Transforming the global energy sector is one of the most pressing issues for governments worldwide, and it is also becoming a growing concern for people from all walks of life. The problem is that we have two contradictory needs existing in unison.
First, we rely on a mammoth amount of reliable energy to power our world. Secondly, as a population we are becoming ever more conscious of our impact on the earth, and due to this we have a growing motivation to prevent damage to our environment and to protect our longevity on our planet.
Use of renewable energy is on the rise as a result of this, and governments around the world are under pressure to meet goals and expectations. Clean energy provides the key to meeting these goals, and to satisfying our two contradictory needs, but we are currently not using it to its full potential. Fortunately, a burst in development of the Internet of Things (IoT) is opening the door to a simple and low-cost way to adopt clean technology across multiple industries.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine the future of renewable energy without IoT. Today, sensor-based technology and data science enable the efficiency and automation of wind farms and solar fields. Connected buildings save millions on electricity and compete for green energy awards. Companies widely adopt IoT-based energy solutions to decrease their carbon footprint and cut down on their bills.
Clean Technology and Its Relationship to IoT
Mining and autonomous vehiclesThe Internet of Things (IoT) is a critical element in cleantech. It enables sensor-based solutions that minimize the need for human intervention and provide a data-rich environment to help service providers constantly improve.
Safety is always a major concern in most industries. For example, mining can be extremely dangerous for workers, but cleantech stands to make significant positive changes for safety while also supporting more sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Autonomous equipment can now go places that could be deadly for humans. We can more precisely monitor conditions and assets, allowing operators to respond more quickly to issues and minimizing environmental impact — capabilities that would be impossible using manual processes. Additionally, automating data collection dramatically improves accuracy by helping eliminate the possibility of human error.
Cleantech at the Edge and Beyond
Edge computing and cleantechOne of the most impressive advances in recent years — and, arguably, what’s making so many improvements possible — is IoT’s capability of operating on low-power networks.
IoT sensors can collect enormous volumes of data, so the choice of operating a system on cellular or standard networks can be crucial, both from a reliability standpoint and a financial one. One key way to mitigate massive data consumption is through the use of edge computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. An example of this would be minimizing the transmission of standard, day-to-day “heartbeat” data, and focusing more on timely delivery of outliers, as we describe in the blog post, “What Is Edge Computing?”
Data collection at the edge can introduce speed and efficiency into centralized solutions, further improving AI, ML, and data-rich analytics in the cloud. What this means for industries depending on these technologies is that they can continually improve process, expand production, extend the life of critical assets, and add capabilities with less equipment while consuming less energy.
Today’s sensors can transmit on low-power networks offering a range of efficiency improvements, such as longer battery life, no line-of-sight requirements, and open-source interoperability. Equipment and standards are slowly becoming standardized, making them less expensive to deploy and operate. Even when retrofitting existing infrastructure, installation is sometimes as simple as attaching a sensor to a machine.
Wind turbines are an excellent example of clean technology in action. Not only do they generate green energy from a source that does not deplete our resources, but remote monitoring helps ensure they are always operating at peak capacity — without the need for unnecessary site visits by field staff.
Use of Big Data
In terms of transforming the energy sector at a global level, the IoT is being leveraged in order to collect and analyze data from a diverse set of sources in all industries. This use of big data will have a huge impact on the energy sector, as it will allow for monitoring and predictions of factors influencing renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy.
Further to this, the concept of smart cities is rapidly transforming from concept to reality. The key to this actualization is due to the IoT making clean energy a potential reliable source of power to all components of the smart city. The ability to analyze data in real-time allows the use of renewable energy to be planned for and used efficiently and reliably. Industries and enterprises can then expect uninterrupted power from these clean energy sources.
Benefits of IoT Technology in the Energy Sector
In short, the Internet of Things is the enabler of the modern energy industry. IoT technology helps connect all the elements of power production and consumption, gain visibility in the processes and provide real control at every step of energy flow from exploitation to the supply to the end users.
For the record, this cooperation drives efficiency to both renewable and hydrocarbon economies. Here are just the basic benefits of IoT in the energy sector.
- Control and automation
As simple as they look, wind turbines are extremely complex constructions often placed in wild conditions—open sea and faraway fields. In order to stay efficient and work at full potential, wind farms should be able to promptly adjust to the changing environment. Not to mention the importance of timely maintenance.
IoT and energy solutions—sensor-based technology, analytics for important data on weather and environment condition and turbine health—help automate the management of wind farms, optimize maintenance and thus reduce the cost dramatically.
The same is relevant for the future of solar energy technology, geothermal plants and traditional oil and gas deposits. Not only does IoT enable better operation control, but also improves the safety on the premises. Had a more advanced monitoring and automatic shutdown system be installed to the Deepwater Horizon rig, the big catastrophe could have been avoided.
It’s already a well-known fact that you can literally go off the grid. You can generate enough green power “in the backyard” to fully meet your household’s needs and keep away from conventional power suppliers.
For this purpose, you would need proper IoT energy and infrastructure solutions to make it efficient. Thanks to IoT technology, sensors and analytics tools, you can connect your solar panels, rainwater harvesters, light and heat trackers, smart roof and windows into one system and manage your green home using easy-to-read dashboards and controls on your desktop or mobile application.
If you are not ready for a serious transformation, there’re still smart solutions for you. Watttime system is a good example of an IoT solution that makes green energy available to everyone. All you need is to install the system on a device, charger, battery or thermostat and let WattTime switch to the cleanest power supplier available at the moment.
How do you like saving half a million dollars simply on reducing the use of electricity? Thanks to renewable energy and IoT tools, you can significantly decrease the numbers in your bills. Of course, you will have to invest in the system in the first place, but it surely will pay off.
The examples are numerous—plenty of organizations and households invest in the Internet of Things and adopt power consumption monitoring and control tools that eventually help them cut down on the use of electricity and save big money.
One of such examples is the Skanska USA office. Famous tenant of the iconic Empire State Building hopped on the green initiative and introduced a number of power management solutions on the premises. As a result, the company has already reduced spending on electricity by 57% which equals $680k in savings for the full office lease period.
- IoT and Clean Technology – Joining Forces Now and the Future – https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=956
- Benefits of IoT Technology in the Energy Sector – https://www.digiteum.com/iot-green-energy/