IoT Makes a Big Difference in Renewable Energy Transformations

By CIOReview | Monday, November 23, 2015

FREMONT, CA: The Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as crucial factor in the growth of renewable energy sector. It aids businesses and consumers in real-time monitoring of their energy flow, optimize the energy usage and improves energy-saving process, reports Jon Card for The Guardian.

For saving energy, renewable energy companies usually used to make some improvements via mechanical engineering and physics. Managing larger capacities with more physical assets located in widely distributed and remote areas with the current traditional approach might be a critical issue for them.

The next innovation IoT will disrupt the existing system by driving it with data and sensors. It improves the company’s profitability and productivity and scaling operational excellence.

With IoT, massive volume of data can be collected and analyzed which is used for better prediction and controlling of the energy usage. IoT enables connected smart devices to process information that helps in taking immediate actions and planning the provisions for variable resources. It can perform power management tasks with faster response times while prioritizing usage and saving energy.

Leveraging IoT, operators will have the transparency and visibility to monitor and analyze the flow of energy and two-way communication with consumer’s smart meters to analyze consumption patterns. Smart IoT devices deliver energy safely and economically and will manage distribution of energy based on real-time data and situational awareness.

In the article that has been published in collaboration with DNV GL, Card notes that there are five big developments to watch out for in the energy sector:

IoT as the Key Driving Factor for Energy Efficiency

Traditionally consumers are buying energy from companies created in big centralized power stations. Leveraging data and online platforms, companies can create smarter business models to democratize energy use. It allows consumers to decide which energy system they want.

Such companies want to create what the article describes as “an internet of energy” where millions of consumers and small businesses are able to trade online their energy production and consumption and sell off unused energy. This enables in lowering the costs, reducing environmental impact and greater reliability of supply.

Super grids

As renewable are more effective across larger network, a super grid is coming into existence. It is a wide area transmission network that makes it possible to trade high volumes of electricity across great distances. Here multiple countries are connected via high-voltage DC lines (HVDC) in a mesh-like system. It helps to mitigate the variability of supply.

Solar-powered wearables

The IoT relies on the use of millions of sensors built in household items and clothing. It delivers data about human experience used to make new inventions. Solar-powered cells used to power sensors can turn only half the power collected by it into electricity.

Researchers at MIT have created a ultra-low power circuit which converts roughly 80% of captured energy directly into electricity that can power devices and charge a battery. Researchers said that their chip can allow users to operate ultra-low-power IoT devices via energy harvesting without a need for replacing or recharging the battery.

Managing Load Variations

One of the issues with power grids is that there are huge spikes in demand at key times. But as more power devices are added to grids it is key that these spikes aren’t accentuated and Big Data is seen as a solution to balance out this demand. For instance, consider the case of charging the electric cars in peak demand times. IoT enables smart charging, where data is used to charge the electric cars in least time.

The Evolution of Energy Consumption

IoT changes the way users interact with the energy systems and allow them to rethink how they use renewable energy to make it more effective. People can buy solar panels, storage batteries and other green devices treating as a better investment in saving energy.