represents a $500 million investment in addition to the $200 million proposed in support of Energy Smart Miami. Smart Meters serve as a key interface in a system that combines a number of elements – intelligent meters, a two-way communications network using open standards, and sophisticated operating systems and databases. As a result, customers will be able to go online and monitor how much energy they have used by the month, day or hour. With this information, FPL customers will have the ability to lower their electric bills by giving them substantially more information to make decisions about their electricity consumption. Ultimately, Smart Meters and the network that connects them will provide consumers with the ability to see and manage individual devices consuming electricity in their home such as air conditioning and appliances. Smart Meters will also provide FPL with information that will help it to operate more efficiently and enhance reliability.
  • Renewable Energy Integration – Several local universities and schools will receive solar power installations to help meet energy needs with renewable, non-polluting technologies. Battery installations will enable some solar locations to store power for use during times of peak demand.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – 300 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will be added to the FPL fleet serving Miami-Dade County. The PHEVs will be powered through approximately 50 new charging stations. Additional PHEVs will be rolled out in trials at Miami Dade College, Florida International University, the University of Miami and the City of Miami.
  • Consumer Technology Trials – Using the capabilities of installed Smart Meters, the initiative will conduct studies of additional consumer communications and empowerment systems to determine which delivers the greatest energy savings and consumer satisfaction. The initial trials in approximately 1,000 households in Miami-Dade will test several different systems, including:
    • Real-Time Displays - In-home energy displays or “eco-panels” to help manage electrical loads and lower power use during peak periods
    • Smart Appliances that can communicate with Smart Meters to reschedule high-energy functions or switch to a lower-consumption mode during peak demand periods
    • PCT’s - Programmable and smart-meter-controllable thermostats
    • Demand Response Software that will manage consumer appliances, lighting and other devices using Smart Meters.
3. Business Case
  • The backbone of Energy Smart Miami will be the deployment of more than 1 million advanced wireless “Smart Meters” to every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. These meters will give Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers more information and control over their electricity usage while also providing FPL with information that will enhance system efficiency and reliability. Implementation of the Smart Meters will be based on open network architecture, allowing other providers to develop and deploy new applications that could, for example, help consumers better manage the electricity usage of their air conditioning and appliances.
  • Miami planned a five-year program of installing the meters, but will do it in two years if it can get the funds from the stimulus package, officials said. The partners comprising Energy Smart Miami’s expert implementation team have worked together extensively to ensure that the initiative meets President Obama’s criteria as a “shovel-ready” project to qualify for matching funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the federal stimulus package. Contingent on receiving this federal support, Energy Smart Miami could begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2011. The stimulus package specifically reserves federal matching grants for advanced electrical infrastructure and related initiatives targeting energy efficiency, energy reliability and renewable energy. Later, FPL will spend $500 million more to bring smart meters to the rest of its four million plus customer base.
  • Like a lot of smart grid projects, Energy Smart Miami won't jump to energy management nirvana in one step. Most of the first smart meter deployments will be relatively simple. Only 1,000 of the homes, for instance, will be outfitted with in-home displays and smart appliances that will let consumers see their power consumption in real time and program appliances so they can cut costs during peak times. FPL also will add 300 plug-in hybrids to its Miami-Dade fleet and install 50 charging stations.

4. Benefits
  • Energy Smart Miami would help Miami-Dade County consumers save money by giving them more choices over how they consume and conserve electrical power. It would also generate near-term demand for “green collar jobs” to support its implementation, while further solidifying Miami’s national leadership in championing the responsible environmental practices needed to address the longer-term challenge of addressing climate change, which poses a significant threat to Florida and its coastal regions.
  • Green Jobs - Energy Smart Miami is estimated to generate demand for 800 to 1,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly involved in the deployment, during the two-year implementation period.

5. Risks/Issues
  • Dynamic Pricing (See my Blog Article) - One function for the meter would be telling the customer, hour by hour, what the price of electricity is, thus giving the homeowner or business owner the ability to limit use during peak periods, when power is more pricey. That, of course, requires pricing power by the hour. FP&L has a tariff on file now that allows this, but according to Lewis Hay III, the chief executive of FP&L’s parent company, the FPL Group, the utility has never had the technology to use it, and will probably have to develop some new rate structure for that purpose, Mr. Hay said.
  • Interoperability – (See my blog article Standards for Standards) - John T. Chambers, the chairman and chief executive of Cisco Systems, said that while manufacturers had tried before to install “smart” appliances and other equipment that could be digitally controlled, it was not practical until the Internet was more fully developed. “God could not make this work over 350 different protocols,” Mr. Chambers said. Now, he said, technology would allow a standard communications protocol so that the grid and appliances could talk to each other.

6. Participating Companies
  1. City of Miami
  2. Florida Power & Light Juno Beach, FL (NYSE – FPL) - A subsidiary of FPL Group and the nation’s No. 1 utility in energy efficiency programs, is leading the strategy and deployment of Smart Grid technologies for the project. Florida Power & Light provides electricity to 4.5 million customer accounts in the state of Florida, including more than 1 million in Miami-Dade County
  3. General Electric Fairfield, CT (NYSE - GE)-A world leader in power generation, distribution, and management technology, will supply key components of the project, which include Smart Meters and may extend to advanced applications and smarter control systems. General Electric has global operations in five segments: Energy Infrastructure, Technology Infrastructure, NBC Universal, Capital Finance, and the Consumer & Industrial divisions.
    • In the Smart Grid space, GE still lags IBM and others as a thought leader. Despite its broad product line and its technical excellence, it has largely been seen as a Smart Grid laggard, a perception it is now laboring mightily to change. GE has formed a Smart Grid group to pull together many different products under a common theme
    • Selected by U.S. DOE to be one of 46 multi-million-dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). Focus for GE’s EFRC— advanced energy storage technologies and zero carbon emissions solutions for transportation and stationary power applications. GE Global Research was the only corporate research laboratory chosen to lead an EFRC - May 2009
    • Smart Grid efforts have been rationalized around five “pillars:”
      • Transmission Optimization
      • Distribution Optimization
      • Demand Optimization
      • Asset Optimization
      • Design & Workforce Productivity
  4. Cisco Systems - San Jose, CA (NASDAQ: CSCO) - The worldwide leader in networking technologies will help design and implement a secure and intelligent communications platform within the county’s transmission and distribution grid and provide customers with home energy management information and controls. CISCO formally entered energy management in January when it unfurled its EnergyWise software for controlling power consumption.
  5. Silver Spring Network –Redwood City, CA - A leading provider of networking solutions for the electric grid, will provide field proven, open standards-based, secure wireless network communications. Scott Lang, the chairman and chief executive of Silver Spring Networks, which makes some of the electronics in the meters, said that they cost between $125 to $145, or about $100 more than a typical mechanical meter. The electronic ones will last 20 years, he said, because their software can be updated by remote control

7. Links