Smart metering/power quality

  • Offshore wind park denied

    Energy minister Lord Bourne today announced development consent has been refused for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind park in Dorset.

  • Award winners announced at POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe

    European power companies were recognised for their outstanding industry achievements this week at the Power Engineering International and Peabody awards ceremony during the annual POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe Gala dinner.

  • Substations to facilitate integration of renewables and strengthening of power transmission grid

    ABB, a power and automation technology group, has won a significant order to provide substations and related power infrastructure for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm. ABB will provide power infrastructure for the offshore platform as well as the onshore substation to efficiently integrate the new wind farm into the country’s transmission grid. ABB will also extend an existing substation that will receive the wind power. The wind farm is scheduled for completion in 2018.

  • Powerstar to be virtuous at Sustainability Live 2015

    Powerstar, the voltage optimisation brand will be showcasing the recently launched pioneering energy storage system Powerstar Virtue on stand L20 at Sustainability Live at the NEC from 21–23 April 2015.

  • Metering goes green introducing the new Tri-load renewable distribution load

    Metering is an essential part of building management systems and allows energy managers to understand how much energy a building is using. However, making sense of the data is often difficult with an increasing need to provide greater detail to where the energy is actually being used. Mike Lawrence of Havells outlines how to maximise your sub-metering installations, keeping them compliant and now with the addition of renewable energy, how to future-proof them too.

    There has been an enthusiastic uptake of sub-metering in the UK since legislation was introduced to encourage it (Part L2 of the UK Building Regulations). This is to be applauded and it is satisfying how many are now recognising the benefits that a well-executed sub-metering installation offers. While this is good news and there are many examples of successful sub metering installations, there is now a large enough body of experience and data to ask whether these perceived benefits are actually being achieved and if not, why not, and what kind of equipment can help us do things better?

  • Complete metering solution for the future

    Carlo Gavazzi will be attending this year’s Energy Event at the NEC Birmingham to highlight its range of advanced energy meters, power analysers, energy management software and current transformers for every energy management challenge including MID; boasting one of the largest ranges in the UK.

  • ‘Green’ university opts for energy sub-metering system

    Escot, a clip-on sub-metering system by Marshall-Tufflex Energy Management, is monitoring the energy consumption of Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) Crewe campus in a drive to better inform the facility and its students about energy usage and enable it to further reduce its carbon footprint.

  • Faster metering installation

    Following the launch of its new Memshield 3 MCCB panelboards, Eaton has created a video which demonstrates how the easy-to-fit plug-and-play metering facilities in the new panelboards makes installation up to 9x faster than before.

  • New video demonstrates faster metering Installation in new MCCB panelboards

    Following the launch of its new Memshield 3 MCCB panelboards, Eaton has created a video which demonstrates how the easy-to-fit plug-and-play metering facilities in the new panelboards makes installation up to 9x faster than before.

  • Retrofit L2 metering made easy

     

    A new range of metering units, designed for easy installation on existing supplies or upgrades, helps to provide energy metering to Part L2 of the UK Building Regulations.  Havells’ MMU meter management units comprise a multifunction meter in an IP65 enclosure, with pre-wired split-core current transformers.  The range comprises 125A and 250A units with standard multi-function meters or MID meters.

  • £938m potential benefits of smart metering “results of a worldwide research project”

    “Smart metering installations could cut UK households’ electricity bills by £938M a year,” said Dr Howard Porter, CEO of Beama, welcoming the findings of an independent review of 100 smart meter pilots and rollouts across the world.

    “These savings could be delivered with the current UK specifications - smart metering systems including display devices need to be installed in UK homes as soon as possible,” he added.

    The report identifies the kinds of activities and technology that are needed to maximise the customer and industry energy saving benefits from smart metering. It shows that, if the technology and customer engagement is right, hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by consumers in Britain every year, and that smart meters could make a significant contribution towards achieving EU goals of a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020.

  • New consumer unit range includes landlords’ metering option

    The Homesafe range of domestic consumer units is the first offering in a brand new range of low voltage switchgear products under the Havells brand.

    Homesafe offers all the control and protection configurations that would be expected of a quality switchgear manufacturer. In addition the range includes units with integral MID Approved meters for landlords’ billing applications.  This reflects Havells’ determination to provide UK-specific solutions through innovation and design.

  • Metering - Does your sub distribution measure up?

    Sub and final distribution plays a crucial role in the measurement and control of  energy. It is time for distribution boards to evolve argues Steve Dyson, product manager for Hager

    The whole nature of a commercial electrical installation has changed over the last few years. Just three or four years ago sub metering and the use of control devices or a building management system was a rarity. Not now.

    In the face of growing concern about the environment the government has legislated. Whether or not you agree with this approach, it means that the electrical distribution system has evolved. It is now time for distribution boards to meet these changing needs.

    The most important change came with the changes in Building Regulations in 2006. Part L2 of the Building Regulations for non-domestic buildings states that appropriate metering is included at the design stage so that building operators can monitor where the energy is consumed. It states that the meters and sub meters must account for 90% of the estimated consumption in a building.

    Property owners and tenants must have accurate information about their energy usage. An overall figure does not meet this requirement; the information must show the different areas of consumption. They must be able to say for example how much of the fuel is used for lighting, power, air conditioning and so on. These regulations apply to all new premises with floor areas of 500m2 or greater.

    An ideal solution is sub metering for each type of load. You should also note that the regulations state that separate metering is required for final distribution boards totalling 50kW or more. Most Type B boards exceed this figure when fully loaded.

    Guidance on establishing a metering strategy can be found from CIBSE. The leaflet "TM39:  2006 Building energy metering" is an updated version of the General Information Leaflet "GIL65: Metering energy use in non-domestic buildings".  The latter can be downloaded free of charge from the internet.

    So assuming that the easiest place to provide sub metering is at the distribution board, the installer generally needs to consider using a meter box and whether it offers enough space for fitting any CTs that are used with the meters - sometimes these are placed in separate cableways.

    Such solutions add cost, need extra space and take time to install. The meter box should also complement the distribution board since sub distribution boards are often visible, so aesthetics are important. The whole solution can smack a bit of being an afterthought if you are not careful.

    Most manufacturers will have a suite of products, which will help overcome such problems and it is possible to have custom built boards that incorporate metering. Produced as a special the latter may be an expensive option. I would argue that because sub metering is now such an integral part of most installations, a standard Type B distribution board should now allow metering to be fitted within it.

    Using our new range of Type B distribution boards to illustrate the point, there is enough room next to the incomer to install metering. The metering pack is supplied wired with the appropriate CTs.

    At this point it is worth reflecting on why sub metering is installed - it provides information so that businesses can reduce their energy usage. Regular main meter readings will provide some information about the overall energy consumption, but it reveals little about where energy problems might lie. Installing sub metering will help identify which end use or service is performing well or badly.

    This will enable the operator to take targeted action and then measure the result of that action. Ultimately it should help businesses reduce their energy use and costs. Such thinking also helps to establish where to install sub metering. While we need to achieve the 90%?energy monitoring target, we want to achieve this cost effectively.

    You may expect certain services to consume large amounts of energy, for instance lighting in an office can account for 40% of energy consumption. Certain areas or rooms in a building may also consume large amounts of energy - for instance a computer room in a school. Such judgements help to form the foundations of a metering strategy.

    At this point it is worth referring to the Cibse leaflet TM39. It states metering end-use energy helps:
    - establish the breakdown of energy use within a building i.e. where does it all go?
    - provide a better perspective on building operation
    - identify where energy use is greatest
    - identify what the minor loads are
    - promote a detailed assessment of demand patterns and benchmarking to identify end-uses that are untypically high
    - allow patterns of energy use to be monitored
    - reveal useful trends between, say, day/night, summer/winter, weekday/weekend
    - provide one year moving averages cumulative sum plots comparing actual consumption with targets
    - spot things going wrong before it is too late
    - operators to understand and manage their buildings better, resulting in greater energy savings
    - provide feedback to: building designers; building operators; manufacturers; government and supply side industry on performance achieved, helping them improve performance by setting better targets
    - gain BREEAM credits
    - designers complete the building log book
    - demonstrate compliance with building regulations.

    Of course installing the metering is only part of the story. To be effective the data must be both collected and then acted upon. Sadly it is only too common to see an energy management strategy fail because of this.

    Now it is no longer good enough to simply just have metering. Since the end of last year it is a condition of selling or leasing commercial property that an energy performance certificate is provided - which means data is vital.

    Buildings with poor energy ratings will suffer, as will those that cannot demonstrate good energy performance - whether this is because there is no sub metering or because the data has not been collected.

    To aid collecting the data, meters should have a pulsed output offering remote measurement of kWh or for linking into an energy management system.

    Having measured how and where the energy is being used, the next step is to take targeted action to reduce consumption. In part such action may be behavioural - encouraging people to turn off the lights for instance, but there are also many cost effective solutions that are more effective than the human memory!

    As energy costs rise and the affects of energy performance certificates begin to take hold, action to reduce consumption will become more common. Again, it is at the sub distribution board where  you can take effective action.

    We are finding the use of DIN rail mounted control devices such as time switches, lighting dimmers and twilight switches are becoming increasingly popular.

    Tesco Homeplus stores for instance use a combination of a master keyswitch, digital time switches and photocells to switch luminaires via contactors. The lighting circuits are split so that 40% can be switched on for cleaning and or shelf stacking, with the remaining 60% switched on when the store is open to the public. The photocells will also turn the lighting on or off in response to natural daylight levels from the rooflights.

    More sophisticated control systems also use the final circuits at the distribution board to control electrical consumption. Bus based systems for instance switch loads in response to commands from other devices. Again many of these bus devices can be fitted to DIN rails. The demand for more control devices means the distributions boards must have a range of extension boxes as part of their suite. Ideally they should be modular so that the installer can easily fit them on top, below or on the sides of boards.

    In addition, the more circuits that a board has the finer the level of control available to the designer. It may be that separate lighting circuits are used for those luminaires nearest the windows for instance so that they can be switched or dimmed in response to natural daylight.

    One thing is certain, the demand for metering and energy control is going to increase in the next decade. As one management guru said, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!" 
    The challenge for electrical designers and installers is to help building operators both measure and manage energy consumption. The role of electrical sub distribution is at the heart of this process. It is time for manufacturers to introduce boards that make this job simpler to achieve.

  • Siemens and Landis+Gyr to cooperate on smart metering

    Siemens and Landis+Gyr, a provider of smart metering solutions, have agreed a partnership in order to elaborate common standards. The standards will not only establish interoperability but are intended to give utilities the requisite security for their investments in smart grids.

    Changing needs and growing demands characterise the situation of today's power utilities. Main drivers are fluctuating infeed, the need to integrate distributed energy resources, aging infrastructure, multi directional power flow and a changing legal and regulatory framework - to name a few. One solution to these challenges is the expansion of power supply networks to produce smart grids: "We have a full-scope smart grid portfolio with all the products and systems necessary for such expansion, in addition to that we widen our solution portfolio by working with Landis+Gyr," said Ralf Christian, CEO of the power distribution division of Siemens Energy.

    "As a global market leader in smart metering products and solutions we are pleased we have won Siemens as our partner. Together we will build an interoperable path, which will lead utilities – either directly or in stages - to the realisation of their smart grid visions," said Andreas Umbach, president and chief operating officer of Landis+Gyr.

  • Metering – Making the smart move

    With energy efficiency high on the Coalition’s agenda, we are continually seeing various initiatives put in place to control energy use, lower bills and diminish carbon emissions. The latest initiative in discussion is smart meters and how a national roll-out will encourage and direct the UK towards a greener economy.  As the Government calls upon industry experts and providers to submit proposals on how best to conduct this roll-out, Andy Slater, director at smart grid communications specialist Sensus urges the Government to consider all the variables that will contribute to a successful national roll-out

    Details of the proposed roll-out of smart meters in the UK have now been revealed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Ofgem. Viewing smart metering as integral to its ‘green deal’ – the policy of enabling households to reduce the amount of energy they use by improving their own energy efficiency - the government has proposed smart meters as the ideal way of increasing consumers' awareness of their energy use, giving them control over their consumption during peak times and allowing suppliers to offer innovative tariff structures, benefiting customers who reduce their energy consumption.
    The Prospectus signifies a sense of determination by the government to roll-out smart meters across the country, partly motivated by the anticipated financial savings in the domestic and smaller non-domestic sectors. In the prospectus, the government points to anticipated cost savings of £17.8bn over the next 20 years, and a net benefit of £7.2bn. Furthermore, the reduction of the nation’s carbon footprint via smarter energy use will, in time, demonstrate the benefits of such an initiative.

    Whilst the end results are deeply encouraging, there is a fear that this urgency to deploy smart metering systems could lead the government to unwittingly choosing a communication network that could cost the UK an additional £1.8bn if the meters fail to connect to the network, due to poor coverage. This is an issue that will be heavily dependent on the type of network technology chosen for the national roll out.

    Leading industry players, including British Gas and Arqiva with BT, have already demonstrated their support for the roll-out, launching smart meter trials with different network technology. It has become clear the two technologies used in trials, cellular and long-range radio, are the two most debated options for national roll-out.

    For a successful smart meter roll-out, key attributes the government needs to ensure are; A robust, dedicated network to ensure performance, security and availability to utilities, underpinned with service level agreements; A cost effective and very high first-time connection rate for meters enabling smart metering to be available universally to all, minimising second visits to homes and any additional engineering costs; a proven pathway for smart grid applications and other utilities, like water, to join in the future with minimal impact and a proven ability to cope with demand.

    It is in some of these key areas other technologies, like cellular, can fall short. This also raises the issue that the government needs to begin stipulating targets for each of these variables in order to observe which network is able to meet them, thereby leading to a conscientious decision.

    Meter connectivity for example is an issue that certainly requires a target, as adopting a network that fails to connect could end up costing the UK more than it aims to save. The government needs to stipulate the percentage of meters it anticipates covering by the smart meter network – a target of which should fall above 90%. Cellular provider Vodafone estimates only 70% of UK homes will have cellular coverage to their meter cupboard. This is not because of a lack of coverage but due to cellular signals not penetrating areas to where meters are actually located. Therefore if cellular is chosen as the network solution what will happen to the 30% (9million) homes that don’t have adequate cellular coverage?

    When looking at other benefits for both communication technologies, it is clear that the benefits of long-range radio over cellular have not been fully appreciated. It is fundamental a robust communications network is stimulated to ensure the uninterrupted flow of information between customer and supplier. Significant effort should therefore be made to create a dedicated and cost-efficient, nationwide platform. In this instance it is too easy to assume this would be a key benefit for cellular as the network is already in place and proven to work. This would be a superficial assessment. The fact cellular is already in use for consumer mobile applications hardly assures it will be optimised for securely connecting fixed devices buried in cupboards and basements like our electricity and gas meters.

    Although it’s a fairly new technology in Europe, long-range radio has proven to successfully provide high first-time meter connectivity rates and widespread coverage across urban and rural areas in North America. Experience has shown it to have a first-time connection rate to meters of greater than 95% within coverage areas - ensuring a minimal number of homes are left unconnected. Long-range radio services like FlexNet were designed from the outset solely for smart metering and grid applications which should instil some confidence into the market that it is a network that can be trusted, to serve its purpose. By offering a dedicated and secure network with universal coverage, long-range radio offers communications of a quality suitable for what should be regarded as part of the UK’s critical infrastructure. With the masts already in place the roll-out of this network would only take a matter of months.

    Whichever communication network is selected for the UK, it must be the one that offers the best quality of service to consumers and business at a competitive cost. If a network type is selected which does not build and protect customer confidence with high meter connection rates and if financial savings could be jeopardised as a result of not doing this, then additional costs and delays will be experienced. Therefore, I urge the government in their consultation to consider setting targets for meters connection rates and to ensure new solutions, such as long-range radio, are fully considered.

  • Smart PDUs provide remote monitoring, metering and remote on/off

    Unipower Corporation has announced a new series of rack-mount AC PDUs (Power Distribution Units) that will find wide applications in mission critical networks. The Vigilant Series are 1U high and designed for 19in. rack systems and capable of providing AC power distribution at the rack or system level.

    Each Vigilant PDU is capable of providing local True RMS Current Metering with a front panel LED. Remote Total Power Monitoring is also provided using software included for this purpose.

    In normal operation these PDUs provide distribution for up to 8 AC loads through IEC (230VAC nominal) or NEMA (120VAC nominal) connectors. Remote Power On/Off with sequencing can be user defined to sequence equipment turn-off and turn-on.

    Other system features of the Vigilant PDUs are remote individual outlet control, user-definable alarm thresholds and the ability to set-up remote “Event Alerts” via E-mail or SNMP Alarm Traps as well as providing local audible alarm.

    “These Smart PDUs provide capabilities needed in today’s sophisticated networks and allow our power customers the ability to one-stop shop for all their power needs,” said
    Nigel Frey – Unipower

    All Unipower Corporation Vigilant Series PDU models meet the requirements of all relevant safety standards including UL60950-1, CSA22.2 No. 60950-1 and EN60950-1 are also UL Listed and are RoHS compliant.  Product is currently available from UNIPOWER Corporation’s factories located in the U.K. and the U.S.


    Unipower
    +44(0) 1903 768200
    http://www.unipower-corp.com

  • Smart metering – A smart solution to reducing energy bills

    The need for businesses and consumers to become more energy efficient and cut energy bills is making smart energy meters an increasingly attractive solution for managing energy use. Alan Roadway from ABB, explains what’s possible with smart meters and outlines some of the benefits they can bring for domestic, commercial and industrial users.

    Spiralling energy prices and government imposed initiatives and targets for improving energy efficiency are making both consumers and businesses ever more aware of the amount of energy they are using. Part L of the UK Government’s Building Regulations Act encourages accurate measurement of energy consumption. For businesses and industrial end users in particular, the challenge to date has been to identify the most appropriate way to fulfil this obligation. The consensus of opinion is smart meters are increasingly providing the answer. These meters provide users with the technology to gain an immediate and accurate picture of their energy use which can be usefully employed to encourage a change energy consumption behaviour.
    The underlying rationale behind Part L is that if users are made responsible for monitoring their energy consumption, they will take more action to reduce their usage and employ more energy efficient practices. To date, however, it has not been easy for either consumers or businesses to do this. If the home or building owner wants to get a better idea of their next bill, some complicated maths and knowledge of multiple tariff rates is required.
    Energy bills for most buildings are either the result of a meter reading by the supplier, or more commonly, are based on an estimated reading made as the result of the meter reader being unable to gain access to the meter. According to Energywatch, at least 7 million domestic customers receive estimated bills, which can result in inaccurate charges to the customer and affect the ability of energy suppliers to maximise their revenue collection.
    Smart metering technology offers a solution, with meters able to show the kWh consumption figure on an LCD screen.
    For users, the benefits include being able to monitor consumption levels at different times on a regular basis, helping to identify trends. This particularly benefits SMEs, as they are able to get a more accurate idea of their energy consumption before their bills arrive, and be able to take steps to try to minimise future energy usage.
    Another key benefit of smart meters is that there is no need for them to be physically visited by a meter reader. Depending on the meter’s capabilities, data can be collected remotely, using bluetooth, a pulsed output or wi-fi connectivity. This would be particularly beneficial when collecting domestic meter data, as homeowners are often not at home to provide access.
    More sophisticated smart meters can also be connected to the internet, making it possible to include tariff control functionality. This could potentially enable consumers to switch between tariff rates according to normal or peak periods or to switch between tariffs offered by different suppliers. For businesses in particular, this provides the ability to better manage energy costs by being able to monitor the effect of existing practices at different times of the day.
    Furthermore, by connecting smart meters to an Ethernet, business users are able to monitor spending at different office locations, enabling them to identify areas of excess consumption, and encourage best practice schemes across different sites.
    According to Energywatch, the estimated cost of conducting a wholesale installation of smart energy meters into just domestic properties in the UK is approximately £86m. This is on top of the £800million a year already spent on replacing, installing, maintaining and reading existing meters. Energywatch is encouraging the installation of smart meters as part of suppliers’ existing replacement programmes, growing the base of installed meters gradually. However, debate continues as to who should bear the cost of installing smart meters into homes and other buildings and facilities around the UK.
    Utilities argue it would be difficult for them to recoup the costs of installing the meters due to the de-regulated nature of the UK utilities industry, where consumers can move easily between suppliers. This makes it harder for suppliers to pass on the cost of installation to homeowners who can switch to a competitor after having a smart meter installed.
    In Europe, the adoption of smart meters is greater as competition is less intense and government measures and intervention have helped encourage installations.
    However, it can be argued having smart meters installed into consumers’ homes may actually increase trust between consumers and their energy supplier, as they would be able to better understand the information displayed by their meter and thus have a more accurate picture of their costs.
    For utilities, there is also the prospect of maximising their revenue collection through being able to more accurately bill customers based on actual, rather than estimated, energy consumption. For businesses, the case for installing smart meters is based around cost versus benefits. The benefits, in terms of reduced energy costs, appear to outweigh any short-term costs involved in installation. Smart meters will enable businesses to invest in technology that will help reduce consumption in the long-term, by providing accurate measurements of energy use, enabling businesses to act upon the instant information supplied. Commercial building owners can also benefit, as they will be able to get separate readings for different occupants, and monitor their consumption levels accordingly.
    ABB offers a range of energy metering equipment and can provide advice on which meter will be the most suitable for a specific facility. The company can also provide support to ensure businesses get the most out of the meter’s capabilities to help with cutting their energy consumption levels.

  • BEAMAEnergy gives ‘smart’ metering thumbs-up

    Following the EU’s approval of a new draft directive aimed at helping consumers reduce energy consumption, BEAMAEnergy says cost-efficient ‘smart’ metering and controls systems in the home are the solution for future energy-saving and carbon emission reductions.

    The director of BEAMAEnergy, Howard Porter,

  • Smart metering top of the agenda

    In an attempt to increase awareness of smart metering technology, Beama (the British electrotechnical manufacturing body) has launched the
    European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA).
    The project is part-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme, and seeks to maximise the environmental benefits of Article 13 of the Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (ESD).
    “By 2008, all European Member States have to implement the ESD, which requires customers to be given more information on their energy usage, and receive more timely and accurate billing,” said Alliance project leader John Parsons.
    “Through the Alliance, we’re once again at the forefront of developing the case for smart meter technology, and taking the initiative. We’re actively communicating, with our partners, its undoubted benefits Europe-wide.”

  • Acquisition creates metering giant

    Itron has completed the acquisition of Actaris Metering Systems (Actaris) for e800m plus the retirement of debt.
    Actaris operates in electricity, gas and water metering, primarily outside of North America. Itron is a supplier of AMR systems and electricity meters in North America. The combined company will be one of the largest electricity, gas and water metering companies in the world.
    The acquisition will allow Actaris to offer Itron’s AMR and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies, software and systems expertise to customers outside of North America, and expand Actaris gas and water meter opportunities in North America. The combined company will have more than 8,000 utility customers, 33 manufacturing facilities, customers in more than 60 countries and have more than 8,500 employees.
    Actaris will continue to operate as normal. Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s former vice president of hardware solutions, has moved to Brussels to assume the day-to-day operations of the company as Actaris’ senior vice-president and chief operating officer. Actaris will continue to operate its electric, gas and water businesses. Itron will report financial results for Actaris as a standalone business with these three operating segments, in addition to reporting financial results for Itron’s previously established hardware and software segments with sales and operations primarily concentrated in North America.

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