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Open Energy Data Platform For The Future of Energy

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Energy Data Platform?

Utilities have lots of data, not much of it is easily available, synchronized, and in the same place. Rich situational awareness, outage management, real-time performance monitoring, DER control and analytics, among myriad other use-cases that aid reliability and resiliency are only effective if you have all your data sources linked together and feeding data into a centralized system. An Open Energy Data Platform acts as a data warehouse, which gives you the flexibility to integrate data sources easily, whether they’re from generation, consumption, or both (V2G), in whatever format, at whatever frequency, and whatever device. It performs heavy lifting to prepare, cleanse, and synchronize all data sources together, while making the data rapidly accessible to authorized users and systems. 

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle

What’s the problem?

For the average utility, modern data reading devices now produce millions, if not billions of data points a day. Billions. Together, SCADA and AMI networks alone produce mind boggling amounts of data. To add to that, SolarPV, battery storage, Charging infrastructure (EVSE), Grid Edge appliances, and weather data each sit in a repository somewhere, often siloed from the other data sources, despite the fact that they’re inextricably linked and connected in the grid. These siloed data sources make performing analysis, designing algorithms and building applications time-consuming, highly complex and often result in being incomplete.

Let’s take an example

A utility data analyst, data scientist or distribution engineer wants to correlate DER output throughout the day with EV charging habits to understand the percentage of renewable energy powering EVs in the service territory. The analyst goes to the Jinko SolarPV database where generation information is stored, two storage metrology databases, sonnen and Generac, for data on battery device output, the SCADA historian for energy pulled into the relevant feeders, and upstream generation data to incorporate energy source renewable percentage from the transmission grid. Accessing this information is a complex, multi-faceted database extraction process, followed by lengthy synchronization and cleansing efforts to build datasets in the shape needed to perform the analytics. Additionally, sometimes the tools collecting this data provide pre-made visualizations of it, but have proprietary formats or do not provide direct access to the data itself, making further analytics even impossible.

The Open Energy Data Platform removes the need for this effort. The data platform has all relevant data integrated, secure and accessible only to authorized parties or employees. It enables rapid, scalable extraction of specific data, which arrives pre-synchronized, in a structured format, and which connects directly to your analytical tool of choice. 

What features are needed to make a data platform like this work?

Data Model Design

The data must be provided in a form that is both specific to and universal across utility and industrial energy systems. A data model (or schema) has to be designed for this purpose.

Key Attributes

  • Relational data model semantics specialized for time series and geospatial data. 
  • 360° view of data relationships and dependencies across datasets.
  • Highly adaptable, scalable, portable and performant. 
  • Highly secure, with data governance policies built-in and automated.

Data Quality

The ingestion process into the platform must involve validation, estimation and error correction (VEE), and synchronization on all data as it is ingested and transformed to conform to the model.

Key Attributes

  • Data validation, estimation, and error correction performed on ingested data.
  • Identification of gaps in data and location of data blind spots.
  • Synchronization of time series data sources to ensure consistency.

Data quality is a crucial factor when analyzing and operating energy systems. Systems responsible for reliably operating an electrical grid, such as SCADA, OMS and ADMS heavily rely on accurate data. Automating data quality improvement across all data sources ensures that these systems function in the way they are designed.

Accessing Data

Accessing data from the platform must be a seamless, repeatable process. It has to save time, and remove the need to manually request and wait for data from IT.

Key attributes

  • Easily queryable data model.
  • Possible to easily aggregate and combine data sources.
  • Predefined functions for “lighter lifting”.
  • SQL support.
  • RESTful API support.
  • [Optional] Direct support for other programming languages (e.g. Python).

Accessing data must be underpinned by highly secure data protection and cybersecurity policies. While the data model is public, the data itself is not; the word “open” means the utility is not locked out of their own data by vendors.

Gradual data onboarding

Data integration shouldn’t be a bottleneck. An energy data platform should allow users to grow the number of data sources feeding into the system over time. Starting small, focusing on the most important data sources first, and growing those sources over time decreases time to value, minimizes growing pains, and promotes a more agile, iterative approach to data integration.

Key attributes

  • Ability to layer in data sources over time. Integrate data from time-series measurement devices, such as DER, EVSE, and others when it makes sense.
  • Start with a limited number of data sources initially.
  • Must be sensor and device agnostic.
  • Provides rapid time to value with any number of data sources being ingested.

Connect your tools

The platform should be capable of allowing connections directly from the applications you use to perform analytics, design algorithms, and operate the energy system.

Key attributes

How does this translate to benefits?

The benefits of having this type of platform, designed specifically for energy and power delivery, is that there’s no longer a need to fit a square peg in a round hole. Data repositories designed for “every” use-case, across “every” industry sacrifice depth for breadth. Maximum benefits cannot be achieved when data models are not designed specific to certain datasets. 

It is crucial to optimize your data repository and data model for energy systems and energy data. Only then can you guarantee that the information your teams and systems need in order to analyze and operate the grid is useful. It arrives as cleansed data, in optimal format, is rapidly accessible, and can easily be used to perform analytics, design algorithms, and build applications.

Awesense practices these policies, helping our utility and industrial customers prepare for the future of energy.

Corporate Sustainability Report: 2020

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Awesense is proud to release our inaugural Corporate Sustainability Report. This report has been compiled with help from many individuals in the organization, and has been an important project in helping us continue to drive positive environmental, societal and global impact.

As a Cleantech company, whose mission is to optimize energy systems, accelerate the growth of renewable energy, and reduce carbon emissions, this report is our message to the world that we are accountable and practicing what we preach. It aims to provide transparency to all our customers, partners, and stakeholders on how we are approaching our mission, and contributing to global progress through our work.

We want to highlight our effort towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the areas we have excelled in during the past year, and what our goals are going forward. Additionally, as a means of tracking our progress, the Awesense team has calculated our entire organization’s carbon footprint. This will serve as a benchmark going forward, and we will continue trying to improve our impact on the environment.

Access and download the Awesense Corporate Sustainability Report: 2020 here.

Please reach out to info@awesense.com for any enquiries.

Digital Workplace: Cleantech Culture Series, Vol. 1

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Long gone are the days where we wake up to commute to work, saying goodbye to the dog and our partners for the day. What was once the mundane low of our day is no longer a tragic endeavor- from home to the office is now from bed to the dining table. That is why we decided to take that time saved and introduce our newest series on our culture here at Awesense. In this series, we’re going to explore some of what makes us Awesense, a dedicated, passionate team of multi-disciplined and diverse individuals. In our first episode, we’re exploring how we’ve transitioned to a work-from-home environment, to a Digital Workplace, and how we as an organization have dealt with the issues associated with it. We hope to enlighten you on what has worked well for us this year. That’s also why we decided to start with the most important question of all- why?

Why Do We Work From Home?

Some cite COVID, other’s cite the technology that enabled the digital shift- like Zoom and Slack. But that technology existed long before, when business was synonymous for meetings in conference rooms and travel to coordinate with clients. In fact, business mobility was seen as a crucial success factor in years leading up to the digital transition, even for us. 

In 2019 and early 2020, Awesense employees regularly travelled across Canada and the USA to visit clients, partners and industry events. In October, before the pandemic, Awesense sent a big team to Seattle for GridFWD. By the next major industry event, DistribuTECH, held in San Antonio in late January, Covid-19 was becoming well documented and uncertainty began to rise. Nerves around travel were heightened when people began to travel with masks and visors. 

It didn’t take long for cases to skyrocket, and by March 12th when our local work from home order was announced, it was clear the world was only going in one direction. Some companies struggled to adapt to employees working from home; IT, security and logistical issues plagued the transition across the board. But Awesense’s transition was seamless for a few reasons.

Digital Workplace, Why Has It Worked So Well?

First of all, Awesense has always had a very strict work from home illness policy. When employees were feeling under the weather, they were always asked to stay home and work remotely, for their safety, and the safety of everyone else. Secondly, Awesense is a Cleantech software company. On a whole, Awesense employees are highly technical, work in an agile manner, and are more than capable of adapting to new technologies. Zoom, Slack, and Google Drive were already used regularly by the organization. We simply started using them more often and in more innovative ways. 

We began our work from home transition by taking our essential meetings and adapting them to a digital atmosphere and the digital workplace. We implemented virtual townhalls and weekly huddles for the wider team to get together, and virtual standups every morning for each team to sync before the day. Not only did this allow us to maintain our modus operandi, but even encouraged wider inclusion to meetings for those who previously were unable to attend. 

Our company culture is focused on inclusion and cooperation. Everyone turns their video on during every call, maintaining face to face interactions and strengthening the human aspects of working from home, fostering an inclusive environment. This is possible because of the comfort our employees feel sharing their personal space in the professional realm. This has allowed us to get to know a different side of our colleagues with a view into their home offices, and surprise visits from their pets! And as for cooperation, Awesense employee’s comfort working from home allows them to work with their teams to achieve their work goals, daily. 

Apply One, Apply All!

These COVID-19 triggered benefits later developed into more flexible hiring. Talent acquisition no longer needed to be focused in Vancouver, where our HQ is located. Today, we have opportunities for people across Canada.  This has allowed us to widen our pool of knowledgeable experts and gives opportunities to people in less advantaged communities. We are committed to workplace diversity, and this move allowed us to strengthen that initiative by hiring people outside advantaged city communities. We are unsure of when the pandemic will end, but we will likely continue to offer flexible working conditions for Awesense employees. 

Is That You, Future Of Work?

In addition, Awesense’s shift to flexible working policies and the digital workplace could be part of a major shift in the way human beings work going forward. Humans, and especially Canadians, have a deep connection to nature and the outdoors. Technology advancements and high speed internet mean living in expensive, busy cities, with high levels of air and noise pollution may no longer be necessary to access well paid employment opportunities. As a Cleantech company, our employees are deeply committed to mitigating climate change and protecting the environment- that involves connecting with nature on a personal level. Because of this, the Awesense team is no longer restricted to Vancouver as their home, and can move anywhere to be closer to nature. The Rocky Mountains, Selkirk, and Columbia Mountain Ranges, not known for their tech-hubs, could feasibly become home to many tech workers going forward. The work from home transition has decentralized working opportunities, in our case, for the better.

Technology companies have long been at the forefront of driving innovative changes, and this work from home shift. With support from the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook, this is now a reality. The pandemic has shown us that working from home, and being productive, is more than just possible, it’s probable. So why do we work from home? Not because we have to, but because it is the future that allows our employees to do their best work, and be their best selves. That future of work is here, and Awesense is proud to be leading the charge. 

Microgrids: Clean Energy Basics Vol. 1

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Summary

A microgrid is a self-contained energy system that can disconnect entirely from the main electricity grid. This allows it to operate autonomously without facing the disruptions that affect the larger energy systems when we have outages. Microgrids can be powered by a variety of modern energy sources, and can be more cost effective, reliable and resilient than relying on the local energy grid. Microgrids are often used in smaller communities or industrial production facilities, where a limited number of customers and buildings are powered by localized energy generation.

Key takeaways

  • Microgrids are self-contained energy systems that disconnect from the larger power grid
  • They can be powered by a variety of sources, ranging from distributed energy resources to batteries
  • Microgrids are often used in small communities or industrial sites to power local operations 

Microgrids, how do they work?

Microgrids are autonomously operating energy systems that maintain control of a power supply in a specified geographic area. These areas are sometimes industrial production sites such as large manufacturing plants or small local communities. They are used to ensure a reliable supply of electricity in a region where volatility and issues are occurring outside of the microgrid. 

Microgrids can be powered by a wide range of sources that might normally power parts of a wider energy system. These are often renewable generation sources such as solar panels, wind power, geothermal and nowadays, energy storage devices, and even electric vehicles which can inject energy from their batteries into the grid, among other sources of power. Large, centralized energy sources lose a significant amount of power during transmission; microgrids allow for a larger conservation of power and efficiency of energy usage from a closer source of generation. 

As part of the larger energy system, microgrids have the ability to integrate themselves into the wider grid, as well as function autonomously. This allows for a connection when it’s beneficial to the grid, but also a disconnect when the main grid isn’t functioning optimally. This last point is particularly relevant during weather events and emergencies that affect the grid.

Having a microgrid in your local community might benefit you significantly. By having a local power source that is independent of the wider grid, major outages on the grid are unlikely to affect your local geographic area. Furthermore, Microgrids can help lower your costs because of the efficient power transfer from local sources. 

Further Reading

Awesense authors are committed to sourcing information from reliable sources. These include primary sources, white papers, and government websites among others, when available. If you have any questions regarding the information on this page, please contact marketing@awesense.com

Awesense Deploys Its Digital Energy Platform To Accelerate V2G, Storage And Microgrid Integration With Northwest Utility.

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VANCOUVER, B.C., Jan. 27, 2021 // Awesense’s technology has been selected as a partner in a project involving the integration of Electric Vehicle charging stations (EVSE), Energy Storage Systems (ESS), and a microgrid controller, to analyze, manage and optimize the use of these technologies in a pilot program focused on building resiliency and reducing costs. 

The goal of the project is to provide a next generation DERMS solution with unparalleled situational awareness and the ability to make decisions and control DER based on real-time grid conditions. The joint solution, developed between Awesense and Doosan GridTech will integrate Awesense’s Digital Energy platform, and Doosan’s DERMS software, DERO.

The microgrid will include Vehicle-to-Grid-enabled EVSE, capable of discharging stored energy from connected EVs back into the grid and provide support during an outage or other events. Located within and outside the microgrid, are utility-owned large scale ESS devices, controllable by the DERMS solution. These devices will also be leveraged to optimize for a set of pre-defined use-case scenarios, from congestion management, to peak load reduction and voltage support. All the use-cases aim to demonstrate the flexibility, scalability and value of DERs in the grid. By demonstrating that by leveraging advanced analytics with data, the grid of the future is not only reliable, resilient, and flexible but also powered by clean renewable energy.

“We are excited to be working with Doosan GridTech, and their award-winning DERO team on this project.” said Mischa Steiner, CEO at Awesense. “Our joint solution will demonstrate the opportunities energy companies have to adopt clean renewable solutions today, and will provide a new generation of grid management.”

“Due to their reputation for advanced integrated analytics, we decided to bring Awesense into this next level upgrade of our premier DERMS platform,” said Troy Nergaard, CEO of Doosan GridTech, “Working with one of the earliest pioneering municipal utilities in developing our original DERMS solution — for this stage, we needed to collaborate with a proven digital agency who can accurately deliver real-time insights and situational awareness across multiple DER grid assets.”

The combination of Awesense’s real-time situational awareness, and DERO’s algorithmic and control capabilities will provide an application suite needed to tackle the expected growth of Distributed Energy being connected to the grid.

Awesense® is an award-winning organization, founded over a decade ago with a mission to help utilities and industrials optimize and decarbonize their systems. Today, Awesense has developed a Digital Energy Platform to address these goals, and has an international team with customers across four continents. The Awesense solution, driven by its powerful data engine and open energy platform, accelerates the transition to the grid of the future. www.awesense.com

Doosan GridTech® is a multidisciplined team of power system engineers, software developers and turnkey energy storage specialists. They help electric utilities and other megawatt-scale power producers evaluate, procure, integrate and optimize energy storage, solar power and other DER.  www.doosangridtech.com

Media Contact

Andrew Yagüe, Business Development

Awesense

andrew.yague@awesense.com

UOC and Awesense, winners of the Tech&Climate challenge to measure and reduce the environmental impact of the technology sector

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  • Measuring the effective use of resources in the cloud and digitalising the use of energy to optimise its efficiency are the solutions that offer the best response to the challenge presented by Digital Future Society with the collaboration of the Commissioner of 2030 Agenda at Barcelona City Council.
  • The call for entries offers the chance to pilot the solution with the support of the Digital Future Society team, a financial contribution for the project and collaborative synergies.

Barcelona, 27 July 2020.- The technological solutions of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and Awesense (Canada) were crowned winners of the Tech&Climate challenge, convened by Digital Future Society with the collaboration of Barcelona City Council. The initiative, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of technological companies and which has a provision of up to €40,000 per winner, will enable the implementation of both pilot projects in Barcelona with the aim of finding solutions in the digital environment that help the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The UOC has designed a tool for evaluating the environmental impact of cloud computing, which uses large amounts of energy. This solution measures the effective use of resources in the cloud and calculates the energy expended, which makes it possible to develop energy efficiency policies for optimal consumption. In turn, Awesense presented a software platform for optimising the production and consumption of energy in energy systems. The solution digitalises the use of energy, optimising its efficiency and identifying problems by tracking parameters in real time.

The launch of the call for entries took place in April, the proposals were evaluated during June and over the first few weeks of July the jury selected the winning solutions. In total, 27 projects were received, more than half were international, with solutions proposed from Singapore, Sweden, Brazil, Rwanda and Pakistan. The solutions presented had to be tested and their implementation had to be technically feasible in under 12 months. Also, the tools had to be scaleable and future-proof, foreseeing immediate future scenarios in relation to technological changes and trends.

The jury that participated in the deliberation is comprised of technology and climate emergency specialists: Cristina Colom, director of Digital Future Society (Mobile World Capital Barcelona); Miquel Rodríguez, commissioner of 2030 Agenda at Barcelona City Council; Michael Donaldson, commissioner for Digital Innovation, e-Government and Good Governance at Barcelona City Council; Lluís Torrent, expert in climate change and sustainability; and Júlia López, European regional director of the C40.

The national and international call for entries for technological solutions was managed by the Digital Future Society Lab, which seeks to identify and implement innovative ideas that respond to the challenges of the digital age. The challenges make it possible to connect global players and carry out local initiatives through projects in collaboration with partners from the public and private sector. The solutions implemented are proof of how technology is the means for a fairer and more sustainable society.

This initial Tech&Climate challenge arose out of a collaboration led by Digital Future Society (an initiative backed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Red.es and Mobile World Capital Barcelona), and by Barcelona City Council -through the third tenure, specifically the Commissioner of 2030 Agenda and the Digital Transition department with the collaboration of the municipal Foundation BIT Habitat-.

Opening the doors to digitalization: Awesense partners with Nexxlon & Industriepark Werk Bobingen

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Awesense is delighted to announce that we are integrating the True Geospatial Intelligence (TGI) solution with Industriepark Werk Bobingen (IWB) along with the support from Nexxlon, our partner in Germany to kickstart a pilot project. As the energy transition accelerates, grid operators are now taking on more responsibility as they manage the distribution grid. By utilizing real-time high quality data, we are helping energy and industrial companies better understand their grid and accelerate the expansion of renewables and e-mobility.

While integrating renewables and EVs into behind the meter grids, the Awesense platform will help IWB track their facility’s energy performance, visualize energy flow across the grid and enable a better understanding of where issues are arising. We will be working closely with our client to develop a strategy to digitize and modernize the energy system of the industrial park to help reduce their carbon footprint and work towards their sustainability driven goals. We will create a digital representation of the facility’s electrical model using the TGI data engine, which will ingest data from various data sources to provide a real-time situational view of the network performance of the industrial park. Automated reports and dashboards can be created to better understand how IWB’s facility is performing across the organization with analytics that provide actionable insights to further build their decarbonization strategy. The platform will help IWB determine where gaps exist in sensing and monitoring capabilities so they can be rectified and more closely analyzed. With this recent project, the Awesense platform will be used to optimize the energy system in the industrial park, which has a high peak load, serving many large-scale industrial customers, and our data engine will be core to the facility’s modernization and sustainability goals.

At our core, we believe that digitalization is the first step to decarbonization. Our platform is the digital layer that can help build a digital energy future. Awesense has set itself the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 100 million tons by 2025. To get there, expanding our market in Germany with highly progressive customers and sustainability goals means we are contributing even further to our mission as a company.

As we expand our business in Europe, Nexxlon has been the ideal partner to help us implement our growth strategy with their strong regional presence and network of highly aggressive companies looking to modernize their energy systems


Karel Dietrich-Nespesny, President and COO of Awesense

With Nexxlon we have opened doors to a new level of digitalization. We are excited to be participating in this energy transition and to help others achieve their modernization goals one facility at a time.

Sensors for the distribution grid: Could we get to a $99 grid sensor and what impact would that have?

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When we began Awesense, the biggest problem that we had was obtaining data. As an industry we’ve had SCADA systems for many decades, and AMI was just starting to be deployed. Now, AMI is has nearly 60% penetration in the United States, but we’ve seen that this does not solve visibility issues across the distribution grid. AMI and SCADA combined still leave a lot of complicated assets between the substation and the residential, commercial, or industrial meter to monitor and understand. Within this area, visibility is virtually non-existent.

Continue reading “Sensors for the distribution grid: Could we get to a $99 grid sensor and what impact would that have?”

Industrial and Commercial Energy Use Optimization

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Industrial and Commercial Energy Use

Energy usage in industrial and commercial sectors is becoming increasingly scrutinized. The US EIA stated in the International Energy Outlook Report that the industrial sector consumes about 54% of the world’s total delivered energy. And there are no plans to slow down. Energy consumption in the sector is expected to increase from 222 quadrillion BTUs in 2012 to 309 quadrillion BTUs in 2040. 

Continue reading “Industrial and Commercial Energy Use Optimization”