Week in smart metering - IoT to bring benefits for all

Growth of connected devices will reach several billion in the next decade, writes Amy Ryan, deputy editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 01 Jun 2016

There seems to be a never-ending stream of forecasts pointing to the growth of connected devices. A recent Navigant Research report indicated that the residential Internet of Things (IoT) market is expected to grow from US$26.5bn in 2016 to US$117.3bn in 2026.

These IoT devices - connected lighting, smart appliances, security systems, smart plugs, solar PV systems, and onsite energy storage systems are designed to automate consumers’ homes, boost energy efficiency, enhance comfort and security.

But surely consumers can’t have all the fun?

There are plenty of connected devices including smart meters and battery storage which promise to deliver a multitude of benefits to both the consumer and utility. A Deutsche Telekom report entitled, ‘How To Create Growth From The Connected Home’, suggests that utilities consider following the example of telcos by offering appliances on a subsidised basis, employing demand disaggregation technology and smart meters.

This would enable utilities to provide flat rate energy charges, thereby providing greater differentiation, realising new revenues, increasing customer loyalty and improving customer retention.

One technology, or phenomenon, that I’m particularly excited about is around the advent of electric vehicles and the impact it could have on the electric grid. Last year, Pacific, Gas and Electric partnered up with BMW in a pilot project to test the ability of electric vehicle batteries to provide valuable services to the electric grid.

Just recently, ENEL and Nissan announced plans to launch a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial project reported to be the first of its kind in the UK.

You can read more about these developments in the upcoming edition of Metering & Smart Energy International.

More from Metering & Smart Energy International

BMW South Africa has unveiled its first solar carport that can be used to charge electric and plug-in vehicles. According to a company release, the BMW "i solar carport" supplies an average 3.6KW of solar power at peak on a clear sunny day. [BMW South Africa introduces solar carport for EVs]. The BMW "i Wallbox" is also used to show a live stream of how much power is being generated by the sun and charge electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models.

Tel Aviv is reported to be testing its first electric road that could be used to charge electric cars as they drive. ElectRoad is a start-up company which at its inception was aimed at being the enabler of large scale adoption of pure electric buses, with its target being public transportation within cities facilitated by a dynamic wireless electrification system for urban transportation. [Tel Aviv to test its first smart road]. The firm says that its technology charges vehicles via cordless power transfers as they drive. The trial will also establish how the technology lasts over time.

Global Power Conversion Systems (PCS) company Nidec ASI partnered with German utility STEAG to construct a 90MW energy storage plant in Lünen town in Germany. In a press statement, the Italian based PCS solutions provider said it has started the development of the system for a secure and efficient storage and conversion of power generated from renewable energy sources into the grid. [German utility begins energy storage project with Italian firm]. The plant will consists of Nidec ASI’s energy conversion technologies and LG Chem batteries and is part of the utility’s effort to stabilise the grid by providing TSOs with backup power generated from renewable energy sources. 

Tech firm MicroTech Industries has kick-started the deployment of a smart metering pilot for a private housing society in Lahore, Pakistan. In a press statement, the diversified technology firm said it is installing 3-Phase whole current and LT Type CT operated as well as prepayment smart energy meters. The smart prepayment energy meters will enable pay-as-you-go metering and billing, facilitating the end user with credit management features. [MicroTech begins AMI pilot in Pakistan].The installed meters have a load connection/ disconnection feature for automatic load management.

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