Engerati round-up: Smart cities, smart energy and energy regulation


Driven by the rapid growth in urbanization and energy demand, the aim is to replicate on a large scale incremental investments that have been made in smart solutions in cities. There is skepticism such an ambitious vision will be realized, given the huge infrastructural challenges facing India. However, Cisco sees huge opportunity and is currently working with 14 of the participating cities and hopes to significantly grow that number as additional cities are identified and join the initiative. [Connecting the Smart India]

Smart energy tech and EV adoption

When Elon Musk gave notice of Tesla’s intention to acquire SolarCity, he indicated that a new innovative and “aesthetically beautiful” rooftop solar product would be forthcoming. That has now been revealed to be a glass tile concept, which is available in four different designs – and add a second generation Tesla Powerwall battery (announced at the same time, along with the new Powerpack) and a Tesla EV in the driveway and Musk’s vision will be complete. [The beautiful solar roof] Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating and while the tile concept isn’t new, it so far hasn’t taken off in a big way. For one thing, the efficiency has been an issue. Musk promises the solar roof will among other things “… have an installed cost less than the cost of a normal roof plus electricity.”

Smart grid management

Digitalization is impacting the energy sector in many ways. One of these is improving asset management and maintenance enabling a shift to condition based maintenance and the avoidance of unplanned equipment failures. Ontario municipal utility PowerStream has adopted this course, with OSIsoft’s PI System as part of the implementation of a new Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). [PowerStream – digitalization improves operational efficiency] “The goal was to enable us to improve reliability by performing the right maintenance at the right time with the right resources,” said Vince Polsoni, PowerStream’s Station Sustainment Manager, in an Engerati interview.

Energy market regulation

The deregulation of Japan’s energy sector was expected to help solve some of the challenges facing the sector by accelerating innovation and bringing down prices. But has it worked? While it is still early days, switching figures remain low and new market entrants are struggling to gain ground. This suggest the government needs to do more to stimulate competition and to ensure fair access to all players. [Too late to save Japan’s deregulation from failure?]