“Smart Grid” Gets Smarter as Trilliant Surpasses Delivery of 750,000 Intelligent Devices
Escalating energy costs, combined with growing energy demand and increased regulatory pressures, have led to substantial innovations within the energy industry.Chief among these is the growth of the Smart Grid, a vastly improved means of managing energy delivery that incorporates principals and best practices from the computer networking industry. Given this environment, Trilliant Incorporated, the leader in delivering intelligent networks that power the Smart Grid, is pleased to report that the company has now delivered more than 750,000 devices with integrated intelligent communications supporting advanced metering, demand response and other Smart Grid applications.
“This level of adoption is more than simply an important milestone for Trilliant, implementing more than 750,000 advanced metering and other grid devices represents a tipping point in the maturation of the Smart Grid,” said Bill Vogel, Founder, Senior Vice President Strategic Development of Trilliant.”As energy costs continue to escalate, and as we approach another hot summer season, it’s gratifying to see such demonstrable progress in addressing the world’s energy challenges; chief among them being the reduction of carbon emissions.”
Smart Grid 101
The Smart Grid is a combination of hardware, management and reporting software, built atop an intelligent communications infrastructure. In the world of the Smart Grid, consumers and utility companies alike have tools to manage, monitor and respond to energy issues. The flow of electricity from utility to consumer becomes a two-way conversation, saving consumers’ money, delivering more transparency to end-user usage to the utilities, and reducing carbon emissions. In some cases, consumers could even be compensated for their efforts to minimize their carbon footprint; even to the point where consumers can sell the energy generated through renewable sources at home back to utility companies.
And why does the world need a Smart Grid? First and foremost, utility companies are striving to reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. energy grid is the source of one-third of America’s atmospheric carbon dioxide. Each 1 MM premises that are connected to a Smart Grid is equivalent to replacing 3.3 MM light bulbs or 833,000 tons of CO2. Furthermore, optimizing the management of energy supply and demand means a reduction in the likelihood of crippling regional blackouts. Power outages cost the U.S. $80 billion every year, with the August 2003 Cleveland blackouts alone resulting in $4.5-12 billion in lost economic activity.
Finally, governments around the world are putting regulatory guidelines in place to help utilities adopt best practices with respect to Smart Grid implementations. The government of Ontario, Canada, through the “Energy Conservation Responsibility Act in 2006,” has mandated the installation of Smart Meters in all Ontario businesses and households by 2010. Considered one of the most forward-thinking policies in North America, the policy has catalyzed the region to the point where Ontario is the de facto leader in implementing the Smart Grid. In the U.S., initiatives such as the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” have created guidelines and mandates with respect to Smart Grid adoption.
“The need for two-way communication between the utility and its customers lies at the heart of all Smart Grid initiatives,” said Ahmad Faruqui of The Brattle Group. “Such communication allows dynamic pricing to be transmitted to customers and it also enables customers to automatically curtail usage during critical hours and to shift energy consumption from high-priced peak periods to low-priced off-peak periods. In this fashion, both parties work synergistically to manage the cost, delivery and environmental impact of power generation and energy services delivery. I applaud the work that companies like Trilliant are doing in this area. They are bringing that day closer when all customers will start to benefit from the Smart Grid.”
Trilliant Experience and Leadership
Since 1985, Trilliant has been delivering innovative products, services and solutions designed to improve energy management. Trilliant products and services are the equivalent to a central nervous system for the Smart Grid, the critical communication layer necessary to process information and control system elements. More than 100 utilities have benefitted from Trilliant’s expertise over the years, many of whom are currently partnering with Trilliant today to help build the Smart Grid.
“By any measure — number of customers, number of installations, years of experience or technological innovation — Trilliant plays a central role in the Smart Grid ecosystem,” said Mareca Hatler, Director of Research/Senior Market Analyst at ON World Inc. “For example, Trilliant was involved in the largest single 2-way fixed wireless deployment (for Hydro One) in 2007, had the largest AMI deployments using IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee standards-based products, and Trilliant had one of largest market shares for 2-way fixed wireless smart meters last year.”
“Success within the Smart Grid is never a one-size-fits-all proposition,” added Vogel. “Trilliant’s role within the Smart Grid is to help facilitate the conversation between utility and consumer, between supply and demand. This requires a significant amount of expertise, and a wide range of solutions. There are nearly as many permutations of the Smart Grid as there are actual conversations.”
The implementations in place today from Trilliant represent a broad portfolio of solutions. Given the diversity of the challenges along the Smart Grid, Trilliant is proud of its ability to offer more choices to utilities. Following is a brief sampling of Trilliant’s customers:
E.ON U.S. subsidiary Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) serves nearly 400,000 electric customers in the greater Louisville area. LG&E is currently working with Trilliant on a responsive pricing program that incorporates time-of-use pricing with a real-time, critical peak pricing component, as well as Demand Side Management (DSM) tools for those customers who choose to participate in responsive pricing. The implementation of this variable rate structure will be possible through the use of smart meters, information displays and DSM equipment such as programmable thermostats and load control switches. Automation of the usage of these loads will allow participants to shift usage without manual intervention on a daily basis.
Hydro One is one of the ten largest utility companies in North America, and the largest electricity delivery company in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Trilliant’s work with the Hydro One Smart Meter Project earned a nod of approval from utility peers, winning the “Best AMR Initiative in North America” award conferred by the Utility Planning Network.
“The Smart Grid represents the future of energy management for our company and for our customers,” said Myles D’Arcey, Senior Vice President, Customer Operations, Hydro One.”Trilliant has been an important strategic partner in establishing Ontario’s Smart Grid through its provision of mesh intelligent communications infrastructure, head-end software applications and smart meters.”
Hydro One Brampton, a subsidiary of Hydro One and representing one of the fastest growing urban centers in Ontario, has long been a leader in bringing innovative solutions to market for the purpose of building a culture of conservation in the greater Ontario area. Even before passage of the Energy Conservation Responsibility Act in 2006, Hydro One Brampton sought to improve the communication between utility and end user through initiatives around solar power, small wind and other renewable energy sources. Because of this culture, Hydro One Brampton is well on its way to meeting the Government of Ontario’s target of installing Smart Meters in all Ontario businesses and households by 2010. The Smart Grid infrastructure being put in place, for example, will provide customers with the information they need to shift their electricity use to an ‘off-peak’ time in the day when electricity is less expensive. Hydro One Brampton is also offering its customers some creative incentives around solar energy usage, and the means for homeowners and businesspeople to harness solar energy and use that energy to offset electricity usage. Through all of these initiatives, Hydro One Brampton has partnered with Trilliant to bring these products and services to market.
“To improve energy efficiency, it needs to be measured. The same is true of innovation,” said Jim McGill of Hydro One Brampton. “Hydro One Brampton is a company that prides itself on bringing innovation to the world of energy efficiency and reduction. We want to be a leader in bringing the Smart Grid to North America. We have been able to implement some very innovative programs here at Brampton as a result of our work with Trilliant. Trilliant provides the network and the expertise to quantify our efforts around reducing carbon emissions.”