The Energy Efficiency Directive 2012 (EED 2012) established a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. Under the Directive, all EU countries are required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, from production to final consumption. EED 2012 was transposed into Irish Law under Statutory Instrument 426 of 2014 (SI 426).
Recent news from the UK renewable energy sector suggests that the deployment and use of low carbon energy sources continue to rise, despite a backdrop of declining subsidies designed to support the industry and work towards the country’s wider national carbon reduction targets.
Ian Allan, Head of Research and Development for community heating specialist Switch2 Energy, will discuss the contribution of advanced smart metering to community and district heating projects in a presentation to the All-Energy Conference in Glasgow on Thursday 3 May (15.00 to 16.30).
Ireland is on the cusp of immense change. Recent discussions pondering how we might contribute to the global challenge of meeting the COP21 targets are now resulting in actions and plans which will impact us for generations to come. Political upheaval in our nearest neighbour has created a feeling of uncertainty and capital investment decisions have responded in kind.
This is a time for the country to decide how we will generate and consume energy for years to come, and it is a fantastic opportunity to ensure we make the correct decisions now that will result in a cleaner, more environmentally friendly society in the future.
Engineering professionals will continue to be thought-leaders in this new era and will lend their talents, experiences and voices to a society-wide decision-making process that needs to take in the opinions of all stakeholders.
Outlined below are just some of the policies and societal changes that we will operate within, and from which we can as Engineers provide a significant and positive contribution.
The National Mitigation Plan
On the 19th July 2017, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., published Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan (NMP) in accordance with the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015.
This Act was enacted “to provide for the approval of plans by the Government in relation to climate change for the purpose of pursuing the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy” by the end of the year 2050.
Contained within the NMP are a series of mitigation measures which seek to address the immediate 2020 target challenges and prepare for the EU targets that Ireland will take on for 2030, ultimately laying the foundations for 2050’s deeply decarbonised society which has the following as its long-term vision:
• an aggregate reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 across the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors; and
• in parallel, an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production
A total of 106 actions are included in the final Plan to be implemented across Government in order to advance the national transition agenda in addition to the following key items.
• Robust implementation and oversight arrangements through a High-Level Steering Group, annual progress reports and the Annual Transition Statement to the Oireachtas;
• A commitment to carbon pricing as a long-term core plan of Ireland’s climate mitigation policy mix;
• Financial supports, through SEAI, for housing energy efficiency improvements, social housing energy efficiency upgrades, and Near Zero Energy building (NZEB) standards;
• A commitment to address ‘just transition’ concerns by undertaking a detailed study on the economic and employment implications of the transition;
• Recognition of the relationship between spatial planning and climate change;
• A commitment that all new cars and vans sold in Ireland from 2030 will be zero emission (or zero emission capable);
• Further work, led by the Department of Agriculture, to elaborate on the concept of ‘carbon neutrality’ in the agriculture sector for 2050;
• Work to further investigate the potential role of wetlands to contribute to Ireland’s mitigation objectives, including our EU targets for the next decade ahead.
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has created a significant amount of uncertainty in local markets. Anecdotal evidence abounds of UK companies cancelling purchasing orders due to a freeze on their respective capital expenditure budgets.
Whilst details of how Brexit will impact us from an economic, legislative and personal viewpoint are still conspicuous by the absence, it is widely reported that any products entering and leaving the UK post-Brexit will be accompanied by an associated import and export tax, not currently levied. Exactly how this will affect Ireland’s over-reliance on imported UK natural gas, and the 500MW East West Interconnector (EWIC) remains to be seen.
Interestingly, a recent House of Lords Committee publication in relation to Energy market post-Brexit noted “strong support across the energy industry for the UK to continue to participate in the Internal Energy Market (IEM)” and “existing UK-EU interconnectors benefit all parties, by improving energy security, reducing cost, and facilitating decarbonisation”.
National Development Plan and National Planning Framework
The National Development Plan, due to be launched mid-February, will outline €115 billion worth of capital expenditure plans for the country’s infrastructure, to be spent over the coming ten years. In addition, the National Planning Framework will soon be launched and will inform all planning, infrastructure and spatial strategies over the next twenty-five years.
When implemented, each of these policy objectives will have a significant impact on how travel and interact as a society, and this will have obvious implications for our energy consumption and carbon emissions targets.
The Bus Connects (Transforming City Bus Services) program, driven by the National Transport Authority, is a perfect illustration of the changes and opportunities to come. Using current data and future forecasts, they have estimated the cost of time lost to congestion in the Dublin region alone will exceed €2 billion per annum by the year 2033.
To prevent this, plans are presently being developed to improve the road and bus infrastructure in the region that will ultimately result in a faster journey times, an extended, more user-friendly network and cleaner, environmentally friendly vehicles.
There are a number of changes happening in the coming months and years that will have a lasting effect for generations. There is an opportunity for us all as citizens of this planet to adapt to these changes and adopt new behaviours and technologies that will ultimately benefit us all.
From an engineering standpoint, we can help drive this change and shape our futures. By working together, increased collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas will speed up the learning curves and lead to greater innovations – as the proverb goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
(Further information available at: http://hub.resourceadvisor.com/aem)
The MeshGrid Ecosystem: Short-Circuiting the Century-Old Power Industry
by Dominic Barbato, Strategy Director, Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services
For more than 100 years, perhaps with the exception of deregulation, the core business model of the global electric power industry has remained largely unchanged. In this business model, centralized electricity generation is transmitted and distributed over power lines to end consumers in what can be characterized as a uni-directional flow. More recently, the proliferation of renewables and other distributed energy resources (DERs) has begun to test many of the long-standing assumptions underpinning this business model and is driving innovation as prosumers (producing-consumers) seek to monetize the flexibility of their DERs using bi-directional power flows.
In the future, countless DERs of all sizes and varieties, accelerated by rapidly advancing technology, will create new opportunities for prosumers to optimize and monetize their grid-enabled, responsive resources (GERRs) in a multi-lateral, peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace.
The existing electric grid: impressive but inefficient
Without a doubt, today’s electricity grid is the largest and most complex machine in the world. Flying over a city at night gives one an appreciation for just how sprawling and interconnected this modern marvel is in reality. One can think of nearly every twinkling light on the ground below as an asset connected to the grid ecosystem.
What is truly amazing to consider is these lights represent only a small subset of the many assets connected to the electric grid at any given point in time. In a very simplistic manner, lights serve as markers reminding us of the complex, interconnected network of assets, or nodes, within the grid system. While any individual node (n) is small in relation to the overall network, each has properties which contribute to the operational stability and financial composition of the system.
Robert Metcalfe, electrical engineer and co-inventor of Ethernet, theorized that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected nodes (n2) in the system.1 Other similar hypothesis have been proposed as well (for example, n log(n)).2
Regardless of the maths, most would agree with the “network effect”: that the value of a network increases as more nodes are added. This same principle holds in energy grids, such that the number of connected nodes increases the inherent value of the overall network.
The modern power grid can be thought of as more than just a machine, but rather a superorganism of sorts, a complex adaptive system or swarm intelligence that must continually reorient and optimize itself to account for the collective behaviour of individual, autonomous nodes in order to achieve balance in real time and avoid failure.
To date, grid optimization has been provided largely by central operators. However, the tools used to achieve this balance are relatively clumsy, like a surgeon performing an operation with a sword instead of a scalpel. Large, centrally controlled assets are sub-optimal to provide the speed and accuracy required to affect the continuous balancing of supply and demand-side assets in a grid ecosystem, especially in a world of ever-increasing DERs. To achieve this balance, excess (and often expensive) generation capacity, coupled with specialized resources like spinning and synchronous reserves, is necessary.
The disruptive power of innovation
Many questions arise as we look to the future of the electric grid.
What will the grid of today look like tomorrow? Is there a better, more cost effective and reliable way to operate grid ecosystems? Could a power grid function without a central operator? How will advancing technology change the landscape? Is the value of the grid shared equitably among participants?
We are entering a period of unprecedented innovation. The cost of technology continues to decline rapidly while its capabilities in terms of compute, storage, and bandwidth are improving exponentially. Tiny, low-cost, high-powered and communications-enabled microchips are becoming embedded in everything around us, which will lead to ever-increasing asset interconnectivity as the internet of things (IoT) takes root. Theoretically, what this means for the power industry is that any asset physically connected to the electric grid with onboard communications and computing capability is an autonomous node that could respond to a command signal. Such assets can be thought of as GERRs.
GERRs differ from the current definition of DERs in that while all DERs are decentralized, GERRs are also intelligent, communicative and controllable, and thereby able to be coordinated in a way that benefits the overall grid ecosystem and resource owners.
Similarly, rapid improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the ability to apply AI to synthesize “big data” are creating opportunities to optimize autonomous assets in a fast and accurate manner.
Further, new and rapidly improving distributed ledger technologies such as blockchains, Tangles, Hashgraph algorithms and others are enabling value exchange (i.e. energy for money) in a transactional efficient manner without central oversight. This means one day soon, a node in a network will be able to exchange value with another node in the network quickly, securely, at an exceptionally low cost and with no third-party intermediary.
Just as important as technology innovation, business model innovation is occurring within the power industry. Today, certain end users can sell energy back to the grid through net metering, feed-in-tariffs or other similar structures. But what if an end user wanted to sell electricity to the neighbour next door or bank that energy virtually for future use? It may sound far-fetched, but in fact, these very concepts are being tested in pilot projects around the globe.
Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Uber and others give us a sense for how rapidly business model innovation, leveraged by nascent companies, can disrupt established industries. Airbnb, for example, is the largest provider of lodging-as-a-service, yet it owns no real estate. Similarly, Uber is the largest provider of transportation-as-a-service, yet it owns few vehicles. Two companies, with limited-to-no physical assets, have been able to disrupt established hotel chains and taxi services with business models that deliver greater value to consumers.
These and other drivers are creating an opportunity for P2P economies to emerge within power networks that could enable grid prosumers to monetize the flexibility of their GERRs as they gain greater control, choice and transparency over their energy equations.
Power failure: short-circuiting a 100-year old industry
Herein lies the key to the future of a modern, adaptive grid. The future of electricity is not as a cost centre, but as an asset, and potentially even as a service, to be optimized and monetized as prosumers and innovators seek to recapture an ever-greater portion of the total value chain.
Years ago, the phrase “every company is a tech company” was coined. Forbes summarized it like this: “Every company is a technology company, no matter what product or service it provides. The companies that embrace this fact are the ones that shape our world. Today, no company can make, deliver or market its product efficiently without technology.”3
We are approaching a period where “every company is an energy company”. This declaration gets to the heart of the prosumer movement and the concept of a burgeoning grid superorganism is what Schneider Electric refers to as the MeshGrid™ ecosystem.
Broadly, the MeshGrid ecosystem represents a move from an era of centralized “command and control” to one of decentralized “continuous automated optimization” where the meshing of physical and virtual worlds, coupled with the shift of consumers to prosumers, fundamentally alters the supply-demand relationship as GERRs of the future play a role on both sides of the economic equation.
Futuristic, you say? So was the internet 20 years ago. The question that remains and the one that causes innovators to disrupt industries just like ours: why not?
Contributed by Dominic Barbato, Strategy Director, Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services
1https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/m/metcalfe.htm 2https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/metcalfes-law-is-wrong 3https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/01/23/why-every-company-is-a-technology-company/#746f5b7c57ae
Further information on Meshgrid is available at: http://hub.resourceadvisor.com/aem
Dr. Duncan Child, Head of Programme Management UK
Energy & Sustainable Services, Schneider Electric
ESTA Member PA-Energy LAUNCHES NEW WATER SERVICVES UNIT, PROVIDING VITAL SUPPORT TO COMMERCIAL & PUBLIC SECTOR WATER USERS
This has been established utility service provider PA-Energy, delivering metering, billing, field services and problem resolution
PA-Energy of London is pleased to announce its formal launch today of it’s water services unit. PA-Energy, which has been providing utility services to the Industrial and Commercial (I&C) market since 2003, launched it’s water unit to provide tailored solutions to large water users.
The water unit specialises in supporting water management network at buildings and sites for large industrial, commercial and infrastructure organisations, bringing lower water costs, enabling mandatory reporting and greater efficiencies.
The Company provides sophisticated remote communication data loggers, central data collection systems, automated monitoring, and intelligent analytics. This includes fiscal and submetering, the provision of tenant billing data, leak detection and data export to aM&T. The Water Unit also offers water consumption specialist consultancy and on-site services to ensure clients receive the highest quality support and advice aimed at reviewing water supply contracts, and providing guidance on tenant billing arrangements and charges relating to water and sewerage usage, highways drainage and trade effluent.
With a focus on large industrial, commercial, healthcare and infrastructure sites such as ports, airports, hospitals, offices, etc, PA-Energy partners with its clients to reduce their costs and the management overhead required to keep sites and buildings running smoothly and costs down.
Percy Albuquerque, Technical Director of PA-Energy, says, “We have years of experience and a high quality client base in the public sector and blue chip companies who trust us with their sites. Our clients often come to us through word of mouth or because no-one else has been able to fix their problem. We go the extra mile in providing you with the best package of technology and services. We are independent and so can use the best technology for your situation. We also get on-site and do the work when we say so. “
PA-Energy brings large water users resolutions to problems, and optimisation to lower costs.
Older heat networks may lag behind newer systems when it comes to efficiency, but there are some simple steps that housing managers can take to improve operation and reliability, says Steve Coates, Head of Heat Networks for Switch2 Energy.
It’s been 15 years since the idea of Digital Energy Solutions was born with the incorporation of its parent company Information Prophets. Over that time period we have had a number of images, from i-prophets energy services to digitalenergy.
Throughout every transition we have remained true to our core, delivering high quality Energy Management Software with a user-friendly interface.
The move to Digital Energy Solutions stays with this, we still offer the digitalenergy professional platform, either as a packaged solution with metering products or consultancy services for management and compliance, or as an end user license to be used by others. Where there is a need for a white-labelled software solution our sister company Cloud Energy Software leads the discussion.
Cloud Energy Software was formed within the group in 2016 to expand the development team to enable the offer of client specified solutions built around the Senectra framework, as is digitalenergy professional.
Without a development team within the operational structure, Digital Energy Solutions could focus on; yes you guessed it, solutions!
We have launched our new website at www.digitalenergy.solutions to showcase our offers, show our focussed segments and promote our case studies.
The digitalenergy professional platform monitors over 10,000 meter points daily across a variety of clients and is our core monitoring system solution. We are now also a TCS ION Specialist Energy Partner; extending our offer to be able to provide monitoring as a managed service through a dedicated command centre with an outcome based approach. The partnership with Tata Consultancy Services expands our reach into clients without sufficient in-house resource or with multiple sites spread across the UK, Europe or further afield.
Strategic partnering is part of our approach in Digital Energy Solutions; we are also a Specialist Energy Partner for Carlo Gavazzi, enabling us to offer a fully automatic monitoring and targeting system. Since our partnership began we have installed sub-metering solutions in a number of well-known commercial and industrial companies.
Our solution approach does not stop with technology; we also have the expertise to use information and provide associated services to include carbon compliance, standards implementation and education.
We have supported clients through the Carbon Reduction Commitment since its inception and will continue to do so until its demise or replacement. We await with anticipation the outcome of the simplified energy and carbon reporting consultation, and we are certain that our systems, processes and expertise will enable us to support whatever that outcome is.
We are also Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) lead auditors, able to offer the management services for full compliance in phase two and detailed site surveys to BS16247.
ESOS is in its second phase with a deadline of 5 December 2019 for compliance. If you participated in phase one and did not consider any value gained from it a conversation with Digital Energy Solutions is a must. Compliance should not be seen as a burden but an opportunity.
For a more concise approach to Energy Management and full ESOS compliance Digital Energy Solutions are a BSI Association Consultant, able to offer a full or part ISO50001 gap analysis, full implementation and audit. Being a BSI ACP we also have partners that can offer a fully integrated management system.
We are also partnering with TEST Consulting who have developed a program called Continuum. The process goes beyond traditional education and training to align with ISO 50001 principles for continual improvement, with a particular emphasis on your building energy efficiency, the plant and processes that take place within the building and how these evolve over time with internal and external changes.
What makes Continuum so effective is a combination of detailed audits, advanced monitoring software and strong input from internal stakeholders. It arms stakeholders with the tools to identify problem areas so they can then offer practical suggestions based on their valuable knowledge of how your business works. This is often achieved through an Energy Kaizen.
Bill Management and Validation is a relative new product and service from Digital Energy Solutions, over the past four years we have been carefully developing software tools and internal process delivery to provide a concise set of solutions.
There is an energy solution for every business from simple bill management to more detailed monitoring and targeting of energy use. Digital Energy Solutions can provide services tailored to meet your objectives, be that cost reduction, standards implementation or management of compliance.
“Making any business energy efficient pays for itself by boosting profitability, ultimately cutting carbon emissions, and so simultaneously ensuring legislative compliance – all aims which can achieve tangible, long-term results for your business. So there are real benefits to be had from bringing in energy management systems to understand and regulate your business’s energy use,” said Richard Hipkiss, CEO of Digital Energy Solutions.
Get your business ready to play its part in meeting energy-saving targets. Contact Digital Energy Solutions on 02476 611738 – ”Your energy is our business”
Press Release Information
Information Prophets from formed in 2003 by Wai Lau whilst studying at Manchester University, the digitalenergy brand was first introduced in 2007 to represent the software solutions. In 2008 digitalenergy won a CiBSE Building performance award for digitalenergy professional, the first fully cloud based energy management solution.
Based in Coventry and Manchester Digital Energy Solutions is led by outgoing ESTA Chairman Richard Hipkiss. For more information or clarifications relating to Digital Energy Solutions please contact Richard Hipkiss.
m: 07809 838437