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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, 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.

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Situational Awareness – Value for Utilities

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Tied to resiliency

Solar, smart-inverters, EVs, micro-grids. Bigger, more extreme storms and forest fires. Some of these solutions – some problems in the modern grid. Utilities are now faced with the need to build resilience against an uncertain future. 

Utilities are making lengths to improve infrastructure and operational technologies to deal with these problems. But one thing is often overlooked when looking at resilience – situational awareness. 

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Building a Reliable and Resilient Grid

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The recognized need to build a reliable grid stems from the NERC Reliability Standards. These outline the need to maintain grid reliability (meet demand) and grid security (ensure the capacity to resist unforeseen adversity). In recent years, the concepts of reliability and resiliency are becoming increasingly intertwined. 

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Operational Technology and Internet of Energy Integration – Importance for Utilities

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The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and IoT is well underway. The challenge of connecting the ancient grid to modern systems is well known and documented. Grid planners and operators are understanding the need to build a bridge between operations in the physical world and the millions of devices now linked to the network. Integrating these two essential utility facets is key to smoothly transitioning to a smart-grid future. 

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The importance of Connectivity, Topology and GIS Accuracy for Utilities

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Having accurate connectivity, topology and GIS accuracy is crucial for utilities in planning, forecasting and monitoring efforts. Many utilities have realized the importance of building a ‘Digital Twin’, or digital representation of their electrical grid. However, an inaccurate representation of the grid is as good as no representation. An accurate digital grid is a connected grid. Achieving this begins by mapping out the elements and assets active within the system, then comes ensuring those elements are all connected.

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How can utilities increase productivity by x10 with LEAN distribution management?

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LEAN distribution management can help utilities with the rapidly changing landscape of the industry. Aging infrastructure combined with decentralized generation is leading to a cosmic shift in the way utilities operate their grid.

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