Electric cars and microgrids have become popular in recent years as new sources of energy are explored to counterbalance our reliance on fossil fuels. The ways we produce and consume energy are also changing. In a grid, the generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, and consumption of power all need to be coordinated more accurately to meet new business requirements. Today, countries are increasingly choosing to develop smart grids to be more environmentally friendly and improve energy efficiency.
Although smart grids around the world are different, the benefits of AMI are well understood. By 2022, China plans to increase the coverage of smart power meters to over 70 percent, and in the U.S. the goal is 91 percent. The European Union requires its member states to improve coverage to over 80 percent by 2020.
Huawei & SAP Help Customers Gear Up for Smart Grids
AMI is a key component of smart grids, and consists of smart meters, Measuring Communication Infrastructure (MCI), and a Meter Data Management System (MDMS). Its global market value expanded from USD 1.2 billion in 2010 to more than USD 7.6 billion in 2014, with a compound annual growth rate of 43.9 percent (source: China branch of the ARC consulting firm).
According to a report by GTM Research, Utility AMI Analytics for the Smart Grid 2013-2020: Applications, Markets and Strategies, the cost of AMI analytics software (not including meter and communication architecture) will reach USD 9.7 billion by 2020. As markets develop, vendors who can provide integrated analytics solutions are better positioned for growing their business.
Against this backdrop, SAP, dedicated to business software, and Huawei, to IT infrastructure, have forged a strategic partnership to deliver AMI solutions to the global electric power industry. The AMI solution is divided into four layers according to the system architecture, namely application, platform, network, and terminal layers from top to bottom. An overview of the joint solution is shown in the figure below.
Huawei Provides Flexible and Reliable ICT Platforms
- HES platform: Huawei provides connection management, simple billing, and O&M functions based on SIM/NoN-SIM. The platform collects and classifies data from sensors and terminals using Big Data analytics, and then makes the data available to third parties through specified open interfaces. Developing smart grid applications based on the HES platform can tap the full potential of electricity facilities. For example, customers can predict electricity requirements with more accuracy, achieve better resource allocation at peak and off-peak hours, and analyze line loss more precisely.
- Network layer: In AMI projects, DCU data backhaul is often retransmitted through existing carriers’ GPRS/3G networks or industry switching/PON/eLTE/Wi-Fi networks. To better meet customer requirements in a variety of different scenarios, backhaul methods are chosen according to the customer’s region and conditions.
- Terminal layer: There can be difficulties when connecting different smart terminals — compatibility, gaining access to massive numbers of terminals, and installation. Huawei’s answer is to use PLC-IoT, eLTE-IoT, and LiteOS to access smart terminals in different applications such as distribution automation, AMI, microgrids, and electric cars.
Various Applications Provided by SAP
The application layer is provided by SAP, and consists of applications for CRM/charging, measurement data management, asset management, energy capital management, power interruption management, grid operation management and optimization, real-time applications, and prediction and analysis. SAP AMI integration components and IS-U provide key data management, intelligent meter readings, customer service management, company energy data management, and intelligent data analysis.
- Time-Of-Use (TOU) pricing based on EDM: Consumers are encouraged to use electricity more reasonably with different prices depending on whether it is a peak time on the grid. Electricity efficiency is also improved as resource allocation at peak and off-peak hours is now better balanced. For electric companies, TOU transfers overloaded electricity consumption, improves the usage of system devices, and conserves energy. Less money now needs to be invested in grids and operation costs are lower. For consumers, TOU allows them to adjust their electricity usage period and reduces electricity costs.
- Real Time Pricing (RTP) based on EDM: Electricity prices are divided into contract price and over-contract price. If electricity consumption does not exceed the planned volume, users are charged the contract price. Otherwise, consumers have to pay the over-contract price. So consumers can plan their electricity consumption more reasonably.
- Peak load determination: Reports show peak hours and consumer numbers. Requirement responses and efficiency management activities are triggered, with prices adjusted accordingly.
In addition, the system integrates and analyzes customers’ energy consumption in real time based on any dimension or granular level, so that trends and problems can be identified. The system also classifies customers according to consumption behavior, identifies target groups for marketing/sales activities, uses bills and data to locate power theft and other fraud, and reduces line loss.
Huawei and SAP’s End-to-End Joint Solution of AMI
More Advanced Applications for Smart Grids
AMI technologies will play a key role in the future power distribution systems in smart grids. Information from meters can also be used to create and modify the feeder and load models used by DMS applications.
The AMI system (voltages, currents, device status) measures the strategic location of power distribution networks in minutes, which improves their predictability. Operators can make better decisions during crises and manage the system better. AMI communication infrastructure can also be used to connect the high-voltage devices on feeders. In addition to this, AMI promotes advanced monitoring and controlling applications, which are the foundation of future smart grids.
As AMI develops around the world, electric companies need to take open platforms and healthy ecosystems into consideration. As a world-leading provider of ICT solutions for smart grids, Huawei is building a collaborative ecosystem based on its open ICT infrastructure, combining its experience and collaboration with developers and partners in the electric power industry. Together Huawei and SAP have collaborated on AMI solutions, building smart grids and improving energy efficiency.