By Steen Schelle Jensen, Head of Product Management – Heat/Cooling Solutions, Kamstrup
that can be created based on fully automatic metering and the frequent data provided from increasingly intelligent energy meters and meter reading systems. Smart metering provides utilities with a sensor in all district heating connected buildings measuring flow and temperatures. This gives a detailed overview of the actual state of the distribution network. In strategic parts of the network, energy meters may be supplemented with other measurements, e.g. pressure, in order to provide even more detailed information from the network. Fully automatic metering solutions with fixed network meter reading have been available for several years and are especially prevalent in Scandinavia. The drivers for fully automatic meter reading have primarily been the ability to provide better customer service by having easier access to data from the meter in the event of errors or customer disputes. In addition, the data available enables utilities to start working more proactively with optimisation as well as identifying, locating and addressing the installations that place the most strain on the network because of a high peak demand, high return temperatures, high average volume etc. In this way, several utilities have produced significant optimisations in their network as well as enabled considerable energy savings for their customers. A small number of utilities have even made consumption data available to their customers through direct access via apps and web portals.
The massive strain on our energy resources necessitates a continuous focus not only on saving energy but also on ensuring that the necessary energy is utilised as efficiently as possible. Both apply to the entire chain from production and distribution to end-user behaviour and the energy performance of buildings. But how do you know which levers to tweak – and how do you evaluate their effect? That knowledge can only be derived from detailed information about the actual state of the energy flow in the system, making meter data the very basis for successful energy efficiency measures today and in the future. A new reality with a new focus Energy resources are becoming more expensive and scarce. In addition, energy production for heating contributes to pollution and CO2 emissions as long as it is based largely on fossil fuels. Another significant challenge is the increasing urbanisation, where people move closer together in large cities creating major local environmental challenges such as the poor air quality in Beijing and other megacities. These challenges combined with the publication of the European Commission’s Heating and Cooling Strategy have paved the way for heating to enter the political agenda resulting in a previously unseen focus on the potential of district heating. The overall vision of the strategy is the decarbonisation of European buildings by way of improving energy efficiency, shifting to renewable energy sources and finally, by exploiting the synergies between heating and cooling and the electricity system. Also, the involvement of end users is emphasised as playing a key role in achieving a more sustainable energy future. From billing to added value So far, energy metering has been driven primarily by the need for utilities to bill end users for their energy consumption. Meters are typically read once a month or a few times a year either manually or using handheld walk-by or drive-by solutions. This provides the necessary basis for various types of billing schemes based on energy consumption alone or combined with an incentive-based tariff based on volume, average cooling or peak demand. As utilities face new challenges as well as new opportunities with the increased focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, this development is starting to change. As a result, we are seeing a growing interest in the added value
Optimal utilisation of data depends on how it is presented and used. Kamstrup’s READy Manager offers a broad range of tools that give modern utilities an overview of their meter data and helps them fully utilise it.
The potential of frequent meter data Meter data can be used much more proactively than for billing only and its value only increases with the demands for higher energy efficiency and the transition to renewables.
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