The electricity demand globally is expected to increase more than two-thirds by the year of 2035 according to the International Energy Agency. Such increase in electricity demand will put a higher burden on the current outdated and overstressed power infrastructure. The current network infrastructure suffers from inflexibility in integrating new distributed energy sources which makes adding renewable energy sources a challenging task. This will have a negative impact in providing solutions to have a cleaner environment.
The Internet of Energy (IoE) is the result of the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology with distributed energy systems. Its purpose is to optimize the efficiency of the generation, transmission, and utilization of electricity. IoT technology enables the IoE by creating networks of sensors that have numerous smart grid applications. These include power monitoring, demand-side energy management, distributed storage, and renewable energy integration among others.
What is IoT?
IoT technology is the interconnection of different networked embedded devices used in the everyday life integrated into the Internet. It aims to automate the operation of different domains such as home appliances, health care systems, security and surveillance systems, industrial systems, transportation systems, military systems, electrical systems, and many others. In order to achieve a fully automated process, devices in the different domains must be equipped with micro-controllers, transceivers, and protocols to facilitate and standardize their communication with each other and with external entities.
IoE implementation and the benefits …
There are many ways that the IoE can lead to benefits such as increased efficiencies, money savings, and reduced waste.
- Smart homes and smart cities
In smart grid application, there is a high expectation of the IoT technology to result in having smart homes and appliances such as: smart refrigerators, smart TVs, home security system, lighting control, fire detection, temperature monitoring. These systems and appliances include sensors and actuators that monitor the environment and send surveillance data to a control unit at home. The control unit enables the householders to continuously monitor and fully control the electrical appliances. It also uses the surveillance data to predict future activities to be prepared in advance for a more convenient, comfortable, secure, and efficient living environment.
The concept of a smart community is extended to develop a smart city in. In a smart city a comprehensive surveillance system is developed to monitor different activities within an entire city or a country.
- Online monitoring of power lines
Integration of IoTs technology together with the power grid, aims to improve the reliability of power grids through a continuous monitoring of transmission lines’ status; in addition to environmental behaviors and consumers’ activities to send periodic reports to the grid control units. The control units’ process and extract information from the reported data in order to detect faults, isolate the fault, and then resolve faults intellectually.
- Demand-side energy management
Demand-Side Energy Management (DSM) is the change in consumer’s energy consumption profiles according to varying electricity price over time, and other payment’s incentives from utility companies. Demand response is used to minimize consumer’s electricity bill, shift peak’s load demand, minimize operation cost of the power grid, and minimize energy loss and greenhouse’s gas emissions. IoT components collect energy requirements of different home
appliances and send them to smart meters. The control unit in smart grid schedules energy consumption of homes’ appliances according to the user’s preferences in a strategy that minimizes the electricity bill.
- IoE for solar, utilities, and individuals
Grid infrastructures can be upgraded with IoE technology to produce and transmit energy more efficiently while also facilitating the integration of renewables. In addition, the IoE fosters the implementation of smart grid technology to collect data all the way to the grid’s edge. This data can then be used to aid in utilities’ decision-making regarding load balancing, forecasting, and other business decisions.
- Integration of electric vehicles
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are used as energy storage devices while they are idle. Also they provide efficient and clean transportation services. Developing efficient scheduling techniques for charging and discharging of electric vehicles can potentially lead to reduce emissions, shave peak load, and increase the used percentage of generated renewable. Perception devices collects information about electric vehicles identity, battery state, location, etc, to improve the efficiency of charging and discharging scheduling algorithms.
- Modernizing infrastructure and improving operation
It may be easy to overlook the importance of modernizing existing power infrastructure, but the bottom line is that we cannot rebuild our power grid from scratch. We have to rely on intelligent technologies to improve the systems we have in place to improve power quality and security, and continue to deliver safe, affordable, reliable energy to consumers. Utilities are transforming while still performing.
- Enhancing efficiency and cost savings
By implementation of IoT at Energy Sector, Utilities are improving total uptime and reducing overall maintenance costs by deploying predictive maintenance analytics that increase the quantity and quality of maintenance schedules.
- more value-added services to consumers
The smart grid enables utilities to offer new services at both the wholesale and retail/consumer level by providing deeper insights on capacity demand, issue identification, pricing options and more.
Where IoE/IoT Data Will Save?
IoT technology integrated withing in the smart power grid comes with a cost of storing and processing large volume of data every minute. This data includes end users load demand, power lines faults, network’s components status, scheduling energy consumption, forecast conditions, advanced metering records, outage management records, enterprise assets, and many more.
The high volume data gather in smart grid is similar in size and characteristics to the concept of big data. Big data is defined as data with high volume, velocity, and variety. The sampling frequency from perception devices can make the data size very large. Data velocity reflects the required speed for collecting and processing the data. Hence, big data management and processing techniques (hardware, software, algorithms, AI, etc) can be borrowed and applied in the domain of IoT. In addition, some applications of smart grid can perform their tasks only at specific time a day, such as weather forecasting and one-day ahead of time energy distribution, which can be performed at the night of every day. However, some other applications perform their tasks all day round, such as real-time applications that monitor the power grid components. This is needed to speed up energy outage recovery process and real-time response to emergent behaviors in power demands.