Want real-time demand response? Look to commercial and industrial SCADA

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The elusive real-time demand response market -- the one that responds fast enough to be used for frequency regulation and ancillary services -- can be accomplished today, says our guest columnist. He claims connectivity and technology have evolved to the point that C&I loads can be called on with great precision and reliability.– Jesse Berst

 

By Adam Todorski

 

SCADA, Big Data and real-time demand response

Most of us take it for granted that computers control virtually everything in our daily lives, from transportation to personal entertainment to infrastructure. The convergence of the ability to store and analyze large quantities of data in real time (Big Data), evolving supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) technologies, and the evolution of opportunities for commercial and industrial (C&I) loads to participate in increasingly complex demand response programs have created many opportunities today that did not exist even a few years ago.

 

Most of those C&I loads already employ computerized controls. The technology exists to securely connect them. Then, with Big Data tools, those loads can be predicted and managed in real time. This combination can manage loads to provide frequency regulation and other very fast response products in energy markets that require immediate response and real time telemetry today. And virtually endless opportunities for these loads to participate in the smart grid of tomorrow.

 

Integrating C&I SCADA into the smart grid

Commercial and Industrial energy users leverage SCADA tools as a core component of their business and as such they are making changes to their systems on a regular basis. They also must protect these systems from either nefarious or (sometimes worse) unintentional mistakes that could jeopardize their productivity and equipment.

 

The successful integration of one of these systems into a smart grid program requires a controls integration that maintains the integrity of the process but also allows for secure remote control. These facilities will need either in-house or contract services to have the skills to integrate and manage risk for changes made to the plant over time (as equipment is improved and replaced). Accomplishing a controls integration for a smart grid application is no different.

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