April 2007
  
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Smart Building to Smart Grid Success Stories at GridWeek
Success Stories at GridWeek

John J. "Jack" Mc Gowan, CEM
Energy Control Inc
.

Contributing Editor

A truly exciting event in the ongoing development of GridWise and Smart Energy Technology will be GridWeek. During the week of April 23 26 the technology leaders will be in Washington, DC to work together on next steps and to communicate to policy makers the importance of this initiative.

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One really exciting part of GridWeek will be a Congressional Reception on April 24 at the Senate Hart Building. This reception will highlight Six Success Stories from Six States that are poster children for the future of GridWise.

Among the exciting stories are smart meter projects from Southern California Edison and Wal-Mart, a New Energy Economics story from IBM and Battelle National Labs, GridWise Interoperability from New Mexico and a Plug-in Hybrid story. These are diverse examples of how technology is being used in a forward looking way to expand energy management beyond the building in ways that bring value on both sides of the meter. A few of these stories will be briefly identified here and you can expect to hear more about them in coming months.

J2 Innovations Smart Metering is an interesting topic that has been of interest to building automation for decades. The topic first caught on with utilities as a way to cut the cost of individually reading every meter by automating part of the process. This initiative has been elevated now to an Advanced Metering Initiative and California is on the forefront of the effort with rules that their commission pass requiring that all meters be capable of providing interval data and that communication links be provided to all customers. This opens up the capability to redefine the way customers make decisions about using electricity and how they are charged for it. Therefore Advanced Metering is an initiative that goes far beyond simply reading the meter and anticipates the provision of energy and possibly non-energy related services through the communication backbone that would be created to the meter. Broadband communications over power line would be a non-energy related service. The California vision of advanced meter focuses on customer-oriented or demand-side solutions. The idea is to create a technology and pricing policy foundation that links customer rates with the market price for energy. More specifically, it seeks to provide customers with information and real capability to better manage their energy bills. Quite simply that sounds a lot like the purpose of early building automation systems that were called energy management systems, but it really is the next generation of convergence blending energy with IT and building applications. Wal Mart will be featured because they are using smart metering with building automation to optimize the energy performance of their stores. The system further provides real time information on energy consumption against baseline and through web services; managers can diagnose issues and execute corrections on line.

Interoperability is a not a new term in the automation world and the project from New Mexico takes this notion of next generation-convergences to its logical conclusion. The projects will implement a Web Service between a major utility and one of its large customers. That customer, a university, has spent $60 million over the last 5 years on a new high efficiency chiller and boiler plant, eight megawatts of combined heat and power systems, campus wide automation and integration for over 100 buildings and campus wide smart metering systems to monitor consumption to a building level. In addition they are rehabing a large thermal storage system that will be charged by solar thermal power, and integrated with an absorption chiller. This is the ultimate integration project because it ties together complex building systems; a central plant with renewable energy systems for heating and cooling and distributed generation, with Web Services for interoperability between automation, metering and energy systems. With all of that integration it creates an exciting opportunity to completely rethink building management. We can already see with the rapid growth of Automated Demand Response that the market, the utilities and the energy users are ready to explore energy control sequences are a more global basis. This is the next frontier for energy and building automation and GridWeek will be the place to glimpse how the future will look and feel.


 

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