The Future of the Electricity Grid - Automated Demand Response and Peak Tracking
The expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative to allow smaller facilities to participate will eventually open up a whole new world of energy savings in Ontario. Larger facilities operating heavy machinery typically have an operator who is tasked with shutting down loads for curtailment. Smaller companies who participate in this program may not find it cost effective to spend employee time on such a trivial task - this is where automation will come in.
Historically, enterprise decisions have been heavily influenced by key performance indicators that communicate valuable financial and non-financial information to the internal and external stakeholders of an organization. Businesses have identified the need to control expenses and have made energy savings a priority - one of the best strategies right now is to participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative as a Class A customer.
The answer to reducing energy costs lies in technological advancements leading to well-informed, time-sensitive decisions. Class A customers in Ontario wary of global adjustment and aiming to reduce their peak demand factor turn to automation solutions for their respective processes to be aligned with the necessary energy management objectives. Businesses in the commercial and industrial sectors must turn to predictive engineering analytics with respect to environment and economic data that tends to drive operational decisions.
Reliable forecasting information used for scheduling and operations management is enabled by model based-design. Control systems created for applications such as motion control and HVAC systems can be monitored and controlled using a human machine interface displaying the designed graphical user interface (GUI) dashboard. The industrial hierarchy provides operators or plant managers with a visual of the levels within an industrial network and the functions of those levels explains how automation can be achieved. Devices within the network are dependent on the control strategies the enterprise requires to maintain supervisory control of the process. Acquisition of data and real-time communications with fieldbus devices (hardware) can be made using MATLAB & Simulink software.
OpenADR is a very similar program that is used for dispatch-able demand response.
Reliability, availability, and efficiency are characteristics the Smart Grid delivers to the producers and consumers within it. The benefits associated with the Smart Grid include:
More efficient transmission of electricity and higher grid reliability.
Reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and lower power costs for consumers.
Reduced peak demand, effectively lowering electricity rates.
Renewable energy generation and distribution.
Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances.
Improved security. (1)
By considering the facility profile, techniques such as demand shedding, fixed start-stop, optimized start-stop, optimized outside air control, and duty cycling are evaluated, thus providing a forecast of seasonal demand. OpenADR incorporates the use of web based building/facility automation systems using developed energy codes meant to provide guidelines and legitimate methods of improved performance and savings. For example, Building Loads Analysis and Systems Thermodynamics (BLAST) can be used to investigate the energy performance of retrofit building design options AND the information can be used to decide when to curtail energy load for a specific kind of building or load.
The conclusion is that the future of energy management for peak reduction will be 100% automated for smaller facilities and eventually may fully automated for all facilities and large buildings.