A connected, secure, intelligent smart grid is key for sustainable, efficient energy management in a Smart City. The Smart Grid is a power supply network combining smart meters and a range of automation, data and communications solutions. Now, with renewable energy and the introduction of Smart Metering not only will energy management be more efficient but it will lead to a greener future.
A Smart Meter records the consumption of energy and communicates that information regularly back to the relevant utility, thereby enabling two-way communications. All meters connected to the smart grid be they gas, electricity, water or heat will relay information to both the consumer and the utility. The consumer can see how much energy is being used and reduce or increase as necessary and the utility is supplied with up-to-date information without having to use manpower to read meters. Secure communications are extremely important and selecting the right communications protocol is paramount.
Renewable Energy Production Management
Smart Sensors have an important role to play in the renewable energy sector. Efficient energy production and a reliable supply is key to ensuring that today’s supply of renewable energy is a key for today’s energy suppliers. The IoT has brought about new ways of overcoming the challenging environments where some of these renewable energy facilities are based. By utilising smart sensors, high performance controllers and secure communications, real-time controls and analytics are now possible so that monitoring energy flow for effective management of energy usage is possible. Predictive maintenance is now also possible which reduces outages and therefore costs.
Finding a parking space in a busy city is often impossible and can involve circling around and around an area searching for a space, adding to congestion and pollution. Now, thanks to sensors which can be connected to central data systems, drivers can see the availability of a space by using their mobile device. A typical example is when infrared sensors are placed in the centre of each parking bay. These sensors then communicate with nearby wireless receivers via a communications protocol, which then transmits the information to a central reporting system and then onto mobile data network.
An important part of a Smart City is Waste Management. Level sensors can be incorporated into waste containers these sensors will then alert a control centre when the container is full. A routing software then communicates the information received into a route plan which can guide the refuse truck to the container that needs emptying. This saves fuel and reduces pollution by only requiring refuse trucks to come when necessary. This is a sector which will be continually developing in the Smart environment of tomorrow so watch this space.