Published on the 16/01/2024 | Written by Heather Wright
X and AWS projects also on the boil…
Vector has become the first recipient of the Commerce Commission’s innovation project allowance, with the electricity distributor granted more than $750,000 for a multi-year project to acquire, process and analyse smart electricity meter data to create new business efficiencies.
Vector says Prismed (process revolution to integrate smart meter electricity data) aims to reduce costs to consumers and improve reliability through the acquisition and processing of smart meter data for for network planning, outage management and forecasting.
“Smart meter data provides highly valuable visibility that leads to efficiencies and innovation in network management, and enables better outcomes for customers.”
The $759,000 – courtesy of the IPA which enables electricity distribution businesses to claim for costs for ‘innovative’ projects – is 50 percent claw-back for the $1.5 million investment Vector made to obtain data access rights and build the capabilities to work with the data from smart meters covering 87 percent of their network.
The company is also working with AWS and X, the moonshot factory, on other projects. It’s work with X is a moonshot project to virtualise Auckland’s electricity network – creating a digital copy of its network and using simulation technology to see how it will behave in real-life, future scenarios.
“This is important because, with the rise of electric vehicles as well as solar and battery storage, the flow of energy becomes more complex. We need to ensure we are ready for these changes,” Vector says in its Innovation Project Alliance application.
The Prismed project, meanwhile, has enabled smart meter data to be harnessed more effectively. Previously smart meter data wasn’t received from the metering equipment providers. Once contracts were set up with the meter providers, it required manual intervention and the frequency of updates was limited.
Vector says through Prismed it has a set of processes providing it with access to near real-time data and a platform that facilitates the analysis and use of data for strategic and operational decision making.
Prismed harnesses peak demand and consumption data, along with network operational data services information including power quality and event data such as outages; on-demand meter data and device data such as real-time even data from devices at a customer’s property, such as Chorus’ optical network terminal.
The project acquires, processes and analyses millions of lines of smart electricity meter data each day, Vector says.
Peter Ryan, Vector chief operating officer electricity gas and fibre, says the regulator’s funding didn’t just recognise the value of the data to Vector, but the potential for other electricity distribution businesses to benefit from similar approaches too.
A report from engineering and construction services company WSP, commissioned by Vector, says Prismed will be of ‘general application’ to other electricity distribution businesses in New Zealand.
Eighty-three percent of Kiwi residential connections have smart meters, with Vector noting the opportunity for other companies to innovatively process smart metre data and reap the benefits it has is ‘huge – especially given how important low voltage visibility is to distributors across the country’.
The opportunity for consumers to benefit from greater access to their smart meter data is also huge, Ryan says.
“Smart meter data provides highly valuable visibility to the low-voltage network. This visibility leads to efficiencies and innovation in network management, which in turn enables better outcomes for customers.”
Vector says the requirement for smart meter data is a key stepping-stone for better visibility, management and investment planning for low voltage networks.
“This data has the potential to limit unnecessary duplication of equipment needed to gather information, more targeted investment and better use of network resources.”
The transition to a decarbonised economy is expected to place greater demand on electricity networks as electricity displaces fossil fuel-based services. Increasing numbers of distributed energy resources, such as small scale solar PV systems, battery energy storage systems and electric vehicles are expected to connect to the network, changing peak demand, consumption, timing of electricity use and power flows and driving the need for greater visibility of the networks.
Prismed is the first stage in a three-phase roadmap for Vector’s Symphony strategy, which aims to create an energy system that is the least cost alternative to enable decarbonisation and mitigate climate change impact on future network reliability while also meeting customer needs.
Phase two sees the scaling of data for whole-of-network view, and operationalising, while phase three will establish near-real-time data availability.
Vector’s bid for a big-data future also includes subsidiary Vector Technology Solutions’ Diverge cloud-native, scalable and secure energy data platform.
Developed in partnership with AWS, Diverge can be used by network operators to process and analyse smart meter data along with other relevant data sets to plan, build and manage their networks, approve energy resource connections quicker, provide network capacity and more reliable power quality and optimise investment decisions.