The Communication and Control Testbed for Microgrid Applications, the first energy-focused testbed, was today announced by the Industrial Internet Consortium.
Member organisations including Real-Time Innovations (RTI), National Instruments, and Cisco, will collaborate on the project, working with power utility firms CPS Energy and Southern California Edison. Additionally, Duke Energy and power industry organisation Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) will be also involved.
In order to put an end to renewable energy waste in neighbourhoods or businesses, a new architectural innovation was found to be needed.
Today’s power grid relies on a central-station architecture, which is not designed to interconnect distributed and renewable power sources such as roof-top solar and wind turbines. The system must over-generate power to compensate for rapid variation in power generation or demands.
The Communication and Control Testbed will introduce the flexibility of real-time analytics and control to increase efficiencies, ensuring that power is generated more accurately and reliably to match demand.
The solution proposes re-architecting electric power grids to include a series of distributed microgrids which will control smaller areas of demand with distributed generation and storage capacity.
These microgrids will operate independently from the main electric power grid, but will still interact and be coordinated with the existing infrastructure.
In order to ensure a coordinated, accepted architecture based on modern, cross-industry industrial internet technologies, companies taking part in the venture will work with Duke Energy and SGIP.
The Communications and Control framework will be developed in three phases, with initial developments being tested in Southern California Edison’s Controls Lab in Westminster, CA.
The final stage of the project will culminate in a field deployment that will take place at CPS Energy’s "Grid-of-the-Future" microgrid test area in San Antonio, Texas.
Stan Schneider, RTI’s CEO and IIC Steering Committee member, said: "The smart grid is a critical infrastructure component of the Industrial Internet of Things.
"The IIoT will span industries, sensor to cloud, power to factory, and road to hospital. This key first step will address a significant barrier to the efficient use of green energy."
Kip Compton, VP/GM, Internet of Things Systems and Software Group, Cisco, said: "Analytics and controls are essential for a successful energy transition, addressing limited scalability and renewables, siloed networks, rigid controls and slow human intervention.
"Cisco is proud to take part in the deployment of this energy-centric testbed, combining real time analytics on a highly secure microgrid architecture, for a reliable and efficient grid of the future."
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