By: Kevin Williams
Categories: Cool Tech
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.
The IoT is forecast to add $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030, and the market for digital devices that enable the IoE is likely to grow to $89.4 billion by 2030. Smart sensor networks are relatively inexpensive so they can be broadly deployed at scale resulting in a tremendous amount of data which can be analyzed to reveal ways to optimize grid efficiency.
There are many ways that the IoE can lead to benefits such as increased efficiencies, money savings, and reduced waste. For example, General Electric is using the IoE to augment its operations by using sensors to collect data from its equipment. It then feeds the information into its asset performance management software to be analyzed.
This process allows GE to monitor all its equipment in real-time. As a result, it has realized benefits such as a five percent reduction in unplanned downtime, a 75 percent reduction in false-positives for faulty machinery, and a 25 percent reduction in maintenance costs. All of this goes to increasing the company’s overall productivity and profitability
GE also uses IoE technology to increase its customers' profitability by enabling them to use weather data, energy market pricing data, and many other data points to optimize the efficiency of their business operations. Ganesh Bell, GE’s chief digital officer, says "When we start monitoring all these assets and collecting all the data (we) unlock huge value…"
However, the advantages of IoE technology aren’t limited to large manufacturers. Long-tail solar companies, utilities, and private individuals can benefit from it as well. 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.
Solar companies are using the IoE to increase service offerings and reach new markets. For example, Chilean solar company Amigo Solar is leveraging a Solar Electricity Network Platform to create microgrids powered by renewable energy systems for homes, businesses, and industrial plants as well as many other applications. The system is driven by a behind-the- meter intelligent energy storage system that ensures consistent uptime and allows the company to analyze customer usage data to offer more personalized service options.
Finally, an example of how the IoE works for energy consumers is a system that combines a microgrid, intelligent energy storage, renewable energy generation, and smart devices. This system can be programmed to run only when energy is cheapest or when you’ve stored a surplus of energy in your intelligent energy storage system. As a result, you can minimize or virtually eliminate your energy costs while dramatically reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.
The IoE is an exciting new frontier in the development of the IoT. Implementing IoE technology will yield opportunities and efficiencies in our grid and electrical power systems that weren’t possible before. The results will be beneficial for all participants in the energy market.