NI and Innovari help grid operators improve utilisation, lower costs

NI has announced a technology collaboration with Innovari to help utility companies around the world improve system utilisation, manage distributed energy resources and foster relationships between customers, local communities and regulators.

Innovari’s Interactive Energy Platform (IEP) uses artificial intelligence, “big data” analytics, proprietary optimization routines and grid-edge hardware built on NI technology to deliver capacity and address grid demand. Utility companies and commercial utility customers (retail chains, grocery stores, universities and more) have benefited from deployed systems, including:

Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) has embraced a forward-looking strategy that focuses on edge-of-grid resources as opportunities, rather than threats, and users as partners, rather than just bill-paying customers. The company deployed the IEP because the technology provides real-time, deep situational awareness into the grid – helping to reduce the likelihood and duration of power outages to optimize performance. The solution also supports many primary business goals such as promoting economic growth in the region and improving the customer experience. As a result of the program, KCP&L has gained more than 400 hours of operation per year with the 15 MW project that engaged over 200 commercial and industrial customers.

Mumbai-based electric utility Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) implemented the IEP on commercial buildings and mobile generators to stabilize the grid in regional areas under stress. Since October 2014, RInfra has responded to hundreds of grid events using the IEP and has shown that the demand side can be a real part of their resource plan year-round. RInfra customers see benefits too with reduced energy costs and greater control of their facilities. The Raghuleela Mall has almost a MW of controlled capacity including 60 air-handling units and multiple 400 ton chillers.

Innovari’s grid-edge hardware, called Energy Agents, attaches to participant buildings to deliver important two-way communication of energy information back to the utility and balance edge-of-grid resources for an optimized grid. The agents are designed with CompactRIO Single-Board Controllers and LabVIEW software for distributed sensing and control.

“We were originally attracted to NI because of the company reputation as a market leader in data acquisition technology, said Corey Catten, chief technology officer at Innovari. “We chose CompactRIO Single-Board Controllers because we could get to market faster than with other options while maximizing the data processing capability per dollar spent. The end result is a system that not only helps utilities and their customer’s lower energy costs, but one that has eliminated millions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuels that otherwise would have been burned to support grid operations.”

At IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Innovari and NI will participate in a session titled Improving Grid Utilization (and Cost) With Edge Control and Cloud Analytics on Thursday, October 5 at 12:40 p.m. The session explores the technical components of the complete system, details on how to achieve business benefits and an overview of a new pilot commissioned by AEP, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States.

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