Kyocera and LO3 Energy to test blockchain-managed VPP
Kyocera Corporation and LO3 Energy Inc. have announced a joint project to test the feasibility of a blockchain-managed virtual power plant (VPP).
The testing of the peer-to-peer distributed consensus network will start 28 Feb, 2019 at Kyocera’s Yokohama Nakayama Office in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, where a small VPP will be installed using the company’s solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and batteries.
The energy will be controlled through LO3 Energy’s distributed ledger technology to log and manage energy flow. LO3’s blockchain technology is used for verifying and recording transactions, enabling consumer “sharing” of energy they produce with their own solar panels via a microgrid, which can reduce the burden on the larger energy grid.
In Japan, where renewables play a major role in the government’s energy portfolio plans, a dedicated research initiative is under way to create new “smart” energy networks. Kyocera has continually provided solar power generating systems and storage batteries for Japan’s government-led VPP test projects, developing new expertise in remotely controlled distributed power resources. By combining Kyocera’s expertise with LO3 Energy’s blockchain technologies, the companies will evaluate VPPs that promote a low-carbon society without fuels or CO2 emissions.
Hironao Kudo, Deputy General Manager of Kyocera Corporation’s Corporate R&D Group said: “Kyocera is committed to developing low-carbon solutions that maximize renewable energy resources. We are excited to be the company in the area of grid management in Japan to collaborate with LO3 Energy, which has consistently proven its blockchain technologies all around the world.” Kyocera entered the renewable energy field in the 1970s with solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and has continued to diversify its business into storage batteries and HEMS solutions.
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“The need to reduce carbon emissions is exerting a profound impact on energy providers worldwide,” said Lawrence Orsini, CEO of LO3 Energy. “Using distributed ledger technologies, our networks enable the micro energy transactions needed to meet this challenge. We believe the synergies between Kyocera and LO3 Energy will produce a new generation of virtual power plants that can accelerate Japan’s transition to a low-carbon society.”
Kyocera’s solar power generating systems and storage batteries will be installed in the Yokohama Nakayama Office to simulate separate power users. The companies will further develop their VPP technology using data from IoT sensors to increase the accuracy of distributed power sources used by the project’s simulated Transmission and Distribution System Operators.
In addition, the companies will examine power-control results using LO3 Energy’s expertise in blockchain technologies that have been proven worldwide. LO3 Energy’s peer-to-peer platform helps control power generation and availability among connected users, which facilitates an effective test environment. Through this testing, the companies will develop new ways to expand the efficiency of existing energy transmission and distribution networks in Japan and worldwide.
AI's role in remote monitoring rises
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp, has begun a pilot program that uses AI to help reduce outages caused by equipment failures.
As part of its grid enhancement program, OG&E will leverage collaborative AI-powered image recognition technology that enables engineers to complete distribution pole inspections with greater accuracy and helps to reduce manual review of images.
TRC Companies, an engineering and digitally focused consulting firm with expertise in IT/OT solutions, will provide overall program management for the pilot. eSmart Systems will provide the advanced technology used during the pilot, including a best practice called Collaborative AI, with their Grid Vision solution.
The solution is designed to analyse photographic images of distribution poles to identify defects, catalogue asset inventory and identify risk issues that need to be addressed to better maintain reliability.
The solution is expected to accelerate image analysis and improve the inspection process, while increasing efficiency, improving safety, and enhancing overall reliability. The program will initially focus on woodpecker damage as a specific use case. Woodpeckers can and do cause considerable damage to wooden distribution/power poles in a short period of time and this technology allows OG&E to better respond to deterioration and utilise a consistent approach for repairs and replacements.
"We have been excited about eSmart since hearing about them through our partnership with Energy Impact Partners (EIP). Utilising cutting-edge technology in the form of AI to inspect our distribution poles makes our electric grid smarter, improves our business processes and helps to keep the lights on for our customers," said Zac Gladhill, Director of Grid Integration and Innovation for OG&E. "We anticipate this technology will reduce the amount of time our engineers spend sifting through photographs of poles and "triaging" potential damage. We currently anticipate applying the technology to identify additional uses in our transmission and distribution network if the pilot meets performance objectives."
"Helping our clients integrate and fully leverage these types of advanced technologies is at the core of what we do in digital at TRC. The ability to utilize our expertise in grid enhancement to combine technology with solving clients' issues in new and innovative ways is just one way we are expanding capabilities for our clients," said Ryan Renner, TRC's President, Digital Solutions.
Knut Johansen, CEO of eSmart Systems, said he was excited to be partnering with OG&E and TRC to develop a solution that will help to improve the inspection process, increase efficiency, and improve safety.
IBM and Black & Veatch recently announced a collaboration to jointly market Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, including remote monitoring technologies that combine near real-time data analytics with AI to help customers keep equipment and assets running at peak performance and reliability.
Faced with aging equipment, tightening budgets, increased regulation and rapidly changing market dynamics, operators and engineers require increased visibility into their equipment performance and asset conditions.
The companies are collaborating on solutions combining Black & Veatch Asset Management Services (AMS) and digital analytics with IBM Maximo Application Suite.
They are also planning to expand the IBM Digital Twin Exchange using Black & Veatch's digital twin asset models. "Digital twins will be a necessary part of the industrial sector's digital future because of the detailed understanding they provide and expert analysis they enable for complex assets," said Dave Brill, Vice President and Director of Asset Management Services with Black & Veatch.