Smart Metering : Is it really interesting for Industry?

07 April 2016 by Levis Gandeu

The smart metering is literally the act of using a smart meter. 80% of smart meters roll out in Europe by 2020 is the goal the European Parliament set out in 2009 in its Directive on common rules for the internal market in electricity. Smart metering represents as well a technological as an economic approach allowing to. reduce costs (economic) related to consumption due to real-time monitoring of power consumption. It allows to optimize the entire chain of the industrial process. And the use of the huge amount of data recorded by smart meters allows to adopt strategies allowding to benefit from utilities dynamic pricing

pricing policies. Smart meters would allow industrial consumers to make significant savings by shifting their consumption away from peak hours to which the energy price is higher. and reduce risk (technological)

And it allows to identify anomalies throughout an industrial process that can be significant for the industry at various scales that range from predicting consumption costs (time scale of industrial process.


Related Content   #efficiency  #optimization parameter  #smart meter 


What is Smart Metering ?

About  the issue of rational use of energy, smart metering turns out to be a real solution to consider. But, what is actually smart metering? The smart metering is literally the act of using a smart meter. This leads to question what is a smart meter? Smart meter is a tool used for recording different metering data, remote reading thereof at specified intervals and remote controlling functions associated with the electric, gaz or water meter. This tool includes so-called "smart" meaning capable of above functions using suitable hardware and software and performing a reliable exchange of informations, instructions and data management. 

The smart metering is most often referenced in the context of electric power consumption. Let us focus on electricity.

Current Situation in the European Union (EU)

80% of smart meters roll out in Europe by 2020 is the goal the European Parliament set out in 2009 in its Directive on common rules for the internal market in electricity. The application of the Directive was conditioned by a long-term economic evaluation of all costs and benefits for the market and for the consumer, considered individually, or a study determining which model of smart meters is the most economically rational and cheaper and what timetable can be considered for distribution. What about today? According to the 2014 report of the European commission, nearly 45 million smart meters have been installed in three Member States (Finland, Italy and Sweden) i.e 23 percent of installations foreseen in the EU by 2020. In the same report the commitment of Member States corresponds to an investment estimated at nearly 45 billion euros for setting up by 2020 of nearly 200 million smart electric meters (representing approximately 72 percent of European consumers) and 45 million gas meters (nearly 40 percent of consumers). 

In the Industrial Field 

Let us look a little bit at industrial applications. How can we assess the contribution of smart metering in strongly energy dependent industry ? Notice that the industrial market (in EU-28) represents slightly more than 36 percent of the energy consumption in 2013 [electricity, Eurostat 2014]. Therefore, smart metering represents as well a technological as an economic approach allowing to

1. reduce costs (economic)

  • related to consumption due to real-time monitoring of power consumption.
  • Additionally, it allows to optimize the entire chain of the industrial process. Indeed the use of the huge amount of data recorded by smart meters allows to adopt strategies allowding to benefit from utilities dynamic pricing policies. Choosing smart meters would allow industrial consumers to make significant savings by shifting their consumption away from peak hours to which the energy price is higher.

2. reduce risk(technological)

  • Another interesting aspect that characterizes the smart metering is the power quality (PQ) analysis and the subsequent real-time reporting PQ events enabling timely (or preventive) actions. Power quality is an electrical property which describes electrical power driving an electrical load and its ability to operate properly thanks to that electrical power. Knowing this, we can imagine how badly the productivity of manufacturers could be affected in case of PQ events in the grid supplying industry parks where those manufacturers are located. Therefore PQ Event may prove to be very critical. Hence, monitoring of smart metering systems allows to adopt solutions that can be significant for the industry at various scales that range from predicting consumption costs (time scale) to the identification of anomalies throughout an industrial process.

What about the actual energy efficiency ?

Use in a Refrigeration System

A study published in the Elsevier Journal in 2014 on predicting of a refrigeration system performance used to assess the smart metering from the perspective of energy efficiency. The objective was to predict the coefficient of performance of a refrigeration system (cooling) according to the amount of refrigerant fluid - in this case R404A - flowing through the circuit by using data mining techniques applied to data provided by the smart meter. 

Basically, the refrigeration system is used to extract heat from a medium to the outside. It is characterized by a refrigerant fluid which flows in the channels of the system and absorbs heat to form steam at low pressure. Then the fluid is compressed at a  pressure high enough to transfer its heat to the ambient air or water to be condensed and form liquid. Hence, the coefficient of performance can be defined as the ratio of the heat removed by the refrigeration system to the heat absorbed by the system. It is a way to express the energy efficiency. To perform the study, the informations required have been provided by the smart metering system coupled to compressor when operating because of electrical properties related to the refrigerant fluid and  the amount used in vapor compression in the refrigeration system.

The study had a kind of dual purpose. Firstly, it allowed to estimate the coefficient of performance associated with a quantity of the coolant (refrigeration fluid) and therefore the amount of coolant that affects equipments performance.  Those equipments are assessed by their ability of cooling and the cooling time they needed. Secondly, the purpose was to detect and fix possible anomalies (leakage of refrigerent fluid) in the refrigeration system.  Although outcomes are very encouraging (positive), it appeared interesting to pursue studies on optimization parameter in predicting coefficient of performance.

To conclude

Considering the application fields addressed above smart meters are useful for better controlling power consumption as well as the resulting costs. Additionally, at a certain level they can also play key role in the maintenance and optimization tasks performed in industry.

Besides this, the next question appeares on the wall. Will smart meters be the "bridging technology" towards what is often called "industry4.0", "digital factory" or just "IoT"?

What do you think?