Instrumentation and control
We start our discussion of this chapter’s targets with optimal instrumentation which, when applied to smart energy, refers to smart devices such as sensors and smart meters that gather information about the flow and condition of power and about the condition of equipment within the energy infrastructure.
Implement optimal instrumentation. Thanks to real-time information supplied by smart devices, system operators can predict, diagnose and mitigate issues that might previously have caused an outage or blackout. Examples of energy instrumentation include the deployment of smart meters and distribution system sensors.
Smart meters, which are installed on homes and businesses, are perhaps the most visible instrument in a smart energy network and certainly the most controversial due to concerns about potential health impacts and privacy. All of which points to the importance of developing an effective citizen engagement strategy long before you start deploying them.
Today there are smart meters for electricity, gas and water. They provide two-way communication between the customer premise and the utility. In the old days meters had to be read manually; smart meters transmit energy usage details directly to the utility. When smart meters are combined with smart thermostats, smart appliances and/or energy management devices, consumers can participate in energy-saving demand response programs where they voluntarily allow the utility to send a signal to the smart meter or other device to temporarily make a modest adjustment in energy usage.
Not only are the smart meters and sensors part of the smart energy network, they are also part of a citywide two-way communications system – that “system of systems” discussed earlier.
Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications. Connectivity allows data collected throughout the smart energy network to be transmitted for analysis and action. For example, connectivity might mean that your smart meters, distribution system sensors and utility are connected through two-way communications.