Custom-built, energy management system drives business success for demand side aggregator

EMR signs industrial internet of things contract with Powerhouse

Based on ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIoT) technology deployed by EMR, PowerHouse Generation has ability to manage and control its clients’ power assets in the field and remotely withdraw them from or add them to the power grid as required. 

The project centres on the development of a custom-built, energy management system designed to run PowerHouse’s core business processes and facilitate their participation in the demand-side aggregator market across the island of Ireland.

Business Challenge

PowerHouse helps large energy consumers earn revenue by temporarily reducing or delaying their electricity demand on the grid.  It acts as a ‘virtual power station’ made up of lots of different customers.  With direct connections into SONI and Eirgrid from its own network operations centre, the aim of this project was to design and develop a system that would constantly monitor customer energy usage, add a level of energy controllability to individual sites and transport data back to the central SCADA system.

“Through this project, we wanted to assist Eirgrid and SONI to manage the power network and relieve stress on it when they see fit to do so,” explains Sam Thompson, managing director with PowerHouse Generation.  “We wanted to be able to get a more granular level of control across individual client sites allowing us to globally manage power to each of our nodes.”

The Solution

The technology solution takes live data from internet-enabled field assets and delivers it to a centralised SCADA system as Mark Quinn, managing director with EMR Integrated Solutions explained:

“We took the concept of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and designed a secure, resilient telemetry network which would meet the stringent regulatory demands of PowerHouse.

“Our LiveLog Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) are connected to client-side power generators and electricity control panels and essentially act as energy monitoring devices.  They collect and despatch real time data via 3G/4G networks back to a centralised SCADA system located at PowerHouse’s NOC.

“This facilitates data driven decision-making and staff can remotely control client participation on the grid as required.  And with two NOC nodes connecting to EirGrid in the South and SONI in the North, PowerHouse can manage its all-island business easily and cost effectively,” he said.

The SCADA system is based on the Ignition platform and was configured by EMR to meet the specific needs of PowerHouse’s business model.  It offers real-time status control, alarming and reporting through a user-friendly software interface.

Benefits

The custom-designed solution from EMR contains some unique features that set PowerHouse apart from the competition.

  • Facilitates efficient demand-side management in the island of Ireland and participation in the single electricity market.
  • Streamlined business processes allowing for addition or withdrawal of clients from the power grid remotely
  • Unique system features that allow PowerHouse to differentiate their service from the competition
  • PowerHouse can now control a combination of load shedding or generator activation from their NOC

“It not only gives us secure, granular visibility into our clients’ energy usage but uses the power of IIoT to centrally control load shedding or generator activation from our Network Operations Centre (NOC), making the energy management process completely transparent to our customers, said PowerHouse’s Mr Thompson.

The system also gives PowerHouse the scalability to grow, an important feature for an ambitious start-up which has already established itself as the fastest growing DSO active in the all-island electricity market with over 150 individual demand sites on its books.

“We chose EMR as they have a solid track record of working with utility providers,” said Sam Alexander, technical director with Powerhouse.  “As Ireland’s only Gold partner for Ignition and an organisation which had already delivered complex telemetry and SCADA projects throughout the British Isles, we felt our fledgling business was in a safe pair of hands.”