Smart Utilities and Sustainable Resources Management
By John Neate, and President,
Technology developers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs are creating productive solutions to optimize the efficient use of energy and resources, while minimizing the potential for negative environmental impacts. With the increased availability of inexpensive micro-sensor technologies, everything is becoming “sensor-tagged”. Energy and water utilities are benefiting from this “sensorization” of our infrastructure and the associated smart technology advancements. These progressive utilities are employing innovative, real-time monitoring and control applications with high volume and low processing capabilities to improve the management of critical assets and service delivery infrastructure. What are Smart Utilities? A smart utility is a system or network that can cost-effectively integrate the behavior and actions of all users connected to it, including producers, generators, distributors and consumers, to ensure efficient, sustainable service supply with low losses and high levels of quality, reliability, security and safety. In doing so, smart utilities enable greater control over the critical decisions that influence production and consumption patterns.
“Smart utilities enable greater control over the critical decisions that influence production and consumption patterns”
The use of smart technology delivers benefits for both utilities and their customers. The key to unlocking these benefits lies in the data that smart technology delivers. The ability to analyze and identify patterns in the data becomes an important part of the overall investment. Smart technology can reveal problematic areas within the system and better manage the production, storage and distribution of energy or water. Utilities are increasingly using this data to manage operational challenges and costs, identify and solve performance issues, improve customer service and prioritize infrastructure investments. Market drivers for smart utilities In the energy sector, global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and improve security of energy supply require increased usage of renewable energy and improved energy efficiency. Electric power utilities require smart networks to receive distributed power and manage fluctuations in energy demand resulting from innovations that may be introduced by customers. Natural