The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has issued a paper which looks at the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform the power sector.The paper explores how IoT may transform the power sector through operational optimisation, asset performance management, and engaging customers to lower energy cost through enhanced services and experiences.
The ADB report also identifies current challenges to the adoption of IoT in the Asia-Pacific region.
Writing for OPENGOV Asia, Priyankar Bhunia, says: "The power sector in Asia suffers from high levels of inefficiency and unreliability as a result of poor maintenance coupled with age of the equipment, which exceeds 40 years on average. Moreover, the assets are expensive, large, and difficult to replace. Historical data about assets is not centralised and a large number of experts who are reaching retirement age are not being replaced. On top of all this, operation and maintenance (O&M) budgets are being cut, as monolithic utilities are deregulated, privatised, or converted to autonomous entities.
IoT in asset performance management
"With the use of IoT, the limited budget can be directed towards where it is needed the most based on condition, predicted time to failure, and risk of failure, instead of being used for scheduled maintenance."
The report discusses three IoT-enabled O&M strategies (1) Condition-based maintenance, in which patterns in sensor data are identified to plan maintenance of the asset; (2) Predictive maintenance, in which trends in sensor data are identified to predict time to failure (3) Risk-based maintenance, in which decision about maintenance of an asset is also based on optimising the use of maintenance of resource across all assets.
Bhunia adds that the use of IoT can improve reliability and availability of transmission and distribution assets like transformers, switch gear, capacitors, insulators, conductors, and others, as well as reduce maintenance costs, and enhance productivity and safety of repair crews through identification of source of failure.
Bhunia goes on to say that "[the] ongoing boom in new power plant and infrastructure construction in most countries in Asia to reduce the deficit between demand and supply of power.
"In the transmission and distribution (T&D) segment of the power sector, new high voltage direct current lines, high voltage AC lines, power converters, reactive compensators, and others are being deployed alongside legacy assets. On the customer side, utilities are being pushed into unchartered territory with rooftop solar, storage, smart applications to control devices, and aggregation of loads for demand response.
"Operational optimisation of these emerging complex networks requires real-time data and analytics, enabled by IoT. IoT makes the grid intelligent and flexible, thereby giving it the capability to manage variability and uncertainty. "