Stony Brook University: managing energy with data
The award was received in recognition for the university’s Office of Energy Management, which has an in-house data analytics platform - a sophisticated tool which pools data from 400 sensor points and utilises a visual heat map to assist visual analysis of the information.
Able to detect anomalies around the campus quickly and deal with them efficiently, the university’s programme has been in place since 2018. Although initially only configured to monitor electricity usage, the application was soon expanded to heating and cooling.
The evolution of IoT (internet of things) and analytics software is providing broad opportunities for optimising a building’s consumption of energy.
A significant decision made by Stony Brook was its preference for a bespoke analytical engine, rather than an ‘off-the-peg’ option. Able to link heating alerts with e-mail notifications, the university can alert staff to a problem before it becomes costly.
Tom Lanzilotta, Campus Sustainability and Energy Manager, stated that creating heat maps for the facility has revolutionised the university’s everyday operations.
“The building heat maps are used daily to ensure buildings are operating as efficiently as possible and do not drift out of range. We are also using the analytics to confirm the effectiveness of recent campus-wide energy projects,” he explained.
“We’ve already seen savings provided by this program, and it has proven to be an invaluable tool for us and will be going forward.”
In a previous article, CSO Magazine explored Microsoft’s partnership with Schneider Electric and Bentley Systems on the Frasers Tower in Singapore - a building which gives an indication of what the offices, schools and homes of tomorrow might be like:
Citing research from IDC, which estimates that there will be 40bn devices generating close to 80ZB of data by the year 2025, Microsoft is pushing the wider technology and construction industry to take note of the advantages facilitated by digital design and integration.
The company chose an ideal location to exhibit its new philosophy: Singapore has been recognised as the most sustainable city in Asia and the fourth overall.
With the adoption of 5G gradually becoming the new industry standard, the possibilities for optimising the sustainability of modern buildings are very exciting and may lead to significant breakthroughs which make ambitious ‘carbon-neutral by 2050’ targets feasible.
Stony Brook University’s adoption of environmentally-conscious, energy-efficient heat mapping is another example of how our everyday lives can be imbued with a sustainable ideology.
The mutually beneficial aspects of incorporating data, analytics, technology and sustainability are apparent and could lead to both cost-saving and saving the environment.
Financing rises in digital platforms and renewables projects
Cold Bore is leading a shift in the completions (fracking) industry towards safer, more autonomous operations by providing oil & gas companies with SmartPAD, a centralised fully integrated software and hardware platform designed to collect, analyse, and report data. Better utilisation of this data unlocks operators’ ability to make improvements across all KPIs.
Results from a recent SmartPAD implementation with Hibernia Resources, saw the Permian-based producer able to reduce the duration of their completions program by 15 days (27%), with commensurate reductions in cost and emissions.
Along with this investment from bp ventures, bp will be deploying Cold Bore’s SmartPAD in bpx energy’s US onshore operations. The technology will support bpx’s efforts to continuously improve its operations.
“The oil & gas industry has realised that technological innovation is key to meeting growing calls for reduced emissions and improved returns. Cold Bore is proud to be playing a leadership role in the future of oil & gas operations.” said Brett Chell, Co-founder & President at Cold Bore Technology.
“As we scale to meet incredible demand, we’re excited to have a strong strategic partner in bp, a forward-thinking international energy company, and to play a part in helping bp reach its carbon and operational targets. The future of the oil & gas industry is autonomous operations."
Existing investors include the Rice Investment Group (RIG), a $200M multi-strategy, energy sector investment fund.
Another company in the spotlight last week was Soltage, a leading independent renewable power producer, which has raised a $130M debt facility led by Silicon Valley Bank. The investment will finance a 110MW national portfolio of projects across North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Illinois, Virginia and Maryland.
The construction of this portfolio will be staged over the next three quarters, with construction currently underway on ten projects across four states. Customers purchasing electricity from the projects financed through this debt vehicle include Investor Owned Utilities buying power under Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) contracts, community solar subscribers and corporations purchasing power from the portfolio to meet clean energy goals and lower energy costs.
Silicon Valley Bank is the Sole Coordinating Lead Arranger of the debt facility with three other banks included as lenders. This facility includes an optional $100M expansion feature to finance additional projects beyond the current set of identified projects. This announcement marks the latest development for the Soltage Iris capital vehicle, following Soltage and Harrison Street's $250M commitment in March to deliver 450MW of new solar, solar+storage and standalone storage development across the US.
"Soltage continues to provide stable investment opportunities for capital providers who are looking for bankable approaches to sustainable infrastructure investment," said Sripradha Ilango, Soltage CFO. "We are pleased to continue to bring to market high quality project portfolios that open avenues for corporations, utilities and families to adopt solar power and achieve decarbonisation priorities."
"We are at a critical point where funding domestic infrastructure to bring more clean energy online in the United States is of the utmost importance," said Bret Turner, Market Manager at Silicon Valley Bank. "Our team is proud to work with Soltage to support building these essential zero carbon energy projects in key locations across the country."
This announcement is part of a continued movement of mainstream investors looking to solar and other renewable infrastructure assets for long-term investment opportunities. Soltage has deployed over $1B into clean energy assets across the US since its founding in 2005.
SVOLT Energy Technology Co., a leading EV battery manufacturer, held a B Round Financing Transaction Ceremony in Changzhou, Jiangsu on July 28. Following the completion of A Round Financing of RMB 3.5 billion ($538 million) at the end of February, the company rapidly closed this third round of market-based equity funding, raising a total amount of RMB 10.28 billion ($1.58 billion).
Last month also saw Longroad Energy, a US-based renewable energy developer, owner and operator, complete term financing for Sun Streams 2, its 200 MWdc solar project in Maricopa County, Arizona. Longroad owns 100 percent of the project after acquiring it in early 2021 from First Solar, the original developer.