So Much Energy Storage Data, So Much to Do with It!

Sept. 22, 2014
There’s a ton of energy storage and smart meter data out there, but how can we best use it to boost efficiency, solve energy crises and protect the environment? One company, Space-Time Insight, thinks it has the answer with technology that analyzes this data using “visual intelligence.”

Steve Ehrlich, Space-Time Insight

There’s a ton of data available from energy storage units, smart meters, weather forecasters, and other data producers. Ideally, this data can be used to forecast demand and weather, integrate renewable energy, shape customer usage, prevent outages, and cope with outages once they happen.

But how can we integrate and analyze all this data to make the best use of it?

One company, Space-Time Insight, says it has come up with a unique answer that allows users to combine real-time data from lots of different sources, including weather forecasts and energy storage units.

And what’s the advantage? By pulling together information from all these different sources, we can do good things for the grid, ratepayers, and the environment.

“Our technology visualizes and analyzes data and correlates it with other data, such as data about the weather or from smart meters,” says Steve Ehrlich, senior vice president of Space-Time Insight. “The technology will help battery systems perform over time so they can be better managed and deliver more efficient power.”

So, what does all that mean? Here are a few examples.

“If there’s high system-wide demand, this will allow various players to participate in demand response.” By analyzing the available information, utilities can offer discounts, rebates, and the best options for dispatching resources, for example.

In addition, the “predictive analysis” capabilities could help energy managers decide how to use a microgrid or energy storage system. “If there’s a crisis, you might want to de-couple the microgrid from the wider system so it can operate independently for a period of time.” The system lends understanding to what is happening now and what could happen in the future, he added.

The “predictive analysis” comes in especially handy when combining data with weather data.

Credit: NASA

“The system will give information about what kind of weather I expect tomorrow, what I need from my demand response system to accommodate my position,  and which companies are best for participating in demand response. The analysis helps decide what to do, based on the conditions,” said Ehrlich.

It may be hard to visualize what this company is doing in time and space, but here’s how Ehrlich explains what’s unique about the company: “The technology is unique because data from all these different systems is coming at different times and in different formats. The technology correlates weather events with data coming from storage systems and other places.” Without the technology, there would be no logical connection point between say, weather predictions, and energy storage data, he said.

So, does a system this sophisticated actually make decisions for its users?

No, but it could.

“Most companies prefer that a person press the button,” he said. “For now, the technology presents data, gives options, and outlines the steps that need to be taken.”

Do you know about similar systems that can help manage microgrids and energy storage, integrate renewable energy, and protect the environment? Tell us about them!

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

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