Model microgrids in India and South Africa from Echelon


Michael Anderson,
Senior VP Worldwide
Markets, Echelon
San Jose, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 30, 2012 – Two microgrid deployments in India and South Africa that integrate distributed generation to compensate for disruptions in utility supplied power have been announced by Echelon.

The deployments are built on Echelon’s open standard, multi-application energy control networking platform powered by its Control Operating System (COS) and incorporate application software and services from its respective local partners Grene Robotics in India and Power Meter Technics in South Africa.

A first-of-its-kind in the two countries, the microgrid deployments involve dynamically managing demand and energy supply mix for the Palm Meadows residential community in Hyderabad, India, and the Clearwater Mall retail mall in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Smart microgrids are an ideal way to integrate local generation at the community level and allow for customer participation in the electricity enterprise,” said Michael Anderson, senior vice president of Worldwide Markets for Echelon. “Microgrids sit at the edge of the smart grid and provide real-time analysis, decision making and control. The Palm Meadows and Clearwater Mall deployments … can be replicated worldwide to improve power reliability and to integrate energy efficiency solutions as well as renewable generation.”

Palm Meadows is an 86-acre integrated gated community with 335 homes and residential services. The community ties into the grid at a dedicated substation and sources energy in bulk from the utility. The community also runs diesel generators and will incorporate solar generation in the future. Residences within the community are equipped with Echelon smart meters that connect into data concentrators at distribution transformers and feed near real-time usage information to the Networked Energy Systems (NES) software. Grene Robotics’ Skynet management application automatically turns on local generation if utility delivered power is inadequate. The Skynet software interfaces with the NES system software and creates a bill for the customer. Customers have the option of reducing usage at times when the more expensive energy is being supplied.

Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg is a retail building with more than 240 stores. The microgrid solution, based on PMT’s Meteringonline energy management application, employs Echelon smart meters, data concentrators, and NES software to submeter individual tenant usage, so they can pay only for their actual energy usage rather than the industry norm of paying for energy on a square footage basis. Furthermore, tenants can opt-in to power supplied by local back-up generation when blackouts occur. The Meteringonline application interfaces to Echelon’s system software and reconciles usage with energy source, allocating tariffs based on actual use. The on-demand energy services allow the store owners to manage their energy usage and associated costs and maximize revenues.