Home Blogs GeoEnergy at GWF2014: Geospatial becoming foundational in the electric power industry

GeoEnergy at GWF2014: Geospatial becoming foundational in the electric power industry

At Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva this year the GeoEnergy screenGeoEnergy track included 15 presentations. The presentations covered a broad range of topics, but all represent examples of how geospatial data and technology are becoming increasingly a core technology for the modern smart grid. The presentations are available here. Photos are available here.

Context for geospatial in the global electric power utility industry

As Editor-Building and Energy with Geospatial Media and Communications I was the Chair for the track. I provided a short introductory presentation to provide context for the presentations.

Energy demand is projected by the International Energy Agency to increase by a third by 2035, driven primarily by China through 2020, then by India. To enable to electric power grid to accomodate distributed renewable resources, to increase its resilience and to support the rapidly growing Internet of Things, countries around the globe are migrating their electric power infrastructure to smart grid technology. It is estimated that the global smart grid market is growing about 8% annually and it is projected that the cumulative value of the smart grid market will exceed $400 billion by 2020.

Currently geospatial data and technology are used tactically by electric power utilities for many purposes including asset management, outage management, vegetation management, disaster management, renewable energy facility siting, universal electrification planning, energy density mapping, and other applications. New geospatial data acquisition technology such as LiDAR, oblique imagery, high resolution aerial photogrametry, and ground penetrating radar are being used by utilities for a variety of purposed ranging from improving productivity by bringing the field into the office, transmission line siting, vegetation management for transmission lines, encroachment detection, and estimating the solar PV potential of towns and cities.

The smart grid is expected to fundamentally change the role of geospatial data and technology in electric power utilities from tactical to strategic. According to a recent report from Navigant Research “The smart grid is all about situation awareness and effective anticipation of and response to events that might disrupt the performance of the power grid. Since spatial data underlies everything an electric utility does, GIS is the only foundational view that can potentially link every operational activity of an electric utility including design and construction, asset management, workforce management, and outage management as well as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distribution management systems (DMSs), renewables, and strategy planning.

Preliminary results from global utility survey

Preliminary results from Geospatial Media‘s survey of the global electric power industry were also presented. The survey currently includes North American, African, Asian and European electric power companies.

Some of the highlights of the survey so far are;

  • 80 % of respondents are using GIS for asset management. Interestingly in light of the increased role for GIS motivated by the smart grid, almost a quarter are using GIS for strategic planning. For 28% of the companies surveyed strategic priorities was the most important factors motivating the adoption of GIS.
  • 92% of the companies surveyed reported that productivity and efficiency were an important benefit realized by implementing GIS.
  • Not surprisingly given the dramatically greater data volumes projected for the smart grid, the most pressing data-related challenges are the volume of data (32%), data compatibility/interoperability (28%), and data quality/completeness (28%).
  • From a geospatial capacity perspective 37% of respondents reported that their greatest operational challenge is lack of geospatial expertise. A further 21% reported no clear GIS strategy. At the Indian Geospatial Forum, I talked with an Indian utility that had a GIS group with some 50 staff in the field and about 20 staff in the office. None of these people had a formal GIS/Geospatial background – they were all electric power engineers and skilled trades. I suspect this is not atypical of utilities. Reaching these people represents a major challenge for the geospatial industry.

GEO’s Contribution to the Achievement of International Energy Goals

Georgios Sarantakos, Expert on Sustainability and Energy, GEO Secretariat, Switzerland

GeoEnergy GEO energy taskThe Energy Programme team of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) consists of scientists from around the globe that work together in order to address specific needs of decision makers at multiple levels. This presentation provides the audience with an overview of how the GEO Energy Team contributes to the achievement of international energy targets and concrete examples at different sectors and scales.

From Earth Observation in GEOSS and GMES to the IRENA Global Atlas for Renewable Energies

Carsten Hoyer-Klick, Head of Department, Systems Analysis & Technology Assessment, DLR, Germany
Thomas Wanderer, Research Associate, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, Systems Analysis & Technology Assessment
Nicholas Fichaux
IRENA, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi

GeoEnergy global atlas renewable energyThe Global Atlas for Renewable Energy will join several ongoing activities on global resource mappings starting from solar and wind energy and collection of socio-economic and policy data to develop a central portal for accessing information related to renewable energy resources. Averaged resource data (annual and monthly for solar and wind climate statistics) will be available free of charge to foster solar and wind energy development on a global scale. The portal has a very flexible architecture based on the standards of GEOSS. It is able to discover and view renewable resource data within the GEOSS framework and has the ability to incorporate OGC compatible webprocessing services for further processing and analysis of the data. A few application examples are already within the portal. The portal development was supported by two European projects (EnerGEO and Endorse) which are part of the EU GMES programme.

Satellite-based Nowcasting for Distribution Grids

Holger Ruf, Research Coordinator, Ulm, Germany

GeoBuild analytics for renewable PV impact on grid RufThe research at IEA deals with decentralized energy systems, process data management and electric drives. In close cooperation with the local utility SWU two test areas and one project house in Ulm were defined for the research of smart grid technologies as well as grid planning and operation issues with high shares of photovoltaic systems. In the “Smart Grid Ulm” project the behavior of the distribution grid is being simulated under the impact of increasing penetration of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The simulation is based on the results of a roof potential analysis and the measurement results of live test sites.

Exchanging geographical information to prevent excavation damage to cables and pipelines in the Netherlands; a use case of INSPIRE: Utility Services

A.L.M. (Ad) van Houtum, Advisor Product and Process Innovations, Kadaster, The Netherlands

INSPIRE-US directive RequirementsAd van Houtum of the Dutch Kadaster, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, gave an overview of KLIC-WIN, which is an adaptation of KLIC-Online to meet the future needs of the industry a as well as to be compliant with the national WION legislation and the European INSPIRE Directive. One of the 34 themes of the INSPIRE standards initiative concerns Utility Services (INSPIRE-US), which obligates public network operators to make their data available online through viewing and download services. INSPIRE-US (Annex III Sub-theme 6a Utility Services) is obligatory for 80% of Dutch network operators. There is a strict roadmap for implementing the directive and there are also requirements for responsiveness and availability. The stakeholders (ministries, Kadaster, network operators, and excavators) have agreed and decided to adapt the existing KLIC-Online system to satisfy both WION and the INSPIRE-US requirements. More about this very interesting presentation can be found here.

The Role of GIS in a Modern Utility

Theo Laughner, Tennessee Valley Authority, USA

Utilities around the world are deploying infrastructure to modernize operations which will enable the connection of distributed, renewable resources. However, in the new operational paradigm situational awareness is critical. Historically, geographic information systems have been employed in the utility as part of the design and construction phases of asset lifecycle. New GIS technologies will bring the maps out of the design department and into operations. This presentation shows the many uses of GIS in utilities today and serves to provoke thoughts about how GIS can be used in the future.

Geospatial Data in a Modern-day Electricity System

GeoBuild Uz GISArtur Brei, Head of Graphic Data Processing, UZ (Unterfrnkische berlandzentrale eG)

New wind farms and huge photovoltaic facilities have a massive impact on Germany’s power grid. The ÜZ in Lülsfeld is a medium sized utility company in Northern Bavaria. We operate a typical regional distribution network in Germany – a large area with many little towns and villages and very much place for renewable plants. In 2013 our electricity turnover was 497 million kWh in total and the renewables had a share of more than 285 million kWh which is more than 50% of the electricity turnover. To manage distributed renewable generation we have to invest three times as much than before 2009. And all that work has to be executed with the same number of employees. GIS is our basic element for design, as-built documentation, operation-, maintaining-, project- and process-management of all our technical assets.

One Oracle Database handles this complex asset data management including all spatial geographical data and is also still flexible enough to meet challenges like adding renewables to the data model. The system is easy to use and it’s also not difficult to connect with other data systems like SAP, customer account system and so on. This is the reason why everybody in our company works with GIS – the most of them are writing data as well.

One key point of our GIS application is to use more graphical shaping/map of one technical asset – as-built map, management plan for low voltage, medium voltage and so on. So the operating team can directly change fuses, set switches and always knows about load capacity in the low voltage network. This is also an important component of “Smart Grid” in the near future for us.

Smart Meters and CityGML for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Piergiorgio Cipriano, GI/SDI Project Manager, Sinergis, Italy

GeoEnergy building energy efficiency for urban environments SUNSHINEThe residential sector alone represents 13% of the total delivered energy consumption. There is a need to detail the estimation of energy performances at building level, with open and interoperable geodata together with information from smart metering systems. This scenario is part of the Sunshine project (Smart UrbaN ServIces for Higher eNergy Efficiency), a 3-years R&D project started in 2013 and co-funded by the European Commission. Its main purpose is to deliver an extensible open toolkit of smart services for energy assessment of buildings at urban scale, to facilitate the assessment of consumption in future high-energy efficiency buildings. CityGML is the data model chosen for implementing 3D buildings: a new “Energy” Application Domain Extension (ADE) will be defined in order to describe the energy-related properties of buildings, starting from the existing GeoBIM ADE. Data for the real consumption of energy (heating/cooling) will be provided by smart meters via the Green Button standard – these data will be used to compute the operational energy certification of buildings, to improve performances and reduce costs. More about this SUNSHINE’s standards-based approach to energy modeling for entire urban environments can be found here.

A smart approach for the smart grid: Power line corridor data collection with airborne LiDAR technology

Wei Zhang, Senior Technical Manager Jiantong

GeoEnergy LiDAR pointcloud to 3D model JiantongLiDAR is widely used for scanning transmission lines for a number of applications including vegetation management. Automating this process requires being able to identify and extract features of the power transmission system including pylons, insulators, cables, and other equipment. In this talk a methodology based on a library of known equipment types is reported. Some applications using the resulting model for analysis are presented.

Mapping Solar Potential of West India : a GIS based analysis

Rajiv Gupta, Senior Professor, Birla Institute of Technology and Science India

GeoEnergy solar potential gujarat rajastanThis work focuses on estimation of global solar radiation and, in particular, it explores the effect of temperature on solar radiation profile of western India. An accurate knowledge of solar radiation distribution in each particular geographical location is crucial for the promotion of solar energy technology. The best way of knowing the amount of global solar radiation is to install quality instruments at many locations in the given region. This requires their day-to-day maintenance, recording and calibration, which is a very costly affair in developing countries like India. We use geographical information system (GIS) to solve this problem. The efficiency of the solar cell is not at the maximum temperature. Paper also finds the optimum field temperature basis where the maximum solar energy can be harnessed annually. Thus, this paper discusses the application of GIS to map the solar potential in western India and regions suitable for tapping solar energy on the basis of global solar radiation data.

Environmental Impacts of Using GIS Applications in Energy Industry

Dr. Recai Ogur, Assoc.Professor – Department of Public Health, Center for Education and Research on Environment – Gene Interaction, Turkey

GeoEnergy GIS in the energy industryThere is a strong positive correlation between energy and development for the countries. While the countries want to consume more energy, environmental issues resulting from using fossil related fuels have been increasing. It is clear that energy industry related emissions are one of the most dangerous pollutants for environment. One of the most effective and promising tool for managing energy consumption is geospatial technology. Among the benefits of geospatial applications, the followings could be considered as the main gains for energy industry: (a) Increase in effectiveness (b) cost savings (c) better decision making (d) better communication (e) improved data collection and analysis and improved disaster management. We may divide geospatial technology usage in energy industry in main three areas: management of energy resources, transmission of energy and consumption management. Experience has shown that one of the most effective uses of geospatial technologies is the design and management of transmission of energy and energy resources. Consumption of energy may also be an effective area for geospatial technologies; especially energy performance analysis may help also policy makers, architects and engineers for building better communities.

Bioenergy Atlas for Africa (BAfA)

Dr. Markus Tum (DLR), Dr. Wim Hugo (SAEON), Group on Earth Observations

GeoEnergy biomass cost of distributionBAfA provides mechanisms for assessment of viability of bioEnergy in competition with other energy resources, both traditional and alternative, while taking supply and demand into account. It is intended to be of sufficient quality and depth in respect of data and assessment of data to provide decision makers, investors, and policy-makers with a baseline for their activities. It is designed to eliminate poor choices, and highlight good choices for detailed investigation of projects, interventions, and investments.