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How Energy Management Systems Make Renewables Reliable

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Worldwide, the energy management systems industry is thriving. According to Fortune Business Insights, global EMS market is valued at USD 18,269.6 Million in 2018 and is projected to hit USD 48,901.1 Million by 2026.

As more companies take bold steps to become greener, renewable energy resources take the center stage as a viable power source. However, it is well-known that renewable energy is unpredictable, intermittent, and uncontrollable. Its reliability is influenced by variable factors such as weather patterns, environmental conditions, and geographical location.  Energy output in a solar farm can suddenly drop due to clouds hovering over solar panels. Wind power output fluctuates along with wind speed which cannot be forecasted accurately. Harnessing these sustainable resources is quite challenging, but the drawbacks can be addressed with the use of energy management systems.

 

What is an energy management system?

An energy management system is essentially a system of devices that control and monitor energy-consuming equipment. Its most basic form is a time clock and a thermostat. Recent energy management systems use direct digital control that use a proprietary software or a set of protocols to make the various components of the system work together. Technological advancements such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have opened many opportunities for creating smarter energy management systems. Among the more popular technology is IoT (Internet of Things) for energy management.

IoT-based solar systems and wind turbines can offset grid power use (sourced from both fossil fuels and renewable resources) by partially or fully meeting a facility’s energy demand. This system gives business owners several advantages:

  • flexibility to switch between renewable energy resource or power from the grid
  • optimize power flow during off-peak and peak periods
  • have visibility on how and where energy is consumed

In an IoT system, the devices that measure, monitor, and control energy usage in a facility transmit information to a database. The software consolidates all data and generates a comprehensive analysis on energy use pattern. With this information, business owners can spot opportunities to improve these key performance indicators: energy costs and carbon emissions.

 

Icons made by DinosoftLabs from www.flaticon.com

 

 

Case Study 1: Energy Management in the Tourism Sector

Since 2014, a 4-star luxury resort in the Philippines has been saving up to 44% of their annual energy costs with the help of an energy management system. Electricity is intermittent in their area. While the resort still relies on diesel fuel for power, they have been able to reduce their energy costs significantly over the years.

After conducting energy audits and having an energy management system in place, they were able to identify several opportunities for energy savings. Among the conservation measures implemented was the use of natural ventilation by redesigning the roofing, and proper orientation of the rooms (to reduce heat gain during the day). One of the high impact changes that the resort implemented is the integration of solar energy for heating and lighting.

To date, they have been a recipient of the ASEAN Green Hotel Award for their achievements in sustainable tourism.

 

Case Study 2: Home Energy Management System

A home energy management system developed by Al-Ali et. Al1 integrates solar energy with grid supplied power. The system is also capable of communicating with the local utility server in order to schedule power requirements during peak and off-peak periods. Use of solar energy have reduced the electric bill of the home by as much as 33%.

Energy management systems present an opportunity for businesses to achieve significant savings through energy efficiency and renewable energy resource use. With the help of available technologies, companies are more equipped to hit their sustainability goals.

References:

[1] Al-Ali, A. R., El-Hag, A., Bahadiri, M., Harbaji, M., Haj Y. A. E. Smart Home Renewable Energy Management System, 2011. 12, 120–126.

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Theresa Banta
Theresa Banta

Theresa is an energy professional with a passion for living green. She has helped startups and large organizations in the renewable energy sector advance projects from ideas to operation. When out of the office, you will find her running a 5k or taking a leisurely walk in the mountains.

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