Smart Renewables Rely on Sensors and Remote Monitoring

 

The growing adoption of distributed power generation is prompting utilities to digitize and make use of intelligent operations and planning.

According to Black & Veatch’s “Smart Cities and Utility Report,” utilities rank improving reliability, integrating distributed energy resources (DERs), and improving both efficiencies and analytics (tied) as the top three challenges facing distribution systems today, underscoring the need for upgrades that will address those issues.

Utilities, realizing the need to integrate DERs into the mix of energy generation methods, are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT), using advanced communications networks, sensors and remote monitoring capabilities to see what’s happening in real time, and respond quicker, according to power-eng.com. Through the integration of communications, technology and data analytics, utilities can make intelligent decisions and use automation to become more efficient. Overall, lessening disruption while enhancing optimization, reliability, security and safety.

According to Black & Veatch’s report, one-third of utilities plan to implement advanced metering infrastructure. Thirty percent expect to put in place a distributed energy resources management system, with an equal percentage looking at outage management systems. Twenty-eight percent are considering new modeling tools for distribution planning.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 80% are planning to add smart assets as a critical component of their repair/replacement programs.
  • Of that number, 41% plan to add smart assets in critical areas guided by cost/benefit analysis
  • 25% are looking at deploying smart assets as part of a coordinated data monitoring strategy, linked to asset life cycle plans
  • 22% say they will implement smart infrastructure projects as existing assets are retired
  • 17% are planning for wholesale replacement of existing assets with smart assets
  • 20% of respondents are not including smart infrastructure implementation as part of their repair/replacement programs or capital plans

 

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