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IoT Powers China’s Bold Energy Vision

China's noteworthy shift toward clean energy—led by concerns over the impacts of air pollution—is well underway. This can be seen in its bold policy standards, which are driving governmental investments in sustainable energy solutions. Accomplishing these goals requires a rapid transformation of the country's energy infrastructure. Power plants and grids must replace traditional systems with advanced, comprehensive solutions that integrate smart grid systems. IoT-based solutions enable centralized energy monitoring and management capabilities that power plant and grid operators' need to comply with new standards.

According to the Northeast Group, China plans to invest $77.6 billion in its smart grid infrastructure by 2026, enabling the country to deploy advanced energy management solutions to help the country meet its policy goals.

Overcoming New Challenges

Before China introduced its new standards for energy policy and regulations, the chief concern of operators of power plants and grids was to supply the uninterrupted flow of energy to factories and cities that enabled the country to grow.

But today they must begin to follow new standards designed to enable non-fossil fuel energy to account for 20% of China's of total energy consumption by 2030, increasing to more than 50% by 2050. Set by both the central and local governments, these standards will change the way energy is produced and distributed in China.

To meet these standards, power plant and grid operators will be obliged to deploy smart energy devices to monitor and manage their systems with a higher degree of accuracy than they have in years past. This is driving demand for an IoT cloud-based management system and a data-driven approach to generating, distributing, and managing energy.

Meeting New Standards

Companies like Huadian UTS Technology Co., Ltd. form a critical part of China's sustainable energy efforts by helping to integrate smart energy management with local city governments and businesses. Their Intelligent Energy Management Solution comprises energy monitoring and management tools, and equipment that uses IoT technologies to enable operators to comply with the new standards. The solution provides near real-time visibility into asset conditions, and gathers and analyzes data to provide the benefits described in Figure 1:

Figure 1. Huadian Intelligent Energy Management Solution benefits. (Source: Intel®)

The Intelligent Energy Management Solution provides four key functions:

  • Remote Asset Management monitors events and controls energy equipment in real time from an off-site location.
  • Renewable Energy Management monitors and manages generation and distribution of sustainable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, and tidal power.
  • Demand Generation predicts peak demand to balance and optimize grid loads — maintaining voltage at proper levels.
  • Energy-Saving Objective Management tailors systems to meet guidelines established by national and provincial governments.

Data Solution at the Grid Edge

Sensors at the edge collect data on water, electricity, gas, oil, heat, and other metrics. The data is then securely transmitted to the cloud via Huadian energy gateways and terminal equipment. Intel® processors enable performance, analytics, and security required for the end-to-end system.

By using the Huadian solution, energy producers and grid operators can run big data analytics from the cloud or datacenter to produce insights into energy consumption and asset behavior. Remote management software enables energy asset monitoring and management back to the edge. This same software is used at the collector, transport, and cloud layers (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Powered by Intel® technology, the Huadian Intelligent Energy Management Solution enables generator and grid operators to comply with new standards. (Source: Intel)

With the Intelligent Energy Management solution, operators can transmit data directly to China’s national platform through one-way encrypted transport, through front-end servers or VPN tunnels that are established using either corporate or provincial platforms. The solution improves uptime, lowers costs, and delivers long-term value with low-power, ruggedized, fan-less terminals and gateways.

Key Capabilities

The Huadian Intelligent Energy Management Solution enables generator and grid operators to:

  • Collect, view, and analyze asset data from the edge to the cloud
  • Simultaneously upload energy data to as many as five data centers per terminal
  • Ensure compliance with national and provincial regulations
  • Use predictive analytics to improve energy-saving applications
  • Host services such as maintenance, support, information updates, and online payment services
  • Improve worker safety by reducing on-site maintenance activities and remotely identifying hazardous conditions

A Proven Solution

Huadian Smart Energy Gateways have been deployed in 10 cities with approximately 10,000 units shipped. In the city of Chongqing, for example, five energy management locations equipped with Huadian terminals serve as the operation carrier for IT government platforms.

These deployments have enabled a variety of on-site data collection and receiving functions. They include generating actionable insights such as dynamic data curves and reports, as well as establishing a predictive analysis mechanism to realize online energy monitoring, management, and energy-saving objectives.

Achieving Standards of Today and Tomorrow

To comply with China's new policies and regulations, executives responsible for the country's energy supply must deploy solutions that enable them to meet tougher infrastructure standards and goals. The Huadian Intelligent Energy Management Solution integrates the IoT systems needed to achieve compliance as well as increase operational value and improve worker safety. Now, operators of power plants and grids can take the lead in meeting these standards, improving the efficiency of China's energy systems, and increasing use of renewable energy, now and for the future.

About the Author

Robert Moss is an independent consultant and strategist who focuses on the value gained through IoT, AI, machine learning and other technologies. He also helps give voice to executives at leading technology companies, enabling their personal stories to show how they encourage innovation, overcome obstacles, and improve their leadership skills. Tweets @RobertMoss_IoT

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