Energy and Utilites
The energy sector is undergoing a comprehensive transformation. Climate change and a drive toward decarbonisation require dramatic changes to the energy grid. The modern energy grid must enable a widespread adoption of renewable energy, dynamic energy flows in which many consumers can also be producers, surging demand for electric vehicles and chargers, resilience in the face of geopolitical shocks and changing energy suppliers, and demand management through dynamic pricing and provision of detailed data and energy management capabilities to consumers.
The following “Industry Spotlight Use Cases” sections are curated based on comprehensive surveys conducted by IDC in 2023, targeting market and industry professionals across Europe. The examples accompanying each spotlight use case category are derived from use cases executed by the Research and Innovation Action teams within the EUCloudEdgeIoT community. As research progresses, we will continue to update this information to reflect the latest findings and developments.
Spotlight use case categories
Power utilities are enabling energy transformation by deploying smart grids. Smart grid is a use case category in which utilities use field devices to control and optimize (e.g.) power flow, respond to variable demand, manage renewable energy production from consumers and independent producers, shift peak demand through variable pricing, and detect and respond to faults. It increases the reliability of the infrastructure, increases efficiency and reduces energy usage. it promises tremendous benefits to the energy sector and to the wider European economy and society. With the more comprehensive modernisation of energy grids toward smart grids, Europe will gain a more reliable and resilient energy supply, incorporate renewables, manage the transition to electric vehicles, reduce carbon emissions, and shift peaks in demand to reduce overall infrastructure needs. The smart grid use-case category includes one of the most widely known IoT use cases, smart metering, which accounts for tens of millions of connected devices in Europe. Smart metering allows consumers to monitor and manage energy usage at a granular level and to respond to price signals to reduce peaks in demand. According to UNLOCK-CEI survey, 54% of energy respondents reported using smart metering. Furthermore, beyond smart metering, the smart grid also includes more advanced features and technologies that require substantial investment and innovation over the next several years. As a widely distributed system, a smart grid incorporates a large number of sensors and control systems throughout the network. This category includes technology components for IEDs, phasor measurement units, power line sensors, RTUs, and smart thermostats. Management of the overall grid requires centralised computing resources, while the distributed components require a variety of edge gateways and other infrastructure.
- Smart meters
- Smart appliances and thermostats
- Renewable energy systems (solar, wind, other)
- Smart home management systems for flexible energy management; smart building systems
- Grid management systems
- EV charging systems
- Renewable energy systems
Smart Grid Flexibility, Smart Mobility
This use case will combine multiple smart meters, RES and photovoltaic cell controllers, energy customers (i.e. Buildings and offices), Medium/Low Voltage (MV/LV) substations, Electric Vehicles (EV) and EV chargers.
Objectives and expected benefits
Deal with TSN and several thousand nodes using the CMDT concept
Validate Twin Green Clouds infrastructure for micro-services migration in Italy and Germany
Advanced CF-DRL analytics to create models, provide alarms, and predict traffic and parking.
Validate NEMO user acceptance from a citizen viewpoint by utilising the NOVO smart city platform in Terni
With the move toward decarbonization, European economies are shifting toward electric vehicles. To power these vehicles, home chargers increase consumer power demand and change consumption patterns, requiring adaptability from the smart grid. They also can act as batteries to supply the home during peak hours, and to recharge during off-peak periods. Moreover, public charging stations require additional management capabilities supported by CEI technologies. CEI solutions are needed to remotely manage EV charging stations. They can be used to identify users and their vehicles and to manage payments. The chargers also must communicate with the network to report availability, so that users can be directed to available chargers. EV chargers utilize on-device computing resources and sensors, connectivity to the vehicle, as well as connectivity to the cloud for analytics, network management and additional funcitonality.
- Home charging stations
- Smart home energy management systems to integrate EVs, batteries, solar systems, home appliances, smart meters and grid pricing data for optimised usage
- Public charging stations
- Public charger networks
- Routing systems to recommend the nearest available charger
Energy Management and Decision Support System (EMDS)
The Energy Management and Decision Support system (EMDS) use case focuses on the energy consumption in smart homes. Consumers are already investing in smart devices and energy storage to better manage their electricity consumption. Green energy is enabling the transition to smart homes through active participation in and support of ESBN’s SMART meter programme and the installation of solar PV, solar thermal, smart heating controllers and EV chargers through Airtricity Energy Services.
Objectives and expected benefits:
- Support of the distribution network
- Foster uptake in smart, controllable domestic devices
- Can leverage payments for flexible energy usage
Drone based observation
Utilities and other energy companies use drone-based observation to visually observe conditions along powerline networks, pipelines, refineries, oil rigs, and other remote and distributed infrastructure. Using drones allows visual inspection in hard-to-reach locations (e.g. above an oil rig) and in remote locations, such as along thousands of kilometres of powerlines. Using drones sharply reduces labour requirements for periodic checks, allowing more frequent checks at lower cost, increasing resilience and allowing preventative maintenance. It provides significant benefits to the industry in terms of improved maintenance and resilience and reduced costs. According to the UNLOCK-CEI survey, a large share of energy respondents (44%) said they are using drone-based observation. In terms of technology, drones may include automated or remote piloting. As they move beyond the line of site, they may require very good cellular network connectivity, which suggests they are candidates for low-latency 5G networks as those networks are built out more widely. They typically incorporate imagery analysis in central locations using cloud or data centre resources. The drones require onboard computing for navigation, controls, connectivity, and potentially also onboard imagery analysis using AI-based models.
- Automated flight systems
- Automated navigation
- Imagery analysis
- Integration with other management systems to schedule field service workers
Containerised Edge Computing Near Renewable Energy Sources
To allow containerised edge data centre management located directly at energy sources, connected to the smart infrastructure and providing cloud continuity.
Objectives and expected benefits:
- Use case will prove the applicability of aerOS for managing small, edge nodes located directly at energy-producing locations, gathering information and events from the deployed smart devices.
- aerOS will distribute, monitor and relay tasks of stateless processing among a pool of near and far-edge nodes located at ELECT renewable energy premises
- The use of heterogeneous information in the orchestration and scheduling model will boost energy and resource optimisation
- Reduce equity investment in the system