Grid IQ™ Insight, a new power management system from GE Digital Energy’s (NYSE: GE) Industrial Internet portfolio, is a platform that consolidates data from a broad mix of sources including existing grid management systems, smart meters and other intelligent grid power equipment, sensors, weather monitoring and even unstructured social media content from sources like Facebook or Twitter. Grid IQ Insight takes the terabytes of data and using advanced analytics technologies, generates actionable information to predict and resolve failures and other issues that impact the performance of today’s power grids.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that power outages and power quality disturbances cost utilities and consumers more than $150 billion annually and greatly affect the U.S. economy. But what if you could use the power of social media, combine it with transmission data and fix problems much faster after they happen?
By consolidating and analyzing real-time data from once disconnected sources, Grid IQ Insight helps predict and prevent potential problems to the grid by getting the right information to the right people at the right time. For example, by using social media updates or smart meter data, Grid IQ Insight can triangulate the source of the outage and show a utility where to send their crews faster than traditional systems. It also can help a utility understand where a potential equipment failure exists allowing it to proactively address the problem as part of its regular maintenance program rather than incurring additional costs related to unplanned, emergency repairs. After Grid IQ Insight gathers input from social media, intelligent devices and renewable energy sources, it applies analytical intelligence to model the data and visualize it in brand new ways.
“Our Grid IQ Insight enables utilities to identify system outages quickly via improved visualization and analysis of their systems, minimizing outage times and greatly reducing costs associated with extended system outages,” said Michael Carlson, general manager—software solutions for GE’s Digital Energy business. “This is a powerful tool that will help utilities predict and prevent power outages and improve customer satisfaction.”
GE’s Grid IQ Insight, developed as a result of working directly with the world’s largest utility companies, is able to provide utilities with crucial outage prevention and restoration information by monitoring factors such as social media outlets and weather patterns. It is able to scan mass amounts of text and images posted to social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, identifying and relaying outage related material to utilities quickly to minimize service disruptions for consumers. Grid IQ Insight also can analyze current and historical weather patterns. Using this information, the system can help utilities anticipate and prepare for severe weather-related service interruptions.
In addition to its Grid IQ Insight analytical software, GE offers utilities an advanced grid management system, its Grid IQ “Solutions as a Service” (SaaS), to help modernize electrical grid systems and meet expanding capacity, environmental and security needs. This cloud-based package of testing and consultation services allows appliances, smart meters and utilities to talk to each other, enabling utilities to efficiently manage the supply of power when and where it is needed. SaaS also allows for the re-routing of electricity during an outage, making the grid “self-healing”.
Modernizing the electrical grid is a necessity for utilities to meet consumers’ ever-increasing demands for efficient, uninterrupted power. According to a 2011 survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are more than 37 million smart meters installed and operating across the country. GE’s Grid IQ Insight is able to monitor and analyze usage data from these meters to help utilities understand and visualize electrical consumption patterns. It also can identify electrical theft occurring in the network. All of this information leads to improved servicing of transformers, which can prevent repair related outages in the event of a system failure.
In addition, Grid IQ Insight provides informative data to those using solar installations. Solar energy installations have increased 116 percent year-to-year. However, many utilities have no way of tracking the amount of distributed energy generated on a daily basis by these installations. The Grid IQ solution combines solar interconnection, weather and meter data to generate an accurate figure of how much energy has been generated each day. This not only enables utilities to visualize the effect on network reliability that integrated solar energy has on the electrical grid, but also provides customers with insight as to how much money solar power is saving them on a daily basis.