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April 13, 2015

Smart Grid Gets Smarter With Analytics Platform

George Leopold

Among the growing set of tools for the emerging smart grid are data analytics platforms designed to provide utilities with a real-time picture of what is happening in the power delivery system. As more renewable energy sources are plugged into the smart grid, analytics is expected to play a larger roll in how utilities integrate these new energy sources to meet daily peak demand.

As utilities look for ways to improve grid reliability and their relationship with ratepayers, companies like AutoGrid Systems have been steadily upgrading their platforms to meet the smart grid requirements of power providers. With that in mind, AutoGrid rolled out version 3.0 of its Energy Data Platform this week.

AutoGrid, Redwood City, Calif., also announced Monday (April 13) that E.ON, a leading power and gas provider, will be among the first utilities to deploy the upgraded energy platform.

Among the enhancements in the latest upgrade are “predictive asset maintenance” features along with customer engagement and other revenue generating applications, AutoGrid said. The upgrades run on top of existing applications covering energy demand response, software-defined power plants and a tool for forecasting energy distribution levels in real time.

AutoGrid also said the upgrade expands support for energy usage forecasting, pattern recognition and other algorithms that use large amounts of streaming data generated by connected grid components. The new platform is rated at more than 500 million data records a minute that can be used to generate more than 100 million forecasts per day running on a medium size compute cluster.

Along with incorporating two-way connectivity standards like Smart Energy Profile 2.0, AutoGrid said the upgraded platform connects with web-based devices like smart thermostats, electric vehicles and EV chargers, batteries, solar inverters and Internet of Things sensors.

It also includes improved visualization capabilities along with support for deployment on private clouds or datacenters.

The upgraded platform comes with an improved data model capable of handling geospatial and temporal queries as well as “what if” analyses as a way to implement predictive control of grid assets. These tools can be used both to monitor grid performance as well a track customer behavior.

The platform leverages petabytes of data to forecast power demand. That capability, AutoGrid asserts, allows utilities and customers to manage power consumption and cost.

The energy analytics firm said E.ON joins a handful of other utilities that have adopted its energy data platform. Other customers include the Bonneville Power Administration, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Austin Energy and Palo Alto Utilities.

E.ON said it would use the upgraded energy platform to manage the “real-time state of our electric grids” while deploying more smart grid applications.

As smart grid deployment gathers momentum and two-way communications standards emerge to connect ratepayers with utilities, the latter is expected to rely more heavily on data analytics platforms to manage their power grids and reach out to customers.

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