How IoT Is at The Forefront of Renewable Energy
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- Oct 10, 2019 4:37 pm GMT
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With fossil fuel levels depleting at accelerating speed, and as the pressure to switch to more greener sources intensifies, renewable energy is picking up tremendous pace.
According to reports, the renewable energy share is expected to increase to 22.5% of the global power mix by 2020. As the world moves towards wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal power, and biomass energy, IoT-based technology is driving efficiency and automation like never before.
The use of IoT for renewable energy is not only helping save millions on electricity, but it is also helping in decreasing the carbon footprint.
So, what role does IoT play? And how is it at the forefront of renewable energy? Let’s find out!
The Role of IoT
Companies in the business of renewable energy have been experiencing substantial global growth over the last couple of years. However, with tremendous scaling comes the challenge of sustaining profits and productivity. Managing these constantly expanding grids requires companies to look out for ways and methods to optimize their capacities across remote locations. One of the ways companies can drive efficiency is by embracing the world of IoT.
- By implementing smart appliances and connected gadgets, companies can use high-tech sensors to amass massive amounts of real-time energy data and transmit it to the power grid – for advanced storage and analysis.
- IoT sensors can enable real-time monitoring of power grids while providing decision-makers with the opportunity to build data-driven optimization strategies.
- They can also provide better transparency in the way the energy is being consumed. That allows people to understand their energy consumption habits and adjust them accordingly to optimize usage.
The benefits it presents
There is a lot that companies can gain from keeping IoT at the forefront of renewable energy.
From quicker analysis to data decentralization, better decision-making to better consumption, here are some of the benefits IoT presents:
- Remote asset monitoring and management: Given how geographically dispersed solar, hydropower, geothermal, and wind farms are, physically monitoring each farm for issues is impossible. Implementing IoT sensors on generation, transmission, and distribution equipment can enable remote asset monitoring and management. Since these sensors can measure parameters such as vibration, temperature, and wear, they can help companies optimize maintenance schedules. Such a preventative maintenance approach can ensure that all the equipment work optimally, providing the opportunity to make timely repairs - thus significantly improving reliability.
- Better control and automation: Most of the renewable energy equipment are extremely complex constructions. They are installed in the open sea and faraway fields and need to adjust to the changing environment constantly. Sensor-based IoT technology help automate the management of wind and solar farms, thus enabling better operational control while reducing operational costs. Companies can connect all their renewable energy equipment into one system and efficiently manage them using real-time dashboards and controls. In addition, IoT can also improve safety on the premises. Through advanced monitoring, sensors can detect leaks, provide timely alerts, and enable automatic shutdown so a disaster can be averted.
- Improved energy efficiency: In addition to managing massive commercial farms, as residential solar capacity is expected to grow to 41 gigawatts by 2025, energy companies have to also constantly manage a growing number of small generation resources located across the grid. IoT-powered smart grid technology can help enable this distributed energy transformation. Since the grid uses IoT technology to detect changes in electricity supply and demand, it has the ability to react to these changes autonomously and provide operators with the information they need to manage demand more precisely. Insight into real-time power consumption data can enable energy companies to make decisions about voltage control, load switching, network configuration, and more.
- Better load management: IoT sensors located on energy equipment can constantly monitor and analyze load and serve as the basis for better forecasting. Sensors can effectively manage congestion along transmission and distribution lines and ensure that all plants operate optimally. Such consumption data can aid companies in decisions about building new infrastructure and/or making infrastructure upgrades (or downgrades) to cater to the demand. Sensors can also detect outages and allow operators to turn off power to damaged lines to prevent electrocution, fire, and other hazards. Smart switches can isolate affected areas automatically and reroute power as soon as the problem has been resolved.
- Improved cost efficiency: Another major benefit of using IoT in managing renewable energy generation is cost-efficiency. Based on accurate forecasts, sensors can ensure precise generation of energy, thus optimizing production and control. Because only the required amount of power is produced, companies can save big bucks. Moreover, internet-connected smart meters can collect usage data and send customers detailed reports about energy usage. Such information can help identify waste and allow customers to save on their energy bills.
The Future Belongs to IoT
As the world moves towards renewable energy, IoT is helping transform the sector through remote asset monitoring and management, better automation and control, improved efficiency, better load management, and improved cost-efficiency.
Thanks to IoT, the coming years will witness the renewable energy sector not only get smarter and more efficient but also more distributed and more reliable.