Internet of Things Solutions for the Future Grid

IoT will help utilities address global grid digitisation demands and harness opportunities.
Published: Fri 04 Dec 2015

Renewable integration on the grid, dynamic demand balancing and distributed generation demands digitisation of the grid. In particular, the digitisation of the substation forms the cornerstone of the intelligent power grid as it enables and supports the aforementioned trends and facilitates infrastructure optimisation.

IoT enhancing interactions

IOT technologies are providing utilities with increased visibility into their operations, thereby enabling the efficient identification of problems.

IoT gives utilities the means to communicate with various assets in the field, saving them both time and money. A good example of this in action is predictive maintenance where utilities are able to respond to issues a lot quicker than before the introduction of IoT. 

Utilities receive a large quantity of data from a number of smart grid sensors, thanks to IoT technologies. To manage, sort, store and secure this tsunami of data effectively, utilities have to employ the latest IT technology.

According to Daniel Sun, product sales manager, Advantech, the typical IoT topology structure is  Instrumented (sensors and actuators), Interconnected (IoT gateway and communication networks) and Intelligent (Big Data analytics, data mining). With smart grid, all assets communicate and respond in real time automatically to improve the reliability and efficiency of the power grid.

Technology is allowing the energy consumer to do a lot more than before. They can access and manage their consumption and energy efficiency levels thanks to intelligent appliances communicating with the smart grid. Rooftop solar panels, which are growing in popularity around the world, are transforming the consumer into a prosumer and electric vehicles are enabling prosumers to store excess clean energy.

IoT is intended to help the energy sector to realise the potential of a digitalised grid. IoT enables the integration of renewable power between microgrids and the central grid, it gives consumers the opportunity to choose from various power sources. For instance, in the Nordic countries, environmentally-aware consumers can opt for renewable energy.

Advantech responds to the need for innovation in energy

It is clear that today’s consumer demands an environmentally friendly, efficient and reliable power service and to achieve this goal, an increasing number of companies are entering the energy market to help create a more innovative smart grid as well as innovative IoT components and solutions.

One such company doing just that is Advantech. The company has been creating solutions around the smart substation to enable visualisation, security and networking. 

According to Prithpal Khajuria, Senior Product Manager, Industrial & Energy Solutions Division, Advantech provides the connectivity and monitoring technologies to manage the large set of assets in the utility operations versus the traditional approach of controlling few points with very limited visibility.

Mr Sun points to the ECU-4784 as a powerful digital gateway. “With the fanless, wide operating temperature and TÜV SÜD IEC-61850-3 certification, ECU-4784 applies its excellent performance in a high EMC environment. Its high mean time between failures and remote maintenance feature helps utilities to build reliable smart substations.”

Now, with Intel processor technology, Advantech has become a leading brand for substation computers, and works closely with top global power automation companies worldwide, he explains. Besides processor technology, Advantech is also using Intel NIC(Network Interface Chipset), AMT---for remote management, VT-D for virtulization and TPM(Trusted Platform Module) for security and IP(Intelligent Property) protection.

When it comes to solar power, whether centralised or distributed, Advantech offers intelligent inverter data concentrators, sensors and data acquisitions, rugged industrial grade Ethernet switches, wireless APs, remote management system and servers with the latest Intel processors. Besides hardware, Advantech also offers a full function Solar Farm Management SCADA system to build up a solution ready package for utilities.

When it comes to wind power, Advantech works alongside turbine manufactures and their product line includes HMI, Ethernet switches, programmable automation controllers, data acquisition modules, data gateway and remote management system and servers. Intel technology empowers Advantech HMI, servers and controllers products, says Mr Sun. “The technology aims at helping wind turbine manufactures to build high quality and competitive products for end users. Advantech also offers wind farm and turbine management SCADA systems.”

In our upcoming webinar, Utilities Embracing IoT to Address Global Grid Digitisation Demands,  with Intel and Advantech, we will explore how the latest IoT approach can help deliver and integrate the digital substation, how standards based components can enable and  retrofit substations, how operational costs and delivery costs can be reduced and the importance of enabling predictive intelligence for the modern grid.

For more information on how Advantech power and energy solutions - underpinned by Intel technologies - for smart substations based on IoT technologies can provide a new way of managing and integrating assets into the intelligent smart grid, register here.

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