Unlocking the Value of Real Time Energy Management Systems

Posted by Tom Ehart, Director of Marketing Communications on May 31, 2018 10:50:56 AM


As the pursuit of reduced energy usage and decreased energy spending as part of achieving corporate financial and sustainability goals continues to escalate on the world stage, the need for utility and energy service managers, property owners, building managers, and tenants to have real-time data on energy usage — as well as the ability to manage, monitor and analyze that data — becomes more critical than it has ever been before. Likewise, the demand for real-time energy services that can tap into current market prices increases each day, creating a necessity for technologies that can provide accurate, real-time energy data.

As a newly qualified System Provider for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) program, Blue Pillar’s Aurora® Energy Network of Things® platform is at the forefront of delivering on the promise of real-time energy data. With its ability to connect to the broadest variety of Energy Things® regardless of make, model or vintage, including access to data from Building Automation Systems and Building Management Systems, Aurora is a cloud-based solution for providing best-in-class, behind-the-meter energy networks and IoT-driven energy data with the ability to meet the needs of utilities, energy providers, applications solution providers, and Commercial and Industrial (C&I) customers alike. With a proven track record of achieving the highest levels of data accuracy and timeliness, Aurora’s cutting-edge, IoT technology is transforming the way companies manage, consume, and buy energy.

What is the Value of Real Time Energy Management Systems?

One of the biggest differentiators in being an RTEM system and what sets it apart from its predecessors, i.e. traditional Building Management Systems and Building Automation Systems, is the ability to be able to provide the real-time data and control necessary to respond to usage and market fluctuations. On any given day, energy usage and market prices can fluctuate greatly, leaving a tremendous gap in a company’s ability to make sound business decisions on how to consume and disseminate energy…and realize significant savings.

For example, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, ERCOT hit a May peak demand record of 61,148 MW. This led to 15-minute interval pricing of > $500/MWh with highs of $1400/MWh between 3:45-5PM that day. As an RTEM system, Blue Pillar’s Aurora has the ability to provide real-time visibility into these peaks, allowing companies to leverage their behind-the-meter Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) for load reduction, which is critical to reducing costs. Aurora’s ability to automate the use of DERs for peak savings showcases one of the prime benefits of an RTEM system.

In addition, Aurora’s ability to continuously collect live and historical performance data through the cloud enables businesses to uncover optimization opportunities for energy usage, both immediately and in the future, as the data and trending can point out inefficient assets or systems, high-usage times of day or month, and overall portfolio drift. The data collected from sensors, meters, and other equipment show how your buildings/facilities – or those of your customers – are performing at any point, in real time.

Put another way, Aurora helps companies to shift their traditional building strategy to one that is based on real-time energy data. Most companies focus on static control of their buildings, i.e. automation schedules, scheduled maintenance, and break/fix. Aurora helps companies achieve a more proactive strategy that uses real-time data to manage the building systems and energy assets. In this way, Aurora enables companies to react better to a more wholistic set of dynamic conditions rather than stale data from monthly energy bills that is highly limited in scope. 

Aurora provides the ability to have a more proactive performance-based energy strategy that helps companies maintain optimum building operability with the greatest possible cost reductions based on real-time data. In many cases, Aurora can actually be considered an extension of the BMS system, which provides IoT-enabled data that can be communicated back to the BMS or other systems for greater control, resiliency and energy efficiency.

Better Energy Management from the Cloud

For many at the facility level who manage the day-to-day operations of energy systems, too much data can seem intimidating. Aurora makes data more approachable and manageable by putting into one place both a high-level corporate view of energy systems and a granular look at a facility’s or multi-facility’s individual energy assets. Being a cloud-based software, Aurora’s real-time data capabilities can also help reduce the man-hours traditionally used for energy asset monitoring/inspections. Aurora pinpoints issues and problems in real time, which can help expedite the fixing of issues such as low fuel levels, improper control system programming, and assets that have malfunctioned or gone offline.

What results from implementing a RTEM system such as Aurora are high-performing buildings with the ability to capitalize on real-time pricing in energy markets. Facilities begin using only the energy that’s required, rather than wasting exorbitant amounts of energy on systems that aren’t functioning properly. At the same time, they lower their carbon footprint, which helps them meet their corporate sustainability goals. With the ability to scale, cyber-security built in, and real-time data allowing for up-to-the minute decisions, RTEM systems like Aurora can be the ultimate coup in achieving a company’s desire to “go green”.

Topics: DERs, Distributed Energy Resources, RTEM