No doubt, the technology of Internet of Things is swelling at an extraordinary rate. One sector that has benefited significantly from this technological marvel is the powerhouse sector of energy.
In 2015, the global energy market reached a valuation of USD 6.8 billion and is now expected to reach $26.5 billion by the end of 2023. That’s a CAGR of 15.5%. This data is not only a statistical representation of the growth of IoT in this segment but also an indication of the effectiveness with which IoT is revamping the vertical.
The implementation of IoT in the energy sector not only helps in balancing the supply-demand conditions but also have specific use cases in other areas as well. Let it be power utilities, factories, or end-consumers, everyone can use energy monitoring solutions of IoT to benefit in one way or another.
Let us delve deep into this solution and understand its features before we comprehend its specific applications in different segments.
IoT based Energy Management:
Internet of Things refers to an inter-connected network of devices. IoT in an energy infrastructure encompasses the entire power generation, transmission, and distribution systems along with appliances and equipment constituted within them. These systems and machines share data with each other to optimize the flow of energy from one location to another while keeping losses as low and efficiency as high as possible.
Some benefits that IoT offers in the energy spectrum are:
- Lowering energy consumption
- Facility power monitoring
- Equipment availability monitoring and maintenance
- Smart grids
- Maintaining uninterrupted power supply
Now that we have understood the benefits of using IoT for energy management, let’s explore the areas where they can be utilized and people who can use it.
- Energy Utilities:
The most obvious yet most paramount playfields for IoT are the utilities. Last year, the market value of IoT for utilities stood at a value of USD 28.6 billion and is estimated to billow at a CAGR of 13.5% to reach an overall market capitalization of 53.8 billion by the end of 2024. A large chunk of this value is expected to be owned by energy utilities.
IoT enables energy utilities to use smart energy meters and other tools to develop a smart grid ecosystem. These smart grids empower utility to monitor the energy consumed by its end-users and produce electricity accordingly. Thus, utilities gain clear visibility about local energy requirements and can hence stabilize the supply and demand conditions. Furthermore, based on peak hours and daily demands, utilities can also turn on or off their peaking plants to cater to the energy needs.
By limiting the use of peaking plants, utilities can ensure that the resources are utilized in an optimum manner and that the emission rates are as low as possible. Moreover, by using smart grids, utilities can ensure uninterrupted power supply to their users in case of transmission wire breakdown due to overloading or environmental conditions.
Consumers can also be a part of the IoT system as smart energy meters enable two-way communication between utility and them. By connecting their appliances with the energy meters, end-consumers can monitor the amount of energy consumed by each of their distinct devices and hence make informed decisions to reduce monthly bills.
In a bit out of context, consumers can also use devices like Nest Learning Thermostats and Philips Hue Bulb System to avail exclusive smart home features and save electricity. For example, Google Nest’s Thermostat with its advanced AI and IoT capabilities can learn to regulate the temperature of a room based on the consumers’ preference and display the amount of energy they save in a given time period.
- Industries or Factories:
Basically, any facility that runs on machines or electrically powered equipment can use an energy monitoring solution. By using IoT sensors and devices, a company can monitor the amount of energy their equipment consumes and take specific actions to boost the overall efficiency of their plant.
Moreover, these sensors can also be used by factories and plants to manage the availability of equipment and other assets. By monitoring the electricity consumed by the machines, the handlers can track the time it was on and reduce the overall downtime by taking strategic actions. Additionally, these sensors can also be used for facility power monitoring that will help companies to not only reduce energy consumption but also increase the overall equipment effectiveness.
By using the predictive analytics feature of an IoT system, a factory can track the performance of its equipment based on the amount of energy they exhaust. Also, by keeping an eye on the key performance indicators, manufacturing units can transcend from scheduled maintenance to condition-based and preventive maintenance. This will help companies to boost their operational excellence and reduce unexpected machine failures.
As per statistics, more than 80% of industrial manufacturing companies are using or planning to use IoT devices in their facilities. Also, more than 46% of the companies using IoT have witnessed an improvement in their operational efficiencies. Clearly, the benefits of IoT for industries are exceptional and unprecedented.
The variable and environment-dependent nature of renewable sources restrict their usage and absolute adoption. With the help of IoT energy systems, utilities can now freely accept the use of renewables without worrying about their variable nature.
Smart grids with their two-way interaction can be used to maintain an equilibrium between the amount of energy generated by the renewables and the actual demand. This will decrease the load from non-renewable using power plants and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment. Furthermore, this will help utilities to extend their reach to far-off remote locations and provide users a continuous power supply where the exhaustible resource cannot reach.
The advent of IoT has acted as a revolution especially for the sector of energy. While utilities and their consumers are the primary beneficiaries of IoT, more use cases can be expected to pop up in the future. However, one thing can be said with the utmost guarantee that IoT will help in the augmentation of energy generation and help power generators to keep up with the ever-rising energy demands.