Can IoT Overhaul The Management Of Energy Grid?

Can IoT Overhaul The Management Of Energy Grid?

Energy CIO Insights | Friday, September 13, 2019

IT/OT allows cost efficiency, improvements in reliability on new services across the utility sector. With increasingly efficient investments, a greater choice for the customer and a lower risk among operations results in an optimal operational technology. 

FREMONT, CA: Informational and operational technologies (IT/OT) integration makes the information available on an occasion where and when the value of it is the highest. IoT in modern distribution systems has experienced a data stream in abundant from the provider to the customer equipment. In a traditional sense, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems penetrate deep into the networks. 

By making, the recognition of data use case vital to enhance the working of the system, rather than confusing network-related operations, the energy distribution network becomes more complicated with development. For investments in new technology to translate data into usable insights still faces hindrances due to upfront costs, time commitments, lack of skills and concerns related to cybersecurity added with the challenges posed by the integration of legacy systems. By quantifying the benefits, roadmap, architecture, and risk mitigation strategies, addressing concerns related to IT/OT integration is easier. 

The only way utilities can realize the unprecedented cost is by defining a clear path towards integration. Similarly, in case of outage management, distributed energy generation (DEG), and asset management can be handled by operational efficiencies. 

Optimizing outage management

The issue that tops the list of concerns among utility providers is unplanned outage management. A region's landscape and geography contribute a significant share to the complexities of managing these issues. It allows a great deal of scope for a technologically assisted working of power network performance, and the ability to accurately pinpoint and respond to failures. 

Smart metering that is integrated by IT/OT provides near to real-time status of any unplanned outages, helping the improvement of fault identification feature. This feature can be especially important during outages across the radial perimeter in remote areas. 

An efficiently managed unplanned outage will result in a reduction of end-users downtime affecting a positive change in the opinion of the community and increases the reliability quotient among customers. The efficient management practices during unplanned outages also reduce the lost productivity among businesses. 

The usage of intelligent systems can assist in the quick regaining of the outages in an unplanned situation. These devices have the capacity to isolate the faults, after detection and restore the supply promptly, all while selecting the crew to handle the physical damages that occurred in the fault proximity. 

Integration Of Distributed Generation

The newfound reliance of the Distributed Generation (DG) in a survey by Accenture has reported a 15 percent increase in residential PV systems. To support DG, advanced operational systems are necessary; it avoids expensive network reinforcement to support power generation in varied forms. 

To manage DG locally and minimize the augmentation costs, IT/OT integration in smart devices like intelligent inverters should be employed. These smart inverters enable flexibility in the grid by monitoring and controlling the DG output to maintain the stability of the network and power quality as a response to real-time changes that occur in the demands. 

Advanced Asset Management

On a fundamental basis, IoT encourages the effective incorporation of data into network planning, gradually moving on to holistic network monitoring. 

A conventional asset management scenario has always been plagued with average quality practical data. While estimating a grid’s health and performance, hypothetical analysis and trend-based modeling are often employed to provide insightful decisions. The guesswork results in the provision of inaccurate outcomes of asset operations, especially in changing network conditions. 

The real-time data provided by IoT will allow the up-to-the-minute monitoring of asset health. The enhancement in the performance to facilitate predicted outcomes based on decisions taken is also identified.

Cybersecurity: Frontier For Utilities

IoT and SCADA have presented benefits comprising enhanced performance and cost reduction, and have also brought with it the ingredients to build an assorted cybersecurity strategy for implementation. With the upgrades in cyber attack preventive methods, the resolution of the crimes is taking less time than before. Arguments suggest utility providers avoid innovation entirely as it poses a more significant risk. With lesser innovation, organizational siloes are maintained around technology, operations, and infrastructure. By looking forward to developing IT/OT based technologies to increase operational efficiency and avail sought-after, bottom-line benefits. 

As technology provides unprecedented benefits, the utility companies across the globe have a profound opportunity to overhaul the provision of energy.

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