Being Smart About the Smart Grid


Reading time ( words)

A smart grid—a network using two-way digital communications to monitor and react to energy-usage changesgenerates a vast amount of data.

Now, utilities are exploring ways to use this data to drive the energy industry forward, according to Drury Mackenzie, smart grid and innovation lead for Avangrid, the parent company of NYSEG and other utilities.

On Oct. 15, as part of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise’s weekly speaker series, Mackenzie discussed her work with smart grid technologies in New York state.

First implemented at the start of the decade, smart meters in homes and businesses relay information to help suppliers better understand fluctuations in energy needs to send the right amount of energy to the right places at the right time. About 50 percent of Americans have smart meters, Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie said the industry is attempting to make the most of the data generated by smart grids by creating data-driven initiatives (usually in the form of rate incentives) that encourage new energy habits.

For example, some utilities are implementing time-of-use rates, in which data about peak energy usage times are analyzed so utilities can charge different prices for energy depending on the time of day. This encourages customers to stagger their energy use so utilities don’t have to engage as many power plants at peak times, shrinking their carbon footprint.

Time-of-use rates will soon be the default pricing system for energy in California. “New York is definitely not there yet,” Mackenzie said. For the average user, a time-of-use rate system potentially means higher prices, and such systems are difficult for a utility or a regulator to implement because “no one wants to be the bad guy,” Mackenzie said.

Another option for using smart meter data for positive change is analyzing it internally to help the company offer personalized energy solutions (for example, Avangrid has “created profile clusters to show which customers need energy efficiency”), to sell it to third parties or to give it directly to customers.

Decisions made about the use of this new data will have long-lasting effects on utilities such as Avangrid, Mackenzie said: “There’s just been so much transformation, even in the past two years, of the data utilities have, how it can be shared, and how it can be used effectively.”

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise’s weekly speaker series is held Mondays at 6p.m. in Sage Hall, Room B08.

Paul Russell '19 is a writer for the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.

Share


Suggested Items

Telecom (Compute and Storage) Infrastructure Market to Reach $16.35B in 2022

09/03/2018 | IDC
A new forecast from IDC sizes the market for compute and storage infrastructure for Telecoms at nearly $10.81 billion in 2017. However, as Telecoms aggressively build out their infrastructure, IDC projects this market to see a healthy five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% with purchases totaling $16.35 billion in 2022.

Flights Show Promising Technologies from Industry and Academic Partnerships

02/06/2018 | NASA
The technologies ranged from proposed new space suits to cryogenic propellant research, with implications for future NASA space missions as well as other research efforts.

Ocean of Things Aims to Expand Maritime Awareness across Open Seas

12/12/2017 | DARPA
The internet of things connects an ever-growing number of smart devices for up-to-the-minute monitoring and tracking of many common events. Head out to most parts of the open ocean, however, and no such capability exists for real-time monitoring of maritime activity.



Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.