how do we control energy consumption and prepare the power grids of the future?
Explanations with Jean-Sébastien Dunand, head of Smart'eo Solution, Engie Ineo Energy management (SCLE SFE)
The financial, environmental and societal costs of energy make it a source of savings, driven forward by two aims adopted by the European Union in June 2018: reduce energy consumption by 32.5 % by 2030, and raise the proportion of renewable sources of energy production to 35%. In parallel, the roll-out of smart technologies has enabled considerable progress in energy efficiency and grid flexibility. This progress is at the heart of the Smart Grid Vendée demonstrator, where Engie Ineo is an active partner. It represents a landmark project for all local economy players. A closer look with Jean-Sébastien Dunand.
How new technologies are helping to reduce energy consumption.
Energy efficiency is one of the key factors in the energy transition. We are re-thinking our uses, changing our habits, optimising energy production and so forth.
This is now much simpler to implement and supervise using digital technologies. To start with, any object, industrial process or building can easily be equipped with a sensor. Using the wireless Internet of Things, there is no need for cumbersome wiring to power the device or communicate with it.
From there, anything is possible: sensor measurements are reported to a secure server and can be consulted in real-time using a computer or any connected device, or they can be broadcast to informative display screens. From any location, it is now possible to monitor energy dashboards and even receive alerts on smartphones in case of deviations. What could be more appropriate to monitor the effectiveness of energy saving actions and make decisions on future actions with full information to hand!
Certain technologies also enable us to control equipment. Depending on their purpose, we can choose to activate or shutdown equipment according to a defined programme.
These new technologies offer access to a highly useful mass of information and deliver the means of using them simply. The energy performance of a process or a building is now (almost) limitless!
What solutions is ENGIE Ineo working on to support the energy and digital transition?
Amongst others, we have developed connected solutions that can monitor and optimise energy performance. We provide our commercial, industrial and local authority clients with Smart’eo, a smart energy management solution. Smart’eo collects energy and utility usage data (electricity, water, natural gas etc.) and environmental data such as temperature and sunlight. It stores this data and delivers it to users through simple, ergonomic dashboards which help them to understand their energy use and act accordingly. The simple fact of knowing and monitoring our consumption can help us make 10% savings*. This can even reach 25% with active control over consumption.
Smart’eo is an open, interoperable solution that is compatible with many smart sensors on the market, making the solution extremely versatile. It is possible to track the efficiency of a photovoltaic plant, monitor the operation of public lighting cabinets, view the energy performance of an industrial facility, validate energy commitments on a building or monitor performance indicators as part of an ISO 50001 approach. Our teams can develop the most appropriate solution to each set of issues.
Smart’eo is not reserved for energy specialists. Its ergonomic design, rapid familiarisation and simplicity of use are popular features and make it accessible to any stakeholders. No need to be an expert to build your own performance indicators! Especially when our teams are on hand to support businesses in their energy and digital transition.
How is Smart’eo participating in the Smart Grid Vendée project and the development of future grids?
The aim of this immense, département-wide demonstrator launched in 2013 (and still unique in Europe) is to adapt energy production and consumption to the needs of the grid. It covers 120 public buildings, 7 drinking water plants, 1,000 street lights, 5 wind farms, 48 photovoltaic plants and 5 source stations. To contribute to the flexibility of the grid, an original Smart’eo function was developed specifically as part of the Smart Grid Vendée project. It enables direct action on equipment to control electrical power consumption, using data collected and performance indicators for all public buildings and street lights. If the grid is subject to high power use, a command will be sent to building and lights to reduce their consumption for a given time. This is the principle of demand-response. As part of the Smart Grid Vendée project, the total consumption balanced by ENGIE Ineo in winter 2017-2018 represents 2.3 MWh. On average, a French family consumes 2.3 MWh in 6 months.
Outside of large scale projects like Smart Grid Vendée, the future is bright for solutions like Smart’eo. Recent regulations are inciting businesses to look at their habits: an energy audit is now mandatory for businesses with over 250 employees every four years** unless they install a solution like Smart’eo. More generally, it seems indispensable that energy consumption data be made available to all users, so that they can understand their own habits and discover sources of savings that on a larger scale, will help build a sustainable future.