How is DNV GL shaping the utilities of the future in the Middle East?
More than ever, utilities and regulators around the world understand the need to better understand electricity and water demand patterns. Demand for both is soaring in most parts of the world and many systems face challenges in meeting that demand, either because of capacity constraints or energy constraints. While the range of solutions is fairly well known (better price signals, information and awareness, technology replacement, rationing and market mechanisms, etc.), in most cases there is a lack of understanding of how to best apply those solutions for maximum impact.
Load research, an integral part of demand side management (DSM) leads to better planning, more efficient use of resources and better customer service. In many cases, DSM leads to environmental benefits such as the reduction of the emission of pollutants and global warming gases.
With the advent of smart metering and the development of big data analytics, load research has progressed significantly in the past decade. It now provides the opportunity to understand customer consumption patterns and behavior with an unprecedented level of accuracy. By combining traditional load research practices with advanced metering and big data analytics, we have developed a methodology that brings utilities unique insights into how the power and water they deliver is used. This is providing utilities in the Middle East unique insights into how the power and water they deliver is used.
What kind of insights can we develop from this methodology?
This type of correlation can be developed for many types of appliances, building or customer type, per city or region or for any target end-use in which we are interested.
In turn, this understanding allows utilities to improve many aspect of their business, such as:
- Tariff design and cost allocation;
- Load forecasting (integrating traditional top-down with detailed bottom-up methodologies);
- Infrastructure planning;
- Demand side management and energy efficiency programs;
- Measurement and Verification 2.0;
- Demand response opportunities;
- Customer service and engagement, etc.
The advanced methodology combines data sources at different levels to minimize the cost to perform the analytics:
- Tier 1: billing and basic demographic data,
- Tier 2: customer saturation surveys,
- Tier 3: premise-level metering data,
- Tier 4: energy audits and building modelling, and
- Tier 5: detailed end use metering.
These are summarized in the following figure:
While the majority of these data sources have been available for many years, the innovation comes from the inclusion and integration of the nested end–use metering (and in particular the newly developed non-intrusive load monitoring technology) and advanced analytics, providing a new level of insight at a fraction of the cost of the more traditional direct metering.
What is next?
Energy efficiency and demand side management are already well established practices in many Western countries. They are, however, still in their infancy in non-OECD countries, where the biggest demand growth is expected to occur. In regions like the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific this methodology can help utilities understand how their customers use the resources they provide.