Smart Cities Archives | Smart Energy International News & insights for smart metering, smart energy & grid professionals in the electricity, water & gas industries. Mon, 19 Jun 2023 11:15:55 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 Smart Cities Archives | Smart Energy International 32 32 Gaps in EV codes tied to cybersecurity and grid interface issues Mon, 19 Jun 2023 11:15:53 +0000 The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published a Roadmap of Standards and Codes for Electric Vehicles at Scale, developed by the Institute’s Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP). 

The roadmap’s primary focus is on light-duty, on-road plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) that are recharged via a connection to the electrical grid, as well as the supporting charging infrastructure needed to power them. 

Medium- and heavy-duty EVs are also covered, as is wireless charging. 

A total of 37 standardization gaps were identified with corresponding recommendations across the topical areas of vehicle systems, charging infrastructure, grid integration and cybersecurity. ANSI said it hoped that the roadmap would see broad adoption by the user community and facilitate a “more coherent and coordinated approach” to the future development of standards for EVs.

Have you read:
Does V2G pose a cyber threat to the grid?
India to get its first V2G system

The grid-related gaps that were identified included:

  • Megawatt charging systems 
  • Static wireless charging
  • Communication of standardized EV sub-metering data
  • Standardization of EV sub-meters
  • Comprehensive review of cybersecurity codes and standards for applicability to the EV charging ecosystem
  • The lack of an end-to-end secure trust chain and encryption system for the EV charging ecosystem
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy
  • Cybersecure firmware updates
  • Cable management
  • Fire protection in relation to EV parking/charging in/near older buildings        
  • Fault current signatures for AC and DC architectures under islanding conditions
  • “Ride through” requirements for EVSE under grid service conditions
  • DC-as-a-Service (DCaaS)
  • Dynamic wireless charging and power export
  • Communications in support of wireless power transfer

The panel does not develop standards but serves as a forum for facilitating coordination among entities that do develop standards.

Of the 37 gaps, 14 gaps/recommendations were identified as high priority, 20 as medium priority, and three as low priority. In 23 cases, additional pre-standardization research and development (R&D) was said to needed. The roadmap also provides timeframes for when standards work should occur, and identifies organisations that may be able to develop the standards or perform the R&D. 

The target audience for the roadmap includes vehicle manufacturers; entities that will be installing and operating charging infrastructure; standards development organisations; US federal, state, and municipal government agencies; electric utilities; and others.

Originally published on Power-Grid International.

NYC faces a looming reliability risk, grid operator warns Tue, 13 Jun 2023 09:12:23 +0000 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Peaker Rule” has led to fossil fueled generation deactivating faster than new clean energy resources can connect to the grid, putting reliability margins at risk, especially in New York City. 

As of May, the so-called Peaker Rule has led to the closure of 950MW of generation in environmental justice areas. Additional closures are expected by 2025. The closures could narrow reliability margins in the nation’s largest city to as little as 50MW. Reliability risks likely would increase during period of prolonged heat waves.

Plus, any delay beyond 2026 to completion of the 1,250MW Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line, which would bring hydropower from Quebec to New York City, could further impact reliability margins.

And, the combination of natural gas shortages and extreme winter weather could trigger reliability concerns starting as early as 2028 and extending for years to come. By the 2031-2032 timeframe, New York City’s reliability margins could be stuck around 100MW.

Those are key finding from the New York Independent System Operator’s (NYISO’s) annual grid and markets report.

Have you read:
National Grid USA to demonstrate UK flexibility marketplace in New York
Landis+Gyr’s Revelo smart meter gets New York’s green light

“New York’s public policies are increasingly prioritising clean energy production and a rapid transition away from fossil fuels,” said Rich Dewey, president and CEO of the grid operator in an introduction to the report. He said “it is imperative that during this time of rapid change we maintain adequate supply necessary to meet a growing demand for electricity.”

The report said demand growth due to electrification along with the retirement of fossil fuel-based peaker plants is leading to declining reliability margins statewide, but “most acutely” in New York City. To maintain reliability, NYISO said it will likely need to designate peaker plants to remain in service beyond 2025.

The report said that by 2040, in order to achieve the mandates of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), new emission-free generating technologies with the necessary reliability service attributes will be needed to replace the “flexible, dispatchable capabilities” of fossil fuel generation, and sustain production for extended periods of time. The CLCPA covers around 3,300MW of fossil fuel generating capacity, mostly in downstate New York.

New York City as seen from satellite.

But emission-free technologies, either individually or in aggregate, are not yet available on a commercial scale to replace all that capacity, the report said. 

The NYISO report said that in response to the CLCPA and other public policies, the number of transmission and supplier projects seeking to interconnect to the grid in New York has more than quadrupled since 2019. It also said that several transmission projects are under construction and expected to be in operation by 2026.

It called these projects “essential” to achieving the state’s climate and energy goals and expanding the delivery of clean energy to consumers. However, additional transmission investments will be necessary to efficiently integrate offshore wind resources and address transmission constraints throughout the state that otherwise limit the ability to deliver renewable energy to consumers. 

It noted that NERC’s 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment identifies reduced supply reserve margins in regions neighboring the NYISO in its risk analysis. NYSO said these reduced margins potentially limit the ability to import electricity from neighboring regions, putting greater importance on available supply and transmission within New York.

The report emphasized the importance of the Champlain Hudson Power Express project, which would rely on Canadian-produced hydropower to be available for export to load centers in and around New York City.

But the Associated Press reported that with demand for green energy growing north of the border, too, there are new concerns that Canada’s hydro supply isn’t as bottomless as it once seemed.

It said a study published in May by the Montreal Economic Institute predicted that Quebec, now home to one of the world’s largest hydroelectric systems, will over the next decade fall short of the generating capacity needed to meet increasing demand for power in the province.

Originally published on Power-Grid International.

Hitachi Energy to power NEOM with 9GW transmission capacity Tue, 30 May 2023 14:11:56 +0000 Tech major Hitachi Energy has signed agreements to supply three HVDC transmission systems to end customer ENOWA, the utility company for NEOM in Northwest Saudi Arabia.

The three High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) links from Hitachi Energy will provide the new Saudi smart city NEOM, with a total power capacity of up to 9GW.

9GW in HVDC for the smart Saudi city

“We are delighted to strengthen our collaboration with ENOWA and Saudi Electricity Company in order to power one of the most visionary development projects of all time,” said Niklas Persson, managing director of Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business.

“As the world progresses towards a more sustainable future, our expertise and HVDC technologies are true enablers of the electrification of the global energy system and the transition to renewables.”

The agreement was announced today and signed under the supervision and management of the country’s ministry of energy with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and ENOWA. Image courtesy Hitachi Energy.

The agreements include the order of one of the world’s first 3GW, 525kV HVDC Light transmission system, which will connect Oxagon, NEOM’s regional development, with the larger Yanbu area more than 650km away in Western Saudi Arabia.

Oxagon. Image courtesy Hitachi Energy.

Hitachi Energy’s scope of supply includes design, engineering, procurement of HVDC technology and commissioning of the HVDC Light converter stations.

Saudi Services for Electro Mechanical Work (SSEM), a Saudi EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) specialised in power, water and industrial projects, will design and supply the Alternating Current (AC) equipment and perform construction and installation.

The converter stations convert the power from AC to DC, then back to AC for integration into the receiving grid.

Have you read:
NEOM launches utility infrastructure development subsidiary
Hitachi Energy to upgrade Gulf States interconnector converter

The converters will be sourced by and supplied to SEC, who were contracted in 2022 by ENOWA to act as their EPCM to build this first HVDC system for NEOM.

Further to this, Hitachi Energy and ENOWA have signed an early works and capacity reservation agreement for two additional HVDC projects, each rated up to 3GW, aiming to develop a new scalable and modular regional network design.

The cooperation will also explore opportunities to develop local competencies in the Kingdom, including ways to sustainably assemble the necessary HVDC Light components locally.

“By securing the first capacities for such an important part of our future grid in only one year since the decision to use this technology, we show ENOWA’s commitment to supporting Saudi Vision 2030 in collaboration with Saudi Electricity Company and Hitachi Energy,” said Thorsten Schwarz, Executive Director of Grid Technology & Projects, Energy of ENOWA. 

Smart city NEOM aims to be powered by 100% clean energy through renewable solar, wind and green hydrogen-based energy. The region is designed to be a blueprint for sustainable urban living with minimal impact on the environment and enhanced liveability.

Endesa advances Barcelona grid digitalisation Tue, 16 May 2023 05:45:00 +0000 Spanish DSO Endesa is upping investment in the ongoing upgrading and digitalisation of Barcelona’s electricity infrastructure in order to transform it into the ‘digital city of the future’.

The City Plan, which has been developed with the Barcelona City Council, is focussed on the continued development and improvement of the low, medium and high voltage electricity grids, as well as ensuring quality of supply with the ongoing deployment of maintenance plans across the city’s ten districts.

These include the renovation and automation of the grid, digitalisation to enable the integration and management of distributed energy resources such as self-consumption and electric vehicles and grid strengthening to support wider electrification and the reduction of carbon emissions towards the European Union and City Council’s net zero goal.

With the need to be able to manage new energy uses such as distributed generation, self-consumption and electric mobility, a commitment to the development of smart grids is one of the company’s priorities.

Have you read?
Barcelona: Endesa preps port voltage for 2024 America’s Cup
Spain’s Transmission Grid Planning to fast track renewable integration

There are several main lines of action for the City Plan.

Regarding the development of the grids, the most notable actions in the pipeline include the renovation of part of the underground HV wiring, the renovation and expansion of 610 transformer centres in the MV grid with the installation of cabins to increase safety and remote control and 10km of new MV lines.

At the same time, the remote control of 321 transformer centres is planned. By the end of 2023, 74% of transformer centres are due to fitted with sensors to improve the availability and management of data on the grid and increase the efficiency of these infrastructures.

As part of the automation of the MV grid new remote control systems are planned, which should enable quicker location of faults and the ability to manage the network without the need to send out personnel to the location. By the end of 2023, 40% of the installations are expected to be automated.

The implementation of a Location of Breakdowns and Restoration of Supply (LARS) system is considered an essential feature of this digitalisation process for the more rapid and accurate determination of line incidents and the reaction to them. Work is currently under way on integrating historical data, maps of street works and weather forecasts amongst other aspects.

The future plans for the digitalisation and smartening of the LV grid are being developed in the Altamira project, which is piloting technologies in Catalonia and will be extended to Barcelona. The project aims to generate information across the LV grid such as power, voltage, possible energy losses and loads that may be affecting the line as well as fraud.

Another innovation underway is the creation of a network digital twin for modelling, preventive maintenance and interaction with field operators.

Finally, maintenance is ongoing, with a predictive, preventive, corrective plan for the sub-stations and distribution centres that supply the city of Barcelona, its high, medium and low voltage lines and their respective transformer centres.

In the current year, Endesa expects to invest €46 million ($50 million) in Barcelona’s grid digitalisation.

Smart City tech market could grow to $300bn in ten years, report says Thu, 27 Apr 2023 09:03:00 +0000 Driven by the intersection of social, environmental and economic urban challenges coupled with the impact of transformative technologies, the market for smart city tech is expected to grow at a 10% compound annual growth rate for the next decade, according to global market research firm Guidehouse Insights.

The new report, Smart Cities, says that the next decade is likely to be one of dramatic change for many cities around the world. Trends that have been drivers for smart city programs have been accelerated by a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing impact of climate change, and the rapid digitalisation of many services.

Accordingly, Guidehouse says the global smart city technology market will grow from approximately $121.1 billion in annual revenue in 2023 to $301.2 billion by 2032 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7%. The report focuses on five key industries: energy, water, mobility, buildings and government.

Cities are showing a strong commitment to infrastructure investment, digital technologies and increased sustainability, often supported by central government funding.

Have you read:
Smart city modelling partnership to explore system planning platforms
German municipalities greenlight remote meter reading in smart city lab

Take Cary, North Carolina, for example. The city, with a population of 176,000, has been exploring and implementing smart city solutions since 2016. Cary has implemented an intelligent transportation system to give commuters a safer and more efficient drive; pedestrian and bicycle counters to help staff plan bike path expansions; and a building automation system that helps the town manage its energy use, to name just a few.

Guidehouse says that innovations in IoT and other forms of connectivity will boost future investments across the smart city market and are likely to accelerate the digitalisation of many city services.

New business models and finance programs are also expected to help accelerate investment. Additionally, new partnerships are being established across the public, technology, and finance sectors to support smart city investments and overcome the funding gap that has long been a significant drag on the market, according to the report.

“These global challenges are amplifying long-standing local issues around the quality of public services, environmental standards, and social inequalities,” says Eric Woods, research director with Guidehouse Insights. “At the same time technology is transforming how cities work and how they are experienced.”

Originally published on Power-Grid International.

DEWA inaugurates cyber security innovation lab as smart tech proliferates Mon, 13 Mar 2023 11:46:25 +0000 DEWA has inaugurated its Cyber Security Innovation Lab, the Waee Cybersecurity Centre and Identity Intelligence Centre, to build cyber resilience in an increasingly digital energy transition.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in collaboration with Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions LLC), a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA, announced the inauguration yesterday.

As part of the utilities’ efforts to build a safe, solid and reliable digital environment, the lab aims to enhance integrated protection for stakeholders against cybersecurity risks and ensure secure access to DEWA’s cyberspace.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, highlighted that this step comes in line with the organisation’s efforts to prepare for the challenges that smart technology brings.

The Cybersecurity Innovation Lab was designed to enable and streamline DEWA’s digital transformation through research, exploration, innovation, design and testing of cybersecurity controls and deployment in its environment.

Have you read:
This US research project will reinforce substation cyber resilience
Six uncomfortable truths about Europe’s energy transition

The lab aims to save time and cost and increase DEWA’s return on investment in information and cybersecurity.

The Waee Cybersecurity Centre provides a virtual environment to run technical training and exercises with scenarios and tools to simulate cybersecurity attacks and defence mechanisms.

Al Tayer stated how the lab has been inaugurated “to keep pace with the latest technologies for protecting smart networks and smart city infrastructure… DEWA strives to manage potential risks that threaten information security by following an effective corporate policy for information security.

The lab is the latest in utility’s approach to cybersecurity for its digital functions, which is based on four pillars, according to Marwan Bin Haidar, executive vice president of innovation and the future at DEWA. “Digital DEWA is based on four pillars: Launching advanced solar power technologies; deploying a renewable energy grid with innovative energy storage technologies; expanding integrated AI solutions; and providing digital services that serve smart, sustainable cities while ensuring their security and continuity in the cyber digital space.

Synthetic data – incorporating the human element in energy planning Thu, 02 Mar 2023 06:38:22 +0000 Synthetic data generated from real data is opening the way for new insights on energy sector initiatives and their impact on consumers.

“There’s lots of fantastic datasets that exist in siloes that we can pull together, but when the data we needed to paint a holistic picture wasn’t accessible or didn’t exist, we started synthesising it using the power of AI,” says Myrna Bittner, CEO and co-founder of Canadian analytics company Runwithit (RWI) Synthetics.

“And as this was one of the biggest barriers that our customers were facing, we took it as a challenge and an opportunity to really evolve the generation of synthetic data.”

In essence, synthetic data is derived from multiple datasets, which are expanded using AI to fill gaps where data may be missing or not capturable, for example due to privacy concerns. The synthetic dataset can then be used to play forward ‘what if’ scenarios to provide insights and aid planning.

More on data
What energy data is of most interest and why?

In particular, it is very much focused on consumer-related data, which is often difficult to access due to privacy concerns, and difficult to interpret due to variations and unpredictability in behaviours.

However, it is critical as human activity is also one of the most important factors when considering technology deployments or other future scenarios.

As an example, Bittner cites a project focussed on e-mobility and the potential for autonomous shuttles in Kuala Lumpur with the Toyota Mobility Foundation and the local government, in which it was necessary to synthesise the city’s population and the people’s daily travel patterns and choices at a hyper-localised level.

That required the input of local survey and census data as well as other local research study data.

“But we had to go beyond that to other markets where there have been some pilots, even covering issues such as how people’s risk preferences and tolerances changed with the level of attendance in the shuttle, and we could put that in the model,” says Bittner.

Interestingly in that Kuala Lumpur model, she says the finding was that the ageing demographic who were expected to use shared autonomous shuttles weren’t, and those who were currently using micro-mobility switched to the shuttles, with surveying of the synthetic population highlighting reasons including convenience and productivity.

“These are ultimately ‘what if’ scenarios that no one has answers to, but presenting them gets people around the table and they can say if it would be an accurate finding. We can then add new contexts or systems or infrastructures – it’s a process.”

Going behind the meter

Although RWI Synthetics was established as far back as 2014 – and the development of its platform started several years earlier – the company’s entry into the energy sector is more recent, with projects with Itron and EPRI starting in 2019.

For the company it was arguably very apposite, with government-imposed Covid restrictions changing human behaviours; and consequently the load curves of utilities.

More about data
Why a proactive data strategy is the key to grid resilience

“Many [utilities] lost their ability to forecast and that was the step for us for how to enable them to see what’s going on behind the meter,” she says.

“We didn’t have the time to go through the regulatory process to share metering data but we needed to know what’s coming next and that led to questions such as: Can we synthesise individual energy behaviours? Can we amalgamate that to generate load curves? Are those load curves accurate enough to be utilised in the utility industry? And can we look at things like the experiences of consumers when the lights go out?”

Bittner says it was such questions that demonstrated the potential for the use of synthetic populations in the energy sector, not only to inform behind the meter but also to investigate potential behavioural changes, such as are demanded for the more efficient use of energy and responses to new technologies such as electric vehicles and charging management.

Smart energy and smart cities

The project with Itron was focused on developing a demonstration for its clients of a city fitted with the company’s IoT devices and controls, including smart meters and smart streetlighting and features such as high-flow gas shut-offs.

As part of that project, Bittner mentions the creation of a ‘synthetic Silicon Valley’ to investigate the outcome of an earthquake and how the devices and controls would impact the time to return to normal and for example how the communication streams could be used for emergency response actions.

In addition to geospatial and other datasets on the devices, inputs included people’s reactions and responses during earthquakes, drawing on research from countries such as China, Japan, and New Zealand.

The project with EPRI through its Incubatenergy Labs programme was focussed on providing insights on resilience in the light of Covid and other potential disasters in Arizona utility Salt River Project’s service area.

Subsequently, it has evolved and in the current phase involves the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Nashville Electric Service and the City of Nashville, with the development of a ‘synthetic Nashville’ to investigate cold waves and how to build resilience into communities and their energy systems.

“One of the most insightful things we have been asked to look into is disadvantaged populations and the opportunities for distributed energy resources and community resilience hubs,” Bittner says.

She explains that the model (and the findings, of which more information will be made available later in the year) is based on three distinct but interconnected levels – the people in the relevant areas, the resources available at the community level, and the utility processes.

“We have created a massive amount of data about the population and we started with understandings on energy equity and distinctions in the population. Where we are ending up is with insights that cross the boundaries between TVA, Nashville Electric Service and the City, which should be unifying in terms of the approach that is being taken and the impact of the investments that can be made.”

Looking ahead

Bittner says that one of the near-term actions that RWI Synthetics is pursuing is making its technology platform more accessible and open and the insights more shareable and she promises that some partnerships are in prospect.

“We’ve been finding that at this time of accelerated change, it is very helpful to be inclusive of the diversity of perspectives in the scenarios and to be able to reconfigure them if people have different opinions or want to compare one technology decision with another and their social impacts,” she says.

“More and more it’s about looking forward to the next 20 or 25 years. To be able to see the impact new technologies such as energy technologies can make over that time can be very compelling.”

German municipalities greenlight remote meter reading in smart city lab Wed, 01 Mar 2023 11:30:22 +0000 After two years of testing across five German municipalities, a region-wide smart city laboratory has greenlit smart city technologies, among others remote reading of heat and water meters, demonstrating their value-add for utilities and consumers alike.

German municipalities Breisach am Rhein, Freiburg Gundelfingen, Kirchzarten and Lahr took part in the Smart Region Südbaden smart city laboratory for two years to tackle key questions related to the deployment of smart city technologies, including remote reading of water and heat meters.

Under the leadership of municipal energy and water group Thüga and energy supplier badenovaNETZE, testing revolved around four key questions:

  1. How can innovative smart city applications be technically implemented?
  2. How profitable are these applications?
  3. How do citizens benefit?
  4. When it comes to remote meter reading and flood monitoring, among others, how sustainable are these solutions?

Have you read:
Yorkshire Water targets smart water metering for new housing
Three Finnish DSOs secure 300k smart meters and metering SaaS

Green light for smart city technologies

According to Thüga, remote reading of water and heat meters through IoT sensors was found to offer a high economic value for energy suppliers. Remote reading reduced personnel visits, which saves on costs and enables optimised production processes, for example by lowering the flow temperature or reducing peak loads.

Customers benefit from convenient reading without an appointment and low susceptibility to errors. Short-cycle data transmission means that water networks can be better monitored and leaks can be detected quickly.

“After a two-year test phase in the real laboratory, we were able to develop a marketable and economically interesting service model. We are now offering the municipalities in our region the remote reading of water and heat meters in our portfolio – and are registering great interest,” said Robin Grey, managing director of badenovaNETZE.

“In the living laboratories, together with partner companies, we have developed offers that energy suppliers can use to support their municipalities in the digitisation process. Partners from the Thüga Group can access all findings and use them for their own purposes,” added Dr. Matthias Cord, deputy chairman of the board of Thüga Aktiengesellschaft.

Also of interest:
Energy Transitions Podcast: Optimising smart meter installations and project execution
Unlocking smart meter data for research

Automated water measurement

IoT sensors in connection with LoRaWAN technology also proved themselves for monitoring levels of groundwater, flowing water and rainwater retention basins.

In the municipality of Kirchzarten, the building yard and the voluntary fire brigade checked the water levels after rainfall. Digital level measuring systems now transmit these values ​​automatically and regularly to a receiver.

Kirchzarten’s Mayor Andreas Hall explained: “Especially when water levels change quickly, digital measurement is of great benefit. The relevant departments can be informed at an early stage via the integrated alarm function”.

Municipalities can thus react more quickly and are ultimately more resilient to the consequences of climate change with more frequent and more severe floods.

The Smart Region Südbaden laboratory in Germany was created through the Thüga innovation platform with the aim of testing smart city applications at different locations and conditions in practice for 18 months from spring 2020.

They are part of the overarching project Climate Active Community, under which Thüga bundles decarbonisation of the municipal utility’s electricity and heat, as well as to related business areas such as e-mobility and climate change resilience.

Huawei, unleashing intelligent solutions to drive digital transformation for the electric power industry Thu, 23 Feb 2023 07:24:23 +0000 In an exclusive interview with Smart Energy International, Anthony Hu President of Strategy & Marketing, Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit at Huawei Enterprise Business Group, explains what the business unit is doing to accelerate the digital transformation. With advanced, intelligent solutions, coupled with strong partnerships – local and global – Huawei will play an active role in sector transformation and growth, to pave a digital road for global energy transition and carbon neutrality goals.

It has been almost a year since Huawei Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit was established in March 2022. Please share what the business unit has achieved thus far.

Huawei officially set up the Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit on March 30, 2022. The concept stems from Google’s organisational form, a group of PhDs, scientists, engineers, and marketing experts.

The establishment of the Business Unit has enabled Huawei to shorten processes and integrate resources successfully. Vertically, the R&D team can better understand customer requirements and continuously improve technologies. Horizontally, Huawei’s ecosystem partners can work together to deliver customised, scenario-based solutions for customers.

We have summarised the global development trends as T3 transformation framework and have been working around the strategic model of this framework:

T3 transformation framework. Credit: Huawei
Image credit: Huawei

Energy transition

The new power system is faced with five challenges, namely:

  • the green energy structure
  • flexible power grid regulation
  • interactive power consumption mode
  • energy-storage collaborative interaction with extensive distribution on the power generation-grid-load sides, and
  • complex electricity-carbon trading system

Therefore, the Digitalisation Business Unit launched the intelligent power plant solution on the source side. On the network side, we developed a range of solutions focused on intelligent transmission line inspection, intelligent substations, digital converter stations, power distribution IoT, and power distribution communication networks. On the load side, we have a zero-carbon campus and integrated energy solutions.

Currently, the Business Unit is focused on the future development of the power industry and fully leveraging Huawei’s advantages in platforms, technologies, and products to build end-to-end solution capabilities to help power customers go digital.

Digital transformation

Our goal is to gradually digitalise business scenarios through the Spark Architecture, top-level design, methodology construction of good business models, and business scenario breakthroughs.

Huawei’s power communication network builds a solid communication base for the new power system of the China Southern Power Grid.

Regarding power transmission and transformation, Huawei’s transmission line inspection solution helps achieve video inspection in remote, unpopulated areas of Deqing in Yunnan Province.

Using Huawei’s digital converter station solution, State Grid can continuously improve the operation efficiency of its UHV converter stations in Shaoxing and Yinan, laying a solid foundation for a prosperous service application ecosystem.

The State Grid Shaanxi and Huawei jointly launched a software cloud orchestration innovation pilot project, achieving service display and provisioning on the equipment diagram and streamlining the ‘last mile’ of power supply services.

In addition, Huawei cooperated with partners to develop an intelligent inspection solution for substations, which has been successfully applied in Saudi Arabia.

In the service field, Huawei continuously cooperated with Indonesian power companies in power bandwidth operations, exploring new models of power asset monetisation.

Huawei’s intelligent net-zero carbon campus solution won the Champion Prize at the WSIS, World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2022.

Zero-carbon transformation

Through digital transformation, we will empower the upgrade of the power industry and finally realise the vision of green and zero-carbon development. Huawei strives to work with partners – In China and globally – to create new value together.

Zero-carbon Intelligent Campus. Credit: Huawei
Image credit: Huawei

As you mentioned the intelligent net-zero carbon campus solution and the WSIS Prize. Can you introduce the solution and highlight some of the features of its project?

Huawei’s intelligent net-zero carbon campus solution, which is based on Spark Architecture, won the Champion prize at WSIS on June 2022.

Based on this solution, the Yancheng Low-Carbon and Smart-Energy Innovation Park ranked as one of the top 10 global projects of the 2022 Paulson Prize for Sustainability on December 2022.

The project was jointly delivered by State Grid Yancheng, the Jiangsu Power Design Institute of China Energy Engineering Corporation, and Huawei’s Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit.

WSIS Prize 2022 Champion. Credit: Huawei
Image credit: Huawei
Paulson Prize. Credit: Huawei
Image credit: Huawei

By focusing on the three scenarios of smart energy management, carbon management, and campus management, the project integrates digital technologies and energy technologies and implements 100% of smart terminals in the innovation park, increasing clean energy supply to 85%, and reducing carbon emissions in the inner campus by more than 40%. The project is a showcase of an intelligent and low-carbon campus that contributes to a green, low-carbon, safe, and efficient modern energy system, which is a future solution for our clients globally.

Read more: T3 Transformation: A New Chapter for Net-zero Carbon Intelligent Campus

What are the capabilities of the business unit and what will be the core focuses in the new year?

In 2023, we are focusing our strategy on providing the electric power industry with greater value together with our global partners; helping customers achieve safety, reliability, efficiency, and low carbon. By building a partner ecosystem outside of China, we will work together to create new value for the power industry.

Based on the Spark Architecture, we will deeply integrate digital technologies with electric power technologies. Firstly, the power communication network and power ransomware protection solution help ensure the security and reliability of power production and operations for our clients.

Secondly, there is an increased need for more efficient remote inspection technologies, specifically in substations and along transmission lines. Huawei is developing and providing low-cost solutions to connect cameras and AI technologies with our fiber network, which is a solution to regions such as Saudi Arabia where there are fewer people on site.  

Spark Architecture. Credit: Huawei
Image Credit: Huawei

Huawei’s intelligent net-zero campus solution and integrated energy service solution help customers achieve green and low-carbon development, which we are already seeing through our partnership with the State Grid of China.

Through building an ecosystem around the world, we will strengthen cooperation with local and Chinese partners in joint innovation and project expansion.  For example, Huawei and Precise System and Project Co., Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on deepening their strategic cooperation.

In the context of Europe’s 2030 GHG reduction goals, and 2050 net zero target – what is Huawei’s role when it comes to innovation with green and sustainable solutions?

Huawei has always been driven by digitalisation and low carbonisation. Based on the T3 transformation model, Huawei coordinates power customers and global partners to promote the low-carbon, green and sustainable development of the whole society.

In Europe, we follow the EU’s green and digital transformation strategy. Based on the comprehensive development framework of the Green Deal, we carry out in-depth cooperation with the energy and telecom industries in Europe.

In terms of green and sustainable development, Huawei will cooperate with European customers in intelligent inspection, charging pile networks, and green data centers to help them achieve low-carbon and green development goals.

Huawei proactively participates in industry conferences, such as the CIGRE Conference in Paris and the Greece Power Summit. Together, we explore the future development trends of the industry and pursue common goals, contributing to green and low-carbon development.

Huawei’s Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit will attend the Mobile World Congress (MWC). What are some of the highlights that will be showcased at the show?

At this year’s MWC, we will introduce the Business Unit’s latest strategic plan, capability map, partner strategy for international markets, and showcase four (4) new solutions.

In addition to the exhibition booth, we will set up a joint showcase and workshop with our clients and global partners to explain several scenarios to the electric power industries. Several senior executives of our power customers will showcase their global practices.

Watch the full video interview with Anthony Hu, and Jonathan Spencer Jones, Specialist writer at Smart Energy International, below.

To learn more about Huawei Electric Power visit –

Survey: US utilities call for government funding and new pilot projects Wed, 22 Feb 2023 12:08:00 +0000 Senior professionals at utility companies are calling for more government funding and pilot projects to help drive smart utility development, according to a survey of 250 US utility companies, combined with interviews at DISTRIBUTECH 2023 earlier this month.

Commissioned by Wi-SUN Alliance, a global association of industry leading companies driving the adoption of interoperable wireless solutions for use in smart utilities and smart cities, the survey was designed to test the ‘pulse’ of the utility market at a time when it is undergoing huge transformation and facing a number of major challenges.

While government funding/legislation is seen as ‘very important’ for 70% of respondents, the need for more pilot projects and implementations (75%), and greater co-operation between public and private sectors (72%) is even more important to help drive development and innovation in the sector.

When it comes to smart utility development, energy security (79%) is at the top of the list. But as climate-related events like storms, wildfires and floods become more frequent and more damaging, there is a growing need for IoT technology designed for smart buildings and infrastructure (75%), weather and climate (73%) and disaster management (69%) over the next 12 months.

Have you read:
Gas power plant and grid-edge R&D wow attendees of POWERGEN 2023
Data and creativity can help solve the energy transition’s biggest challenges, say DISTRIBUTECH keynote speakers

President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law on November 15, 2021, setting aside $65 billion to support broadband coverage and adoption, $50 billion to protect against extreme weather events, and $7.5 billion to build a national network of Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers.

According to Jeffrey Tufts, global director of utility solutions at Cisco, a Wi-SUN Promoter member: “There is no shortage of government initiatives that don’t come with funding, but when we do see an initiative that comes with funding it accelerates adoption.

“We saw this back in 2009 with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and hope to see it again with the IIJA in the next few years.”

Jeff Scheb, director of product management at Landis+Gyr, also a Wi-SUN Promoter member, added: “Many utilities are already looking for ideas of what can be done and talking to vendors, but really it’s about getting out there, doing the pilots and working out the kinks. This will help utilities prove the value of what they want to do and build a business case.”

Also of interest:
ChatGPT – DEWA declares a utility first
12% of customers trust their utility – study

Additional survey findings

In terms of key areas of focus for utilities for smart grid deployments, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents believe EV charging will be the biggest focus this year (next 6-11 months). Outage management, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are also a priority for utility professionals (71%).

Proven security and reliability (83%) are ‘very important’ for smart utility networks, together with customer acceptance (75%). Open standards (69%) and multi-vendor interoperability (69%) are also important to help drive smart utility development.

Around three-quarters (74%) of respondents acknowledge that a hybrid of two or more communications networks technologies – including cellular, power line communication, RF mesh and Wi-Fi – will be very important for future smart utility development.

Phil Beecher, president and CEO, Wi-SUN Alliance, commented on the survey: “The utilities industry has been criticised for being slow to change, but the need to upgrade ageing infrastructure and to adopt new ideas and technologies has never been greater as it faces some of its biggest challenges yet. But with change comes opportunities for smart grid applications and devices that can help solve problems and drive the industry forward.”

Censuswide conducted the online survey of 250+ senior decision makers working in IT, Operations and Production at US utilities in Jan 2023, supplemented by interviews at DISTRIBUTECH 2023.

DISTRIBUTECH International’s all-star program features SDG&E as host utility Tue, 10 Jan 2023 13:40:25 +0000 DISTRIBUTECH International is the largest annual gathering of electric utility professionals and the companies they partner with to deliver electricity. Next year’s event, which takes place February 7-9, 2023 with pre-conference activities beginning on Feb 6, is setting up to be spectacular.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), a utility at the forefront of the energy transition with expertise in energy storage, virtual power plants, microgrids, resiliency, wildfire mitigation, vegetation management, workforce development, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies, and so much more will act as host utility and CEO Caroline Winn will kick off the event as part of the keynote program.

“One of the biggest challenges facing the San Diego region and California is how to decarbonise key economic sectors over the next two decades, while also ensuring electric reliability, affordability and equity,” said Nick Moran, SDG&E Director of Electrical Engineering. “We look forward to collaborating with industry leaders at DISTRIBUTECH International to discuss these challenges and work together to create solutions.”

The highly popular conference program and educational offerings, including a new track centered around Communication Networks and another new track focused on Interconnecting DER, can be reviewed here. In all there are 13 educational tracks for conference attendees plus 6 knowledge hubs on the exhibit hall floor offering company-led educational sessions for everyone who attends the event. Mega sessions, listed below, are set for February 9.

These high-level executive sessions are open to all. Topics up for discussion include:

  • Transforming the Regulatory Environment for the Utility of the Future
  • Vegetation Management and Other Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategies
  • Using EVs to Accelerate the Distribution Network Journey
  • FERC Order 2222: Implementation and Impacts for Distribution Utilities
  • City View: Insights into the City/Utility Smart Cities Interface

Also of interest:
E Fest Cape Town to host Africa’s Green Economy Summit to connect capital to projects in Feb 2023
New DISTRIBUTECH programme addresses talent shortage in utility industry


In addition to Caroline Winn, CEO of San Diego Gas and Electric, Tom Deitrich, CEO of Itron, Linda Stevens, Chief Strategy Office of OATI, and a special announcement from the US Department of Energy, the annual event will host Duncan Wardle, DISTRIBUTECH’s 2023 headline keynote, which takes place on February 7 at 8:30 AM.

Duncan Wardle is the Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, working with Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks to innovate and create magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe. In his keynote, he’ll talk about how companies can embed “a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.”

DISTRIBUTECH will showcase new areas on the exhibit floor including a Smart City Zone in partnership with OATI and an Electric Vehicle Zone in partnership with ABB E-mobility. These spaces will be fully immersive experiences where attendees can connect, learn, and be inspired.

“Cities and utilities share more goals in common than in the past, creating both enormous opportunity as well as the need for dialogue.

Cities are indispensable partners in the push to decarbonise and provide beneficial electrification. DISTRIBUTECH allows key stakeholders the chance to come together to engage, gain insight into technological advancements, and move resilient, efficient, smart cities forward.” Sasan Mokhtari, Ph.D., OATI President & CEO.

OATI envisions a generation of Smart Cities with transformational, extensible, and purposeful technology to support urban decision makers to take data-driven action to improve operations, manage assets and improve the quality of city life, added Mokhtari.

“The Smart City Zone and EV Zone at DISTRIBUTECH 2023 will bring attendees a brand-new way to connect and learn, right on the exhibit hall floor,” says Desiree Hanson, Executive Vice President, Energy North America. “We want to bring more exposure to critical areas of innovation affecting the grid, and creating these dedicated spaces is a fresh way to deliver that experience and provide a platform for conversation to help navigate the energy transition.”

Register for DISTRIBUTECH here.

Smart water projects turn on the tap for Infrastructure Act funding Mon, 09 Jan 2023 09:44:36 +0000 One of the latest announcement’s coming out of Biden’s infrastructure law is an investment aiming to spur smart water and water efficiency projects in the US.

The announcement come from the US Bureau of Reclamation, which proclaimed $7 million for 82 small-scale water efficiency projects across the west in the US.

These grants will support local community projects, including measuring water flow, automating water delivery or lining canals.

The funding is part of $1 billion provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the WaterSMART programme, which supports states, Tribes and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply through investments to modernise existing infrastructure and avoid potential water conflicts.

“Community-driven projects are at the heart of WaterSMART, and small investments can go a long way to support water supply and reliability,” said Reclamation commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton.

“These water efficiency improvements are small, but when combined throughout the west, the projects play an important role in communities becoming more resilient to drought.”

Have you read:
Squeezing valuable drops out of smart water innovation
SIT and GWF partner to develop residential smart water meters
Energy Transitions Podcast: Smart water at the heart of sustainable cities

Projects in 14 western states were selected to receive funding. The projects range from Idaho’s Island Ward Canal Company receiving $23,890 for their automated headgate installation to the City of Watford in North Dakota receiving $100,000 to add smart transmitters to 636 existing municipal water meters.

Other examples of projects include:

  • The Belle Fouche Irrigation District in South Dakota will receive $99,542 to convert 1,100m of unlined canal into a buried pipeline. It will provide a more efficient and reliable water delivery system. It is part of the district’s ongoing effort to upgrade and improve water storage.
  • The Elephant Butte Irrigation District in New Mexico will install motors on an existing check structure and construct a new metering station on the Leasburg Main Canal. The project will allow them to improve the control of diversion flow rates, upstream water pressure and downstream flow. In addition, it will accomplish priorities identified in the Lower Rio Grande Regional Water Plan and 2017 Regional Water Plan to maximise the benefit of the Rio Grande Project surface water.
  • The Moapa Valley Water District, northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, will receive $100,000 to upgrade 400 domestic meters with new meters and cellular endpoints for improved data analytics and water management. This project meets the district’s goals of its water conservation plan and capital improvement plan.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $8.3 billion for Reclamation water infrastructure projects over the next five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers and wildlife.

The investment aims to repair aging water delivery systems, secure dams, complete rural water projects and protect aquatic ecosystems.

US smart meter penetration to reach 93% by 2027 – Berg Insight Tue, 03 Jan 2023 13:08:24 +0000 A research report from IoT analyst firm Berg Insight reveals that smart meter penetration in the US will increase to reach a level of 93% over the 2021 to 2027 forecast period.

The research report, Smart metering in North America, adds that the respective figure for the Canadian market will be slightly higher at 94%.

Overall, the installed base of smart electricity meters will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% to reach a total of 173.4 million units at the end of the forecast period.

“First-wave deployments will continue to grow in the coming years and will be driven by the launch of major new projects by late adopters in the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada. Meanwhile, second-wave rollouts for early adopters are now also ramping up and will grow their share of annual shipment volumes from around 12% in 2021 to around 75% by 2027”, said Mattias Carlsson, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

Have you read:
103 million smart meters in US in 2020
E.ON reports 5 million smart meters milestone in GB
Unlocking smart meter data for research

Alongside the increase in replacement smart meter projects, the development of smart metering technology in the North American market has in the last couple of years shifted focus to serving new demands beyond smart metering.

Utilities are now looking to leverage existing network canopies for a wider array of smart city applications while also trying to figure out how to cope with the integration of the rapidly increasing number of electric vehicles and distributed energy resources into the grid infrastructure.

“The race has begun between the top vendors to develop and successfully commercialise the most attractive use cases for second-wave smart metering technology. Besides increased computing power and edge analytics capabilities that enable a new set of benefits, utilities are more and more looking to integrate multiple smart city applications into a single solution”, added Carlsson.

Berg Insights estimates that the penetration of smart electricity meters in North America reached 74 percent in 2021, whihc would amount to about 129.5 million smart meters.

How digitalisation and sustainability will shape the construction industry of the future – 7 trends Fri, 11 Nov 2022 07:33:53 +0000 More sustainable and digital: The construction and real estate industry is on the verge of substantial changes. But what will the future of construction and building operations look like?

Siemens Smart Infrastructure has identified seven trends that show where the journey is headed.

By Michael Kiy, director of innovation management, Siemens Smart Infrastructure

1. Digital building design

Many modern buildings are already being built twice – first on the computer, and then in the physical world. The magic word that has pushed open the door to the future of building design is Building Information Modeling (BIM), a type of computer-aided design (CAD) for buildings.

Digital design using BIM gives building owners much more control over their project. Thanks to BIM, they can do a virtual walk-through of their building during the design stage. This is made possible by a detailed virtual model of the building, a “digital twin,” based on the BIM data.

The virtual model allows building owners to assess implementation variants in 3D and provide feedback. They can also take financial factors into account because the costs of each design measure are stored in the digital twin. As a result, it is easy to see how a particular change will affect the price.

Based on feedback from the owner and other stakeholders, the designers make adjustments to the project, which can then be reviewed again. These iteration cycles are short and cost-efficient because algorithms take a lot of the work out of the hands of the designers. If, for example, the room size is reduced when designing a hospital, an algorithm automatically adjusts the walls in the virtual model based on predefined criteria.

The same applies to other details, such as the number and position of fire detectors. This makes planning more reliable and efficient. The digital twin allows for transparent design across disciplines. This helps avoid errors, optimally coordinate disciplines, and provide up-to-date cost information at all times. This trend will become more pronounced, making building design not only more transparent, but also more efficient and cost-effective. 

Have you read:
National Grid funds AI mapping, digital twin and image signal processor startups
‘Software is enabling utilities to push the envelope of grid capability’: Siemens CEO

2. Collaboration in the digital twin

For digital design to deliver its benefits, the stakeholders involved in construction must share their data. Only then can transparency be established across the entire design and construction process.

In modern software development, these processes are modelled on platforms such as Github or Gitlab which allow multiple programmers to collaborate on a project. The software manages all inputs, and all changes are visible to everyone.

However, the construction industry is not there yet. Many stakeholders still work with disconnected two-dimensional plans or move the BIM data to other systems, leading to major adjustment losses. The desired transparency over the entire design process is currently still a pipe dream.

In addition, it remains to be seen how this new approach can be used to offset expenses if stakeholders design their disciplines in collaboration with others. New approaches are needed. For example, the building owner who benefits from the digital twin during operational optimisation could compensate the designers who created it for this added value.

3. Digital project management

When the digital building twin is in place, the next question is in which steps the physical building will be constructed. Today, the project planners determine the sequence. It is based on experience, is usually imprecise, and is difficult to adjust if delays occur in a substep.

Digitalisation promises dramatic improvements for project management. For example, the US company Alice Technologies is working on completely automating this process. The computer learns the ideal sequence of project steps and uses BIM data to create project plans on its own. They can be updated instantaneously if delays occur somewhere. This ensures that the best possible sequence is selected. According to the company, this solution can already save an average of 11% of costs and 17% of time during construction.

In the future, computer-aided project management is likely to become even more refined. This, in turn, could change the way contracts are awarded for construction projects: In this way, even small project steps, like installing room devices such as thermostats, could be put out to tender via an app as work packages at a predefined price – similar to the way Uber offers trips to its drivers. This would also give small local installers an opportunity to participate in construction projects. In addition, quality assurance could be performed through reviews and feedback in such an app.

Join Enlit Europe in Frankfurt and be part of the conversation about the energy transition in Europe and beyond.

Register now

4. Building while conserving resources 

The construction of buildings is resource-intensive and anything but climate-friendly: Each year, approximately 4.4 billion tons of cement are produced, releasing roughly as much CO2 as 700 coal-fired power stations.

In order to reduce the environmental footprint of buildings and infrastructures, it is crucial to use building materials sustainably. First, more building materials need to be recycled. To some extent, this is already being done today. For example, an existing concrete shell is no longer demolished and rebuilt, but incorporated into the design of the new building or reused as fill material. Secondly, more climate-friendly alternative building materials such as wood should be used more widely.

New technologies can also make construction more resource-efficient. For example, 3D printing promises not only more efficient processes, but also a massive reduction in the environmental footprint, because additive manufacturing can be used to print new shapes that use less construction material without compromising stability.

5. Robots on the construction site

Another trend that can already be seen today is the use of robots: Drilling robots from Schindler or Hilti, for example, are already in use, independently drilling holes in concrete according to data specifications. In addition, robots are already being used to manufacture complex structures from alternative building materials.

Increased cost pressure will lead to more industrial construction. Using new digital manufacturing methods, components will be produced individually and on demand. Since more elements will be integrated into prefabricated products – electrical components, for example – the construction site of the future will increasingly focus on assembling prefabricated elements.

Have you read:
E.ON launches digital business to manage grid complexity
Sharper Shape digital twin tech expands with remote sensing acquisition
Kadri Simson says quicker permitting and digitalisation will ease energy crisis

6. Data-based building operation

Heating, cooling and domestic hot water require the most energy during the building’s operational phase. A smart building of the future will have sensors and intelligent controls to make the operation of building equipment as efficient as possible. It will also take the behaviour and needs of the building occupants into account: There is, for instance, no need for heating in unoccupied spaces. The smart building incorporates weather forecasts and the availability of renewable energy – for example from the PV system on the roof – into its behaviour. 

The data collected in the smart building can be analysed by algorithms to optimise building management: When deviations occur, facility management is informed so that they can decide what to do. The data will be available in a standardised form, and there will be applications that process the data and offer added value, such as energy savings. These applications can be available in a virtual marketplace and customers will be able to select those that best serve their purposes.

7. Electric vehicles as power storage

In smart buildings, energy storage will have a larger role than it does today. Electric vehicles will play an important part: During the day, when they are parked at work, they receive for instance solar power and are charged. The stored power can then be used at home in the evening. Smart systems ensure that the battery still has enough of a charge to drive back to work the next day. If the calendar shows a meeting further away, the discharge of power from the vehicle’s batteries will be stopped earlier so that the destination can be reached easily.

Connecting consumer and power generation data makes it possible to optimise the use of renewable energy and will play an important role in ensuring a sustainable energy supply. This type of energy optimisation will result in new business models. For example, excess power could be sold to a neighbour. However, such solutions currently face high bureaucratic and political hurdles.

Looking ahead

Although technologies and materials for a more sustainable and intelligent construction and real estate industry already exist, the road into the future of construction is rife with obstacles. Today, many companies see no incentive to actively drive change. Regulatory requirements and historically evolved structures partially impede progress. And as long as the cost pressure is not high enough, the automation of the construction industry will not move forward. In the long run, however, this will not be a viable approach. Progress and digitalisation will prevail, as examples from the printing, photography and music industry have clearly shown.

The good news: There are many ways to modernise the construction industry. Software developers, start-ups and advanced technologies can and will revolutionise many things – this is just the beginning.


Michael Kiy

Michael Kiy is director innovation management at Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

Since 2019, Kiy has been a member of the Expert Board of Electrosuisse and a member of the organizing committee of the Swiss Building Technology Congress as well as the Forum Smart Home.

Sunrun is building Puerto Rico’s first virtual power plant Fri, 04 Nov 2022 11:10:51 +0000 Sunrun has been selected to build Puerto Rico’s first Virtual Power Plant (VPP) by the island’s electric utility provider.

Sunrun said it will aggregate the solar and battery storage systems of more than 7,000 customers to form the 17MW VPP. The company is aiming to dispatch the VPP in 2024.

“Puerto Ricans are ready to make the move to reliable independent clean energy solutions that will increase their sense of safety and security in their own homes,” said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell. “We’re solving energy insecurity on the island by switching the model so that solar energy is generated on rooftops and stored in batteries to power each home, and then shared with neighbors, creating a clean shared energy economy.”

Resiliency became a main focus in Puerto Rico in recent years as devastating storms have crippled the island’s electric grid.

In 2019, two years after Hurricane Maria dismantled the island’s electric grid, the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act was passed by the legislature to set the parameters for a forward-looking energy system that maximises distributed generation.

Have you read:
First virtual power plant inaugurated in Greek energy market
Demand side response and VPPs in a changing market
European Commission approves grid-scale balancing batteries for Croatia

The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau determined that VPPs were key to achieving the legislation’s goals of building a resilient and robust energy system and meeting Puerto Rico’s renewable portfolio standards.

Sunrun has more than a dozen VPP programs in various stages of development and operation.

Last summer, the company contributed more than 1.8GWh to the New England grid and celebrated a milestone as the first residential VPP to participate in a wholesale electricity market. A Sunrun VPP likewise fed the California grid 1.1GWh of energy during the summer heat waves.

Residential solar systems have proved resilient despite Puerto Rico’s harsh climate.

Sunnova Energy said that only 59 of its 30,000 rooftop solar arrays required repair in the two weeks following Hurricane Fiona, which struck Puerto Rico in early September, causing widespread outages as the island’s electric power grid failed.

The company said its SunSafe solar + storage systems generated nearly 2GWh of energy in the first two weeks after the storm. Systems provided a combined 3.4 million hours of back-up power for solar + storage customers, with an average of 128 hours of power generated per household. It said customers averaged 5.3 days of solar + storage battery backup with many relying on their solar + storage system for more than 10 days.

Sunnova has been active in Puerto Rico since 2013 and has deployed nearly 40,000 batteries, claiming a 100% battery attachment rate since 2018.

This was originally published on Renewable Energy World.

Southern Gas and Habitat for Humanity partner on smart energy communities Mon, 31 Oct 2022 12:09:47 +0000 Two smart energy communities in the US, which will consist of a total 30 single-family net zero homes, are being planned and will equip residents with a combination of renewable, electric and natural gas technologies.

These ‘Smart Neighborhood’ smart energy communities will be the result of a partnership between utilities Nicor Gas and Southern Company alongside Fox Valley and Northern Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

The Smart Neighborhood communities will aim to provide affordable, net zero greenhouse gas emissions housing options in the Chicagoland area, with one in Aurora and a second being developed in Northern Fox Valley.

Eligible residents will be able to access features such as energy-efficient appliances that help reduce high energy bills and mitigate carbon footprints.

The Smart Neighborhood will be built along Jericho Road and Garden Avenue near the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks in Aurora. Also known as CARE communities (Carbon-neutral, Affordable, Resilient and Efficient), each Smart Neighborhood will come with energy-efficient building envelopes, solar panels and battery solutions that will allow for further reliability in the event of storms or inclement weather.

Have you read:
Google and C40 cities launch carbon-free energy pilot
Red Eléctrica completes first demand response auction

Smart tech

A home’s “building envelope” refers to engineering and building practices that help manage the energy use in a home. This can be related to indoor heating or cooling, insulation and the thermal barrier of the home. In Illinois, where it can get very cold, using specific products and approaches can help keep energy bills more efficient.

Internet connectivity will have an important role in home automation and integrating more renewable sources of energy that lower the home’s carbon footprint within the communities.

The new smart homes will include a number of smart technology features, including:

  • Smart thermostats
  • Backup power supply in the form of garage battery storage systems
  • Rooftop solar panels
  • 240 VAC circuits in the garage for EV (Electric Vehicle) charging
  • Insulated concrete foam walls
  • Spray foam
  • Energy efficient windows
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
  • LED lighting

Smart Neighborhood

Smart Neighborhood is a trademarked brand of Southern Company, the parent company of Nicor Gas.

Smart Neighborhoods advance energy technologies that work together as a part of an affordable, reliable clean energy economy.

The Aurora community will be the first Smart Neighborhood to be built in Illinois and will launch a three-year research study to examine how natural gas can be part of the solution toward meeting net zero energy goals.

“At Habitat for Humanity, we are excited to work alongside Nicor Gas to create a pathway to strength, stability and independence through homeownership,” said Jeffrey Barrett, executive director and CEO of Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. “

This collaboration represents a unique opportunity to advance the adoption of net zero energy solutions, while making them available to individuals who ordinarily could not afford these environmental upgrades.”

“We’re only now at the beginning of imagining the potential within renewable technology and the resiliency of a net zero future,” said Wendell Dallas, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “As we enter this fourth industrial revolution, we must be more than innovative but inclusive to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the cost savings and the satisfaction of knowing they are doing their part to ensure a clean energy future for their communities.”

For this project, Fox Valley and Northern Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliates will serve as developer of the Smart Neighborhood Initiative.

Habitat for Humanity will partner with local government officials on a broader Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to conduct home repairs and build quality, affordable homes for those in need. Nicor Gas will support that initiative through its energy efficiency program.

Groundbreaking for the Aurora development is expected to take place next spring. Work on the Northern Fox Valley development is slated for 2024.

Google and C40 cities launch carbon-free energy pilot Wed, 26 Oct 2022 12:25:17 +0000 A new programme has been announced by Google and C40, a global network of mayors taking action to confront the climate and energy crisis, to explore and integrate the concept of 24/7 carbon-free energy (CFE).

Pursuing 24/7 CFE means aiming to meet every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption with carbon-free sources, every hour of every day, every day of the year.

The announcement sees C40 Cities join forces with Google to launch the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities programme.

The programme, touted by C40 and Google as a first-of-its-kind, aims to support cities around the world to explore the concept of 24/7 CFE, accelerate the decarbonisation of regional electricity grids, and enable residents to benefit from the clean energy transition.

C40’s 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities programme will develop and implement strategies, practices and tools to enable cities to achieve 24/7 CFE. Initial pilot cities include London, UK, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Paris, France.

Google will offer each partner city its expertise based on the company’s experience in pursuing a 24/7 CFE goal, including data and critical policy and market reforms.

Each city will also build on its ongoing participation in the C40 Renewable Energy Accelerator, and work to address key challenges outlined in a recent C40 white paper on 24/7 CFE for cities.

Have you read:
Energy crisis response sees Scotland increase smart meter coverage
Holographic digital twin aids infrastructure planning in Florida
How Berlin is making the energy switch to hydrogen economically and socially viable

Piloting CFE

Each initial pilot will focus on different challenges associated with decarbonising urban electricity consumption, including areas such as time-matched clean energy procurement for municipal operations, shifting energy use to times of day when solar and wind resources are most abundant and expanding local clean energy through mini-grids and battery storage.

Across the pilots, cities will explore policy and market reforms that expand access to clean energy and ensure that residents realise the economic, employment and health benefits of the clean energy transition.

Caroline Golin, global head of energy market development and policy at Google, said: “At Google, we set the goal of operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030 both to decarbonise our own operations and to accelerate the decarbonisation of electricity grids globally. We’ve always known that we cannot achieve this goal alone, and we believe cities have a critical role to play in driving the systems-level changes that are needed to deliver a carbon-free energy future.”

C40 cities in the clean energy transition

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a group of 97 cities around the world that represents one twelfth of the world’s population and a quarter of the global economy.

C40 executive director Mark Watts stated regarding the role of these cities within the energy transition: “C40 cities are showing once again that they are doers, not delayers. By embracing innovation and partnership, they are not only helping to explore the 24/7 carbon-free energy concept but they are accelerating the energy transition, phasing out expensive and volatile fossil fuels that are the root of the energy costs crisis.”

Cities play a major role in the global energy transition: More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and urban areas are responsible for more than two-thirds of global energy consumption and more than 70% of global carbon emissions.

Cities around the world need to rapidly decarbonise their energy use, both to help the world meet global climate goals and to enable them to meet their own climate targets, ensure the health and resilience of their communities, and realise the economic and employment benefits of clean energy.

And the benefits of a 24/7 CFE approach are clear: A study released by the Technical University of Berlin, supported by Google, found that hourly matching of CFE reduces significantly more carbon emissions than the purchase of renewable energy to match annual energy needs. Public-private partnerships are critical to achieving this shift.

Holographic digital twin aids infrastructure planning in Florida Mon, 24 Oct 2022 10:52:05 +0000 New holographic digital twin technology has been announced for three counties in the state of Florida to better enable utility infrastructure planning and decision making.

The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) is funding the fully realised digital twin that will showcase the entire region with input from multiple stakeholders.

The 3D tech is claimed by the Partnership as the first to allow users to incorporate real-time, interactive data that can help them map out different scenarios with climate change, infrastructure, available real estate and more.

The public-private organisation has hired Unity, a platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, to create the digital twin project that will recreate 800 square miles of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties in the state of Florida.

Different data sets, provided by investors, will allow companies, local governments and non-profits to visualise how their own plans will impact the region.

Have you read:
Digital twin to streamline smart planning for decarbonising East Birmingham
Task force to innovate space applications for energy
Digitalising Europe’s energy sector to accelerate decarbonisation

With the new technology, areas of interest across industries, infrastructure connectivity and talent availability will be made accessible.

Utility companies and city planners will be able to map out proposed infrastructure improvements on a holographic display, which is currently under development.

Dave Rhodes, SVP of Digital Twins, Unity, said on the promise of the new technology: “Digital Twin technology unleashes the full power of data for better decision-making, but more importantly gives cities like Orlando the ability to plan and build for a smarter, safer and more sustainable reality.”

According to the partners, the project marks a first for digital twin technology, which has not previously mapped a large region.

The digital twin will be a dynamic virtual copy of a physical asset, process, system and environment that looks like and behaves identically to its real-world counterpart and will be displayed online.

Digital twin to streamline smart planning for decarbonising East Birmingham Wed, 28 Sep 2022 08:39:00 +0000 A digital twin to model and test pathways to clean energy and net zero emissions in East Birmingham is being planned in a new partnership between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City Council and Siemens.

The collaborators are coming together to produce a feasibility study to demonstrate how a virtual representation of the energy and transport infrastructure within East Birmingham and Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District (TEED) will help outline pathways for decarbonisation.

The digital twin’s aim is to provide a digital testbed where the impacts of innovations such as smart homes, clean air zones, or neighbourhood growth strategies can be modelled and analysed in a digital environment ahead of investment in the hopes of delivering maximum ROI.

The feasibility report will describe how a digital twin could enable scenario planning for energy-related retrofit activities.

This would allow planners to model different measures across housing types – detached housing to high-rise developments – to find those that maximise benefits for residents and the environment. These can be tested at a local level and then scaled up city-wide in the digital world.

Have you read:
ABB-backed research will develop smart microgrid cybersecurity testbed
Why it’s high time for transmission operators to set a digitised data strategy
How hydrogen can help decarbonise the UK’s energy system

According to the partnership, it could also support and inform the national dialogue on innovation, systems resilience, climate change and levelling up. The study will be used as the foundation for a funding bid to fully realise the project, which will then go on to help unlock further investment and develop a clear pathway for net-zero and city-wide planning.

Professor Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Energy Institute, stated: “Digital twins provide cities with a bridge between the real and digital world, where smart buildings and infrastructure share information with a virtual environment. This technology has huge potential to accelerate decarbonisation and it’s exciting to see this work taking shape in East Birmingham.

“The University of Birmingham is proud to work in partnership with the City Council, Siemens and others to develop this initial framework which we hope will stimulate the investment needed to realise a digital twin for the city.”

Andrew Smyth, Head of Data Services, EMEA at Siemens Advanta, added: “With climate change already posing challenges for UK infrastructure and our economy, net-zero is a business and societal imperative. Our extensive know-how and expertise in the implementation of digital twin technology enables us to provide the city of Birmingham with the support they need to base their decisions on robust and tested insights, reducing risk and maximising the benefits.”

Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism, said: “A digital twin for Birmingham would give us a joined-up planning tool to help tackle the big challenges facing us like moving to net zero and levelling up; this feasibility study for East Birmingham is a first step to realising this reality.”

Smart city modelling partnership to explore system planning platforms Tue, 30 Aug 2022 10:18:03 +0000 GIS project management startup Matidor and global built environment consulting firm Arup have announced a partnership to develop platforms to support energy system planning and analysis for smart city modelling.

The partnership combines Matidor’s map-based project management capabilities with Arup’s digital and sustainability acumen in energy efficiency modelling and planning.

According to Matador, the two will collaborate to enable civil engineers to model urban planning scenarios, including for smart cities, and calculate energy efficiency in real-time, so that the best-performing model can be developed.

Smart city partners

Matidor says its platform is enabling civil engineers’ capability to plan, track and report on clean energy and sustainability projects.

A Taurus integration allows users to design site plans and combine them with engineering specifications to reveal insights, according to the startup. This includes aspects such as project progress towards energy optimisation and carbon reduction goals.

Arup on the other hand provides climate risk, resiliency and sustainability services, aiming to develop useful and effective tools for the AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) industry.

Have you read:
SSEN to develop system planning tool for a holistic net zero
UK smart grid-powered electric homes to be installed along historic MG Rover site
‘Energy efficiency is good for business’ – ABB

“The need for digital innovations in the civil engineering industry, especially around smart city planning, is becoming ever more apparent. Municipalities and property developers constantly seek smarter ways to plan and collaborate on clean community development projects. Yet, outdated modelling mechanisms have been hindering the advancement in this area,” stated Vincent Lam, co-founder and CEO of Matidor.

He added: “Partnering with Arup allows Matidor to leverage our intuitive GIS project management platform and Arup’s subject matter expertise to enable a real-time energy modelling system. The result will save thousands of hours for civil engineering organisations when planning and developing environmentally friendly communities.”

Rebecca Birmingham, Americas ventures lead at Arup, said: “As part of our commitment to furthering sustainable outcomes for the built environment, Arup is pleased to support the development of a new technology to make it easier for both start-ups and established firms to track their climate action progress, as more companies integrate sustainability objectives into their project management systems”.

IoT enablement a top priority for 2022 – Wi-SUN Alliance Thu, 11 Aug 2022 06:06:57 +0000 The Wi-SUN Alliance has reported data privacy regulation as a top challenge for Internet of Things (IoT) adopters.

In a new survey of UK and US IoT adopters as a follow on to an earlier 2017 investigation, the Alliance has found that while fears over security remain a top challenge and improving security is a top IT priority, over the period these have become less of a concern, dropping by over 30%.

However, at the same time fears have grown over data privacy issues and big data, with data privacy regulation a top concern and a top rollout challenge.

Other top challenges are those arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and its handling, viz the need to reprioritise spending in its wake and budget cuts resulting from the reduced revenues during that period.

Have you read?
Wi-SUN Alliance – new testing and certification partners
IoT, AIoT and Industrial IoT, where is the future taking us?

“Data privacy concerns have gone up, understandably, with more legislation putting the spotlight on data protection. This includes the GDPR in Europe and various state-level laws in the US,” comments Phil Beecher, President and CEO of the Wi-SUN Alliance.

“IoT initiatives, such as smart metering, streetlighting and those using environmental, air quality and acoustic sensors are increasingly generating huge volumes of data and while this information may be made entirely ‘secure by design’, the risks remain.”

The survey, which was based on input from players including utilities, smart cities and industrial IoT and gives a good insight on thinking on IoT adoption, highlighted that in 2022, IoT is a bigger IT priority than ever for organisations across multiple sectors with enablement as a top priority for the next 12 months.

As the use cases mature and organisations see repeated successes among their peers, they are looking increasingly to this technology as a way to differentiate themselves. More than 90% of the respondents believe that they must invest in IoT over the next 12 months to remain competitive, believing that it could help to make them more agile and equipped to meet the more volatile operating conditions of today’s markets.

Security and surveillance was cited as the most popular IoT initiative in 2022, with most very likely or definitely planning to deploy the technology in the next 12-18 months. Other top popular use case are distribution automation and advanced meter infrastructure as well as waste management.

Among the other use cases, an uptick in interest was recorded over the past five years in IoT streetlighting, but the greatest rise was seen in traffic management including traffic light control and smart parking.

The survey involved 300 IT decision-makers, 200 in the US and 100 in the UK.

The Wi-SUN Alliance supports the development of interoperable wireless solutions for IoT applications in smart cities, smart grids and other areas.

UK smart grid-powered electric homes to be installed along historic MG Rover site Fri, 05 Aug 2022 10:28:55 +0000 St. Modwen, community and homes developer, has announced plans to deliver up to 350 new all-electric homes powered by a smart grid to ensure each is entirely gas-free. The homes will be developed along the historic MG Rover site in Longbridge that was once home to the MINI in Birmingham, UK.

Electricity will be supplied and tracked across the smart grid network for each home to ensure this first phase of buildings will be gas-free.

Outline planning was secured for the Longbridge site in 2021 for a total of 350 new homes. Detailed planning for the first phase is currently with the local authority and new homes are expected to be built by St. Modwen Homes from Autumn 2022.

The site has been made possible following £20 million ($24.3 million) of infrastructure investment in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

“By introducing carbon-negative homes and smart-grid powered developments…we’re proving that greener homes can be delivered at commercial scale,” stated Sarwjit Sambhi, CEO of St. Modwen.

Have you read:
DEWA virtual power plant enhances smart grid DER integration
Global community smart grid collaboration kicks off
The EU Clean Energy Package and the smart grid

Longbridge has been regenerated with homes, retail, education and green spaces delivered to date. On completion of the regeneration, St. Modwen has stated further plans to create a total of 3,000 new homes, 2 million square feet of commercial floorspace and up to 10,000 jobs at Longbridge.

The project is believed to be the first to be used by a major developer and the smart grid design is being developed alongside SNRG, specialists in next generation energy infrastructure.

The announcement follows the launch earlier in 2022 of St. Modwen’s first carbon-negative homes, a trial that makes homes airtight to enable them to return power to the UK grid.

According to St Mowden, these carbon-negative homes are designed to produce more energy than they consume and could reduce a family’s total energy bills by 76% when compared with a standard new-build house.

Aspects of this trial will be deployed in the new all-electric homes and in turn across all new developments by St. Modwen as carbon-reducing technology becomes standard.

Webinar Recording: Harnessing data in homes and buildings Tue, 02 Aug 2022 07:48:17 +0000 60-minute session

Since Google, Facebook and other companies located in Silicon Valley, showed the rest of the world the hidden power of harnessing data, attempts to replicate the success of the largest corporates in the world have been legion.

In 2017, the Economist published a story titled, ‘The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data’, which has seen a lot happen since globally.

End users have accepted the need to trade data for convenience and comfort, although the regulations have grown around the user privacy. Another important aspect is that data is now a target for many companies, either in the software or hardware industry. Some predict that hardware will become less important while software will gain importance, with data driving the change.

Furthermore, the once-off sales targets are shifting to subscription plans everywhere, thanks to Netflix and Spotify, based on data and services. The home and building industry does not escape from this debate.

There is a great opportunity for all the stakeholders involved in this industry, especially when tackling energy management, although there are some challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Data coming from different sources, applications, and vendors… complicate the task of processing it in the most optimal way.
  • The lack of standard interfaces imposes barriers for the software developers to extract the data smoothly.
  • A vendor-locked approach keeps the data in silos, thus not contributing to synergistic solutions that enhance the data compilation.
  • Security is crucial, and so it has to be at the centre of the equation.
  • The ethical usage of the data, and the need of offering alternatives where data is not shared while maintaining the level of comfort.

In this recorded discussion, contributors to the KNX technology talk about the problems faced by the new business models in the home and building automation industry and will provide their vision on how it can be solved.


Christian Kiefel, CEO | ProKNX SAS

Dario Tolio, CTO | Ilevia srl

Jesús Arias, Membership & Business Development | KNX Association cvba

Technology Trending: carbon accounting, condition monitoring, next-gen AI, smart cities Mon, 01 Aug 2022 06:55:33 +0000 New carbon accounting solutions, improving asset condition monitoring ROI, advances in analogue deep learning and The Line at Saudia Arabia’s future city Neom are on this week’s technology radar.

Carbon accounting

As companies increasingly move to reduce carbon emissions and seek measurable data for supply to customers for ESG reporting, a stream of new blockchain-based and other solutions for carbon accounting are emerging – somewhat reminiscent of the early days of blockchain and the rush of new entrants with their white papers and ‘initial coin offerings’ for some energy sector venture, of which few have fulfilled their promise.

Examples of recent weeks are New Frontier Markets, “a technology company dedicated to enabling access to the new low-carbon economy”, which has announced the launch of its proprietary blockchain carbon credit marketplace, and a partnership between Flowcarbon and Menthol Protocol to address the “hard to abate” emissions with tokenised credits.

Meanwhile, Normative, a Swedish provider that claims the world’s first carbon accounting engine, has raised €31 million (US$31.5 million) in Series B funding from new and existing investors to expand its service, particularly on the more challenging scope 3 supply chain emissions.

Condition monitoring ‘need to knows’

Condition monitoring has transformed industries but unlocking its full potential requires recasting operations with data front and centre, according to Onyx Insight, which provides solutions and solutions focused on the wind energy industry.

In a new report on turbine condition monitoring – and likely applicable in other sectors – the company raises questions around the effectiveness of in-house analysis teams in managing large, multi-brand portfolios, and whether OEMs or O&M service providers are adequately incentivised to deliver support.

Five lifecycle events suggested where owners and operators should scrutinise condition monitoring strategies to ensure optimised ROI are end of warranty, operational stage, portfolio growth and diversification, change of O&M contract or M&As and late stage and life extension.

Next-gen AI and programmable resistors

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming more and more widely used and as the boundaries are pushed, energy consumption is increasing.

But that could be close to changing with the next area of AI, analogue deep learning. This technology, which relies on computation performed in memory and in operations in parallel, promises much-reduced consumption along with faster computation with programmable resistors that are built up in complex layers to form digital neural networks.

Now scientists at MIT have found that with the incorporation of the inorganic phosphosilicate glass – basically silica gel, commonly used as a desiccant – in the fabrication, their devices are enabled to run 1 million times faster than previous versions and are extremely energy efficient.

“This work has put these devices at a point where they now look really promising for future applications,” said Jesús A. del Alamo, Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The next step is to re-engineer the new technology, the protonic programmable resistor, which is of nanometre scale, for high volume manufacturing.

The Line at Neom

Would you like to live in a ‘city’ 170km long, 500m tall and just 200m wide with approximately 9 million other people?

That is the vision for The Line, a “civilizational revolution that puts humans first”, which has been unveiled for the Neom future city development in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.

The Line, set to have a footprint of just 34km2, is planned to run on 100% renewable energy and to “prioritise people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities”.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the Neom Board of Directors said: “The designs revealed for the city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human liveability.”

With the ‘Zero gravity urbanism’ concept of The Line intended to give people the possibility to move seamlessly in three dimensions – up, down, across – they are touted to be able to reach all their daily needs within five minutes, while a high-speed rail will provide end-to-end transit of 20 minutes.

3 Ways IoT can help reduce carbon emissions Wed, 27 Jul 2022 09:04:00 +0000 Emily Newton, editor-in-chief of Revolutionized Magazine, writes on three use cases where the Internet of Things (IoT) is proving a useful instrument to help reduce carbon emissions.

The growing IoT devices market could be a silver bullet for climate change. Consumers, businesses, and government organisations can use IoT monitoring systems to improve the energy efficiency of everything from individual homes to entire cities – potentially helping to slash carbon emissions.

These are three ways in which people currently use IoT to reduce carbon emissions.

1. Smart home technology helps consumers go green

Over the past few years, a wide range of smart home devices has arrived on the market. These devices enable consumers to connect a variety of home appliances and systems to the internet, including their HVAC system, power system, lighting, dishwashers, coffee makers and refrigerators.

The primary advertised benefit of these devices is often convenience. A homeowner can control their IoT or smart lights, for example, from anywhere in the world with internet access. However, the right device can also help households significantly reduce their carbon emissions.

Smart HVAC systems, for example, can combine a variety of devices – including IoT thermostats, vents, and sensors – to optimise their energy consumption without reducing performance or household comfort.

Using information from sensors and vents that the system can automatically toggle open or closed, the smart HVAC system can dynamically adjust its performance throughout the day. A system may stop cooling while household members are at work, prioritise occupied rooms, or identify air leaks that may be making the system less efficient.

Lowering energy consumption means less carbon emissions – and because space heating and air conditioning account for around 50% of home energy consumption on average, even small efficiency improvements may make a significant difference.

Other home systems can provide similar carbon-cutting benefits. A smart home lighting system can use motion trackers and pre-programmed schedules to shut off lights when they’re not needed or when natural lighting is available. Smart appliances can adapt how they function to suit an owner’s schedule or personal preferences, potentially enabling performance improvements that will reduce their energy consumption.

Because the home IoT market has grown so fast over the past few years, homeowners can potentially automate almost every appliance and system in their home, allowing them to secure significant energy and carbon savings.

Have you read:
Wasted energies – why we’re getting renewables wrong and how to fix it
IoT cyber security impetus placed on manufacturers – TÜV SÜD

2. Industrial IoT for streamlining facility operations

New industrial IoT technology can help the owners of industrial facilities streamline operations, monitor environmental conditions, keep better track of key resources and potentially slash carbon emissions.

A warehouse may use IoT to automate the management of its HVAC system and lighting, for example, to help make these systems more energy-efficient.

A foundry could use IoT environmental monitors to track carbon dioxide emissions produced by foundry processes, allowing management to more effectively deploy carbon capture or emission control systems that prevent these emissions from escaping into the environment.

Businesses of all kinds with large vehicle fleets can use IoT telematics to track driver behaviour, optimise routes and improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. The same technology may also enable more effective preventive maintenance schemes. Because vehicle maintenance can have a major impact on fuel efficiency, improving maintenance can help businesses save money on repairs and reduce downtime while slashing carbon emissions.

While industrial IoT devices are still somewhat novel, many businesses already believe they may be key to improving sustainability and fighting climate change. According to one recent survey, 94% of companies agreed the Industrial IoT (IIoT) “enables better decisions, improving overall sustainability” and 57% said that IIoT has had a “significant positive effect” on operational decision-making.

It’s possible that, with such positive opinions of IoT devices across industries, businesses will ramp up investment in IIoT technology over the next few years. In the near future, the adoption of IIoT solutions could help make industry as a whole much more sustainable.

3. Smart city technology for cutting cities’ carbon emissions

Networked smart city technologies can help urban planners, developers and city officials create more sustainable urban environments. Often working in tandem with other technologies like AI, big-data analytics and robots, smart city IoT devices can help streamline the performance of a variety of city systems.

Smart traffic signals and traffic monitors, for example, are already used by a number of cities to facilitate the smoother flow of traffic.

An IoT-enabled traffic system can dynamically adjust the timing of traffic signals, change toll values, or even close off streets in response to fluctuating traffic flow, accidents, and road maintenance.

In practice, these dynamic traffic management systems can help reduce congestion and improve the average fuel efficiency of both commuter and commercial vehicles within city limits.

Traffic monitors and sensing devices can also collect valuable data on how motorists are using their vehicles and city roads. Information from an IoT traffic system may help urban planners develop better transit systems, expand roadways, or plan future development in a way that will encourage the use of sustainable transit options or minimise private fuel consumption.

Have you read:
International IoT exhibition – Extreme manufacturing sustainable development
LoRaWAN expands the addressable IoT market—smart utilities

Smart street lights can be used to capture information on traffic flow and improve city light management. Using motion sensors, traffic data and pre-programmed schedules, smart lights can dynamically turn themselves on or off as needed to conserve energy without reducing pedestrian visibility or safety. A smart street light can also connect residents to emergency services or provide information through dynamic displays.

Smart grid technology can help planners and city officials tap directly into city energy use. Devices like smart meters, for example, allow a city’s grid operators to collect information on how consumers are using electricity and dynamically adjust electricity prices in response to changing demand.

With better information on how they use electricity, consumers can more effectively change their habits and lifestyle to reduce energy consumption.

Grid operators and city planners can also use smart meter data for long-term planning – helping them identify where grid infrastructure may need to be expanded, for example, or where city design could be leading to inefficient energy use by city residents.

Much of America is in desperate need of grid infrastructure upgrades. Smart technology could play a valuable role in helping grid operators modernise their equipment.

How consumers, businesses and cities use IoT to slash carbon emissions

Internet of things devices can help a wide variety of people and organisations become more energy-efficient. Smart home HVAC systems, environmental monitors and smart traffic systems are all examples of how IoT technology is helping to cut carbon emissions. These systems can also capture information that may help their owners change how they live and work to reduce their carbon footprint.


Emily Newton

Emily Newton is the editor-in-chief of Revolutionized Magazine.

She enjoys writing articles about the energy industry as well as other industrial sectors.

More articles from Emily Newton:
The grid needs long-duration energy storage
How will AI provide better transformer data?

Senet and IotaComm connect on smart use case LoRaWAN delivery Tue, 26 Jul 2022 06:42:53 +0000 A new partnership between Senet and IotaComm will see the two come together to deliver LoRaWAN with initial use cases focusing on smart building, smart city and critical infrastructure applications.

The partnership has been announced between Senet, Inc., provider of cloud-based software and services platforms that enable connectivity and network build-outs for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Iota Communications, Inc. (IotaComm) a low power, wide area network (LPWAN) wireless communication and data analytics software company.

The two will deliver LoRaWAN through both 915MHz unlicensed spectrum and through IotaComm’s 800MHz FCC-licensed spectrum network connectivity.

“We’re honoured to be working alongside Senet in the quest to provide the wireless connectivity efficiency and flexibility that industries are requiring,” said Terrence DeFranco, CEO, president of IotaComm.

“This partnership fully supports our goals of building the largest national, carrier-grade LPWAN dedicated to the IoT. Together with Senet’s network architecture expertise, we’ll deliver real-time data that results in high-value and actionable insights while filling an existing connectivity gap.”

Have you read:
Cranberry Analytics to integrate LoRaWAN in its smart water meters
Brunei and Actility deploy LoRaWAN network for smart city services
Benefits of LoRa for smart utilities

The partnership between the two provides significant potential across industries during a time when increased efficacy is becoming more of a priority, especially for those within the energy sector.

IotaComm provides smart building and smart city solution used by building managers, industrial site managers, and city planners to manage the health, safety and sustainability goals of their organisations.

IotaComm has stated that it will use Senet’s cloud-based platform to manage both its public LoRaWAN network and private on-premises networks and application deployments using the 800MHz FCC-licensed spectrum.

By opening their LoRaWAN gateways to data traffic from solution providers connecting to the Senet Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network (LVN), IotaComm hopes to contribute to the expansion of public carrier-grade LoRaWAN networks and generate IoT services revenue streams.

With this collaboration, as well as in addition to its use of the Senet platform for application and device management, IotaComm has also become a Senet Radio Access Network (RAN) operator and Senet LPWAN Virtual Network (LVN) participant.

UAE smart city deploys smart strategies to become living lab Fri, 08 Jul 2022 07:02:31 +0000 Saudi Arabian city Alnama is planning to become a smart zero carbon destination through its smart grid strategy and technologies. The end goal is to become a living lab to continuously improve upon its smart capabilities.

The project is being led by URB – a smart city developer based in Dubai, which provides master planning, landscape design and architecture services – and aims to leverage a variety of smart technology and strategies to bolster the standard of living experienced by its residents.

As a smart city, Alnama makes use of various technologies and will support start-ups and businesses in its green-technology hub in the hopes of closing the loop between food, water, energy and waste.

Some of the technology initiatives announced for the city by URB includes:

  • Integrated technology such as Information Communication Technologies [ICT] and Internet of Things [IoTs] into its hard and soft infrastructures
  • A smart grid, in the hopes of providing resources more efficiently and equitably to residents
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, self-driving cars and solar farms
  • A two-way grid system, aiming to create a green economy.
  • Home energy-management solutions enabled with transmission and distribution by the city’s smart solar grid systems
  • Homes equipped with smart meters, network and security architectures, switching products and routing to create a renewable solar distributed generation grid
  • Smart water systems, to reduce resident water consumption

Have you read:
Smart grids to dominate smart city spending through 2026
Spain’s Fuengirola embarks on smart city transformation
The EU Clean Energy Package and the smart grid

At a building level, sensors will aim to play a key role. Indoor lighting and temperature can automatically be adjusted based on variables, including the number of occupants in a room, the time of day as well as exterior weather and light conditions.

Each building will reportedly have embedded sensors to detect motion, temperature, noise, moisture, fire and smoke, for example, to provide real-time data and help improve operational efficiency, safety and security.

In addition to biosaline agriculture, the city provides vertical farms, aquaponics, fish and dairy farms which will be enabled by data science, IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.

CEO of URB, Baharash Bagherian, stated on the city: “Alnama aims to be the next generation of self-sufficient city, producing all the city’s renewable energy needs…Biosaline agriculture, productive gardens, wadis and carbon-rich habitats are key features of the development’s innovative and resilient landscape design.”

According to URB, the smart city also has the capability of maintaining functions in the case of any shocks or stresses to its environment by integrating blue and green infrastructure.

The smart city developer has also stated their hope for Alnama to become a living lab, monitoring services and resources, using AI for predictive analysis, piloting innovations and analysing user feedback to develop its smart capabilities.

Smart meters for Poland’s Tauron Fri, 01 Jul 2022 06:32:05 +0000 A consortium including Griffin Group S.A. Energy and Apator SA are to supply smart meters to the DSO Tauron Dystrybucja in Wrocław.

The meters will have a PLC communication module in the OSGP standard. While the number of meters has not been specified,, the value of the offer amounts to approximately PLN 190 million ($42 million), with the option to increase orders by 12%.

The contract includes the delivery of smart meters along with installation, storage and clean-up works in Tauron Dystrybucja’s Smart City Wrocław area.

Apator reports that already almost 420,000 smart meters have been installed in Wroclaw, the capital of Lower Silesia, enabling residents to have access to measurement data and consumption profiles in real time, while the utility is able to monitor the quality of the low and medium voltage network on an ongoing basis.

Have you read?
NES participates in Tauron’s smart city Wroclaw project expansion
Poland’s low-carbon ambitions offer clear investment and business opportunities

In other smart meter news from Poland, last year Apator and Griffin Group Energy entered an agreement to develop and produce a new generation smart meter based on the OSGP technology for delivery in Poland and the broader European market.

Under Polish legislation, smart meters are required to be installed with at least 80% of end users, including 80% of households, by the end of 2028. With only around 2 million of the approximately 16.3 million end users having smart meters, a substantial number remain to be replaced over the next seven years.

Interim targets include 15% penetration by the end of 2023, 35% by the end of 2025 and 65% by the end of 2027.

Griffin Energy Group also has reported supplying smart meters to the DSO ZEW Niedzica for the almost 200 customers in the Czorsztyn Reservoir Energy Cluster.

€2,1mn to finance 14 innovative EU interoperability solutions Fri, 01 Jul 2022 01:48:00 +0000 In their drive to develop and innovate interoperable technologies for the European electricity sector, InterConnect has announced a call of €2.1 million ($2.2 million) in funding for the development of 14 interoperability solutions.

The disconnect between utilities and consumers has long been a subject of concern as service providers have started trying to maximise energy efficiency as called for by the energy transition.

To resolve such an issue, a keyword has been finding itself more and more on our tongues – interoperability. That is the ability of different sets of information systems to communicate with each other in as seamless a format as possible.

But while this may be something we all know is needed, it is not something very easily achieved.

And although technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been making significant headway, there is still a call for larger, more creative solutions and technological initiatives.

And this is where InterConnect, touted as one of Europe’s largest research projects, comes in.

With the hopes of designing interoperable prototypes that support the digitalisation of the European electricity sector, Interconnect has announced over €2 million ($2 million) for EU member-countries’ companies to develop 14 technological solutions comprised of applications or services for smart homes and grids.

The InterConnect funding programme is mainly aimed at European start-ups and SMEs.

Have you read:
IEA receives $22 million annual funding stream to expedite net zero roadmaps
Conformance and interoperability: Achieving the promise of next-generation smart energy technologies
EU Projects Zone Podcast: How to deliver interoperability and flexibility for DSOs

Each application will receive a maximum amount of €150,000 ($156,000) to develop the solutions. This is the first of three scheduled open calls for financing, which aim to promote innovation in the electricity sector, actively contributing to its digitalisation, as well as to the energy efficiency of homes and business buildings.

The selected applications will enter a support programme with technical experts and business mentors who will guide the proposal until its implementation and integration in the market.

The European country company Funding Box leads this process and is also responsible for communicating results in late October.

“In November, we will start working with the 14 companies chosen during the 1st Open Call and will launch the associated 7-month support programme. During this period, we will go through three phases: firstly, the objective is to define the proof of concept; then, we will move on to the stage where companies will develop their prototypes and their business models and, as a last step, the products will be tested in a market environment using the demonstrators that are being installed at European level to test all the solutions that are being developed by the project,” stated Yolanda Moreno, project lead at Funding Box.

Applications are open until July 26, 5pm, CEST.

Schneider Electric launches cyber solution to bolster asset protection Fri, 24 Jun 2022 06:10:05 +0000 Schneider Electric has announced the launch of Cybersecurity Solutions for Buildings alongside Claroty. The solution aims to help buildings customers secure building management systems (BMS) to protect their people, assets and operations.

The joint solution was developed between digital automation and energy management specialist Schneider Electric and cyber-physical systems security company Claroty.

With the launch, the partners hope to identify facility-wide assets, deliver risk and vulnerability management capabilities and provide continuous threat monitoring to protect enterprise investments.

“The integration of IoT (Internet of Things) in buildings is sparking an exciting shift across the sector, but like with any innovation, it also presents new risks,” stated Annick Villeneuve, vice president digital enterprise solutions, Schneider Electric.

“For threat actors looking to disrupt operations, benefit financially and/or achieve other objectives, and in so doing to put individuals at risk, buildings can appear to be the perfect target. It is with this in mind that we are partnering with Claroty to bring our customers a…solution that meets the unique security and operational risks facing buildings of today and of the future.”

Also of interest:
Webinar Recording: How Digital Twin technology can help homes and buildings perform better
Energy efficiency in smart buildings

The solution offer includes the following steps: asset discovery, risk assessment, remote access control, threat detection and response.

Its key capabilities include the following:

  • Equips facility managers with a vendor agnostic solution to fulfill secure remote access, asset inventory, efficiency and other related requirements from building owners and asset managers.
  • Provides an automated asset discovery and network mapping solution that identifies and catalogues all system assets (BMS, IoT, UPS, Power Systems, etc.).
  • Delivers a threat detection solution that monitors buildings networks to identify, assess and alert network and asset level anomalies.
  • Allows vendors of smart building assets and systems to create external, secure tunnels to connect to and maintain specific resources and assets in the building network without introducing additional risk.
  • Provides dashboards and reporting capabilities to enable management and security teams to understand current situations, receive recommendations, and drive the proper actions to reduce a building’s exposure to safety, operational, financial and reputational risks.
  • Delivers a secure remote access (SRA) solution for buildings and OT environments to increase building security when vendors, contractors and technicians are performing remote maintenance activities.

The solution launch comes in at a time where buildings are being recognised as assets within the energy sector.

With over 115 million smart buildings predicted to deploy by 2026, increased funding being funnelled into ‘buildings as carbon storage’ projects and the increasing role of buildings in the fight against climate change, cybersecurity is becoming more important than ever.