Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI, is seen as a key enabler of the global energy transition, enabling future services, maximizing grid visibility and optimizing grid investments.
So what does the next generation of AMI look like?
John Doyle, Marketing Director responsible for the Itron Outcomes portfolio in the EMEA region, answered this question during an Itron Inspire EMEA session dedicated to the subject.
Doyle outlined the key challenges in building a case to go beyond the cash counter, as well as the importance of overcoming those challenges.
Progressive utility business models will result in better management of water and energy resources. “We believe that how we manage water and energy will define this century,” Doyle said.
Doyle highlighted three key challenges facing utilities:
Energetic transition – this includes new challenges for utilities to integrate significant amounts of new renewables and distributed energy resources (DERs) onto the grid, to control resulting grid imbalances, to digitize third parties to integrate DERs and enable demand-side participation to manage peak demand increases.
Investment planning and execution – a challenge for public services to optimize and facilitate investments.
Security of supply and automation – centered around five sub-elements, including network modernization and meter deployments, network stability, resilience, data management and cybersecurity.
Reform business models
Building the case to go beyond the counter to the money is centered around increasing resilience, Doyle said. This can be done by strengthening the network against storms and extreme weather conditions, as well as increasing intelligence, automation and control with better information. Thus, action can be directed to effectively integrate electric vehicles and charging to decarbonize, as well as to implement effective demand response programs.
“Networked data collection is widely recognized to be more efficient and cost-effective than manual on-foot and in-car systems – this takes smart grid investments to the next level,” Doyle said.
“As the utility industry transitions to reformed business models, edge computing and distributed intelligence will be a key part of the data framework. Utilities will need to provide customers with services very different from current consumption-based rate plans, such as multi-year, grid support, or reliability plans.
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“There are endless possibilities offered by the use of edge computing that can support the future direction of the utility business model.”
When considering the next wave of AMI deployments, Doyle suggests that the business case needs to include more incremental elements, namely moving from a business model focused on connecting customers, hardening networks and managing outages to “the active management and coordination of distributed resources, creating a marketplace for customers to prioritize, optimize, compensate, store and inject energy into the grid, and expand visibility into client-side assets”.
Doyle dove into real-world business case examples, elaborating on the cost-benefit of layering additional applications and use cases offered by distributed intelligence capabilities.
This Session Itron Inspire EMEA as well as all other sessions are available on request.