INTERNET OF THINGS
available and mitigate any impacts of its inherent intermittency.
By taking a data-centric approach to monitoring, control and
operation of edge-of-grid needs, as well as traditional distribution
grid needs, a utility can better manage operational asset risk and
performance. This type of approach allows the utility to identify
and manage negative performance patterns via cloud-based analysis and network modeling of DER sensor data.
How would this work? First, the utility must understand every
distribution asset’s condition as well as its importance in the distribution mix. This means that when adding DER to the grid, it
is important to be able to model the generation output profile of
every DER, noting its location, condition of use and other unique
attributes, and then incorporate that data into the broader distribution model. By aggregating all the distribution grid asset data
into a single system and continually updating work history, condition rating and condition changes, the utility gains a more reliable
view of asset health.
Cloud-based analysis and network modeling of DER sensor
data make the process of identifying and managing negative performance patterns smoother. The cloud allows for multi-sourced
and cross-sourced analytics, as well as historical, trending and
comparative analytics, to happen quickly, and it provides scalabil-ity to meet the ever-growing needs of a more distributed grid. In
addition, using the cloud to perform these functions lowers the
need for a comparably larger IT department and enables reduced
IT maintenance costs.
INCREASING CUSTOMER CHOICE
More work is being done around the concept of a “
plug-and-play” distribution grid for the future; one that would involve a
transactive energy market that will allow consumers to participate right along with traditional generators. Already, utility customers are increasingly participating in demand response and
load shifting programs, and additional opportunities are opening
up for customer participation in the sale of excess and stored DER
generation into other markets.
Io T is used as a mechanism for the utility to manage the actual
control of the DER device based upon the utility’s contract with the
DER customer or the program obligations to which the custom-
er commits. With Io T, utilities can make the shift in real time as
to rely upon
data after the
fact to confirm
that the customer
has met the stipulations
of the particular demand
response or load shifting program t o
which he or she has subscribed. The use of Io T technologies al-
lows the utility to model, manage and control an individual DER’s
response in real time, unlocking the greater value—including im-
proved investment performance and lower operational costs—to
the utility along the way.
In the future, a transactive energy market will include both utility customers’ DER, as well as that of other third parties in a new
market exchange equation, dynamically balancing energy supply
and demand in a real-time market.
ALLEVIATING UTILITY CONSTRAINT
Taking the concept of dynamically balancing energy supply
and demand of DER one step further, the Io T can also alleviate
utility constraint on peak load days without the utility having to
shift to “peaker” generation plants, which are extremely costly to
maintain year-round in order to operate them only when there is
extremely high demand for electricity. By using demand response
to leverage consumer DER assets with centralized distribution
assets, the utility could dynamically shift output among the combined generation resources in real-time to manage peak load,
Here, too, the cloud can be useful. If this type of extreme dynamic load management is cyclical, rather than necessary throughout
the year, a cloud environment is, by its very nature, uniquely suited to the flexibility of scaling to peak demand as needed and then
returning to a more regular operational level afterwards.
IOT IS PROVIDING THE GLUE
The addition of consumer-owned DER not only pushes the limits of the traditional utility distribution grid, it also provides new
opportunities for grid owners and operators. Sensor data from assets along the distribution grid will continue to be key to ensuring
end-to-end visibility, as well as the means to model, manage, analyze, control and optimize DER. Io T provides the glue connecting all the pieces of the new distribution platform, and the cloud
provides the environment for doing it quickly, with reduced risk
and lower costs.| PGI
The use of Io T technologies allows the utility to
model, manage and control an individual DER’s
response in real time, unlocking the greater value
to the utility along the way.