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Smart grid innovation

Nov 2016 Smart Homes | Comments Off on Smart grid innovation
Smart grid innovation
 

Reactive Technologies has demonstrated the world’s first nationwide transmission of data entirely via the electricity grid

Reactive Technologies, a UK-based smart grid and demand-side response (DSR) company, demonstrated a world first in energy communications technology following a successful nationwide project with National Grid and SSE.

The collaboration used Reactive’s Grid Data and Measurement System (GDMS) technology, which it says offers a new and cost-effective way of communicating with electrical assets or devices connected to an electricity network.

How GDMS works

Traditional approaches to communicating with assets require a reliable internet or mobile communication connection in addition to an individual meter, which can prove financially prohibitive and limit the viability of DSR schemes that incorporate thousands of smaller assets.

Many assets are excluded from existing DSR arrangements due to a lack of remote connectivity, but GDMS uses the frequency of the electricity network to carry data.

Connected devices send and receive data across the electricity network through minute and subtle changes made to the grid frequency by modulating the power consumption of transmitting devices. These ‘on’ and ‘off’ or frequency changes create a unique code.

Receivers, embedded in the plugs of devices such as freezers, hot water tanks and air conditioning equipment, are programmed to detect these changes.

The receiving devices then identify and decode the messages, which tell the device to carry out a particular instruction, for example, to turn down or off according to a schedule, or based on grid frequency changes.

GDMS data informs energy firms

According to Reactive, GDMS will give electricity network operators greater insight into the behaviour of ‘prosumers’ – customers who have the ability to generate, consume and store their own electricity.

The data will assist operators responsible for balancing electricity networks, which are becoming increasingly complex with the variety of assets connected to them, such as distributed and intermittent generators like solar along with electric vehicles and batteries.

GDMS should allow network operators to reduce costs and pass savings on to consumers by improving the accuracy of forecasting and purchase of energy reserves.

Jens Madrian, CFO and CCO of Reactive, says: “GDMS can dramatically reduce the cost of creating large-scale smart grid networks, allowing wider participation in DSR programmes, for example, by including domestic devices such as fridges, air conditioning systems and hot water tanks.

“Creating flexible demand is the lowest cost and carbon-free way of balancing the electricity system, which is otherwise managed by turning up or down thermal power plant. GDMS offers a new cost-effective way to create flexible demand at scale.”