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How IoT Is Powering The Energy Industry

IoT is making this happen now! For this, all energy equipment of the future will need to have system-on-chip technologies. Integrating energy, automation and software with connectivity promotes greater energy and process optimisation

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What water is to living beings, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy is for modern civilization. With megatrends like urbanisation, digitalisation and industrialisation reaching its peak, energy demand is slated to double in the next few decades. The challenge in such a scenario is the impact on climate, which is already evident due to the growing energy demands. To maintain a balance between growth and environmental protection it is crucial to curb carbon emissions by 50% - this is possible if energy efficiency increases four times.  

This is where achieving seamless connectivity through digitisation is playing a critical role across industries. Internet of Things (IoT), refers to a network of physical devices - electrical infrastructure, buildings, vehicles, etc. - embedded with software, sensors, electronics and network connectivity, enabling objects to collect and exchange data by being sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure. It is a disruptive technology which is leading to unprecedented innovation in the energy segment as well. Leveraging IoT in the energy space can lead to improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefits.

Electricity is ubiquitous today and responsible for powering almost everything around our lives : homes, cars, work devices, gadgets and entertainment options, among others. Hence, energy needs to be distributed and connected more easily, efficiently and inexpensively. With 50 billion devices expected to be connected by 2020, demand is huge. However, as per a recent report by IEA, the potential for energy efficiency is immense in key segments like Buildings, Industries, Data Centre and Grid. The reports states that there is an efficiency opportunity of 58% in industry, 79% in infrastructure and 82% in buildings and data centres. Bridging this gap is only possible through convergence of operational technology and information technology can drive energy efficiency.

IoT is making this happen now! For this, all energy equipment of the future will need to have system-on-chip technologies. Integrating energy, automation and software with connectivity promotes greater energy and process optimisation. Thereby, integration of Smart Grids, distributed generation and efficient demand can drive the new distributed and connected plant-to-plug ecosystem ensuring smart electricity. Moreover, the smart electrical equipment and systems combine to deliver electricity to customers' doorsteps. When integrated via suitable ICT-based applications, smart electrical equipment and systems result in an intelligent distribution network, controlled remotely. Here, Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure™ Grid offers benefits such as lowering energy losses, maximising electrical systems' uptime, offering robust power quality, limiting overall energy usage and reducing users' electricity bills.

As the IoT is at the centre of this energy efficiency transformation, leading utility companies are investing billions to drive returns that include overall equipment effectiveness, lower cost of quality and compliance, better customer services and increased return on innovation. The new electricity ecosystem will be bi-directional between smart supply and smart demand benefitting energy producers, distributors and customers. As things stand, the IoT is an ongoing journey with benefits to be leveraged for enhancing productivity and efficiency.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Prakash Chandraker

The author is Vice President & Managing Director - Energy Business, Schneider Electric

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