Energy network development
Energy network: GE’s Grid IQ ‘Solutions as a Service’ is key Internet technology helping utilities develop modern grid.
Atlanta — Highlighting the utility industry’s growing use of Internet-based data management tools to develop modern grid networks for electric distribution, GE (NYSE: GE) Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt cited GE’s Grid IQ “Solutions as a Service” (SaaS) offering as one of nine industrial service technologies that are creating more modern, interconnected businesses in a 21st century economy, during an event held in San Francisco.
Grid IQ SaaS is a cloud-based grid management fee-for-service system aimed at meeting the operational technology needs of smaller and mid-market utilities that want to avoid the overhead expenses involved with developing their own smart grid management networks.
With the world’s electricity demand expected to increase by more than 70 percent by 2035, GE’s Grid IQ SaaS and other electric distribution solutions are being deployed to help utilities around the world modernize their grid networks to more effectively meet their growing capacity, environmental and security needs.
In stressing the importance of Grid IQ SaaS as one of nine GE digital technologies that are helping to revolutionize vital industrial sectors, Immelt said, “The internet has changed the way we consume information and talk with each other, but now it can do more. By connecting intelligent machines to each other and ultimately to people and by combining software and big data analytics, we can push the boundaries of physical and material sciences to change the way the world works.”
Grid IQ SaaS allows utilities to monitor, manage and control their grid more intelligently. Using a cloud- computing services model, these capabilities can be deployed in 50 percent less time than traditional turnkey project models and 10 percent of the estimated implementation cost. This empowers utilities to embark upon grid modernization projects without worrying about the financial impact of ongoing IT operations.
Already, cities in Georgia are partnering with GE and utilities to utilize the Grid IQ SaaS tools to improve energy efficiency and to reduce cost.
“We are proud to offer this new service to our member communities as they pioneer the future of energy in Georgia. To offer the best service, we have teamed with GE — a trusted industry leader — to implement low-cost, effective solutions and to improve the use and delivery of energy to the cities’ customers,” said Keith Bass, CEO of Electric Cities of Georgia. “The City of Norcross is the first municipality in Georgia to take advantage of our Grid Modernization service, which provides a low-risk improvement of utility operations and ultimately benefits their customers.”
Grid modernization projects are capital intensive, but GE’s SaaS offering allows the utility to modernize its operations on an OPEX basis versus a CAPEX basis. This change can minimize the utilities’ initial project expenses, and smaller utilities and cooperatives supporting municipalities can expect benefits that could increase their net income. Grid IQ SaaS replaces the utilities’ IT infrastructure requirements with cloud-based computing and helps utilities manage risks associated with long-term technology investment decisions. SaaS transfers the investment need from the utility to GE by deploying a standard system.
“GE’s Grid IQ SaaS offers utilities a new method for monitoring, managing and controlling their grids more intelligently,” said Mike Carlson, general manager of smart grid solutions for GE’s Digital Energy business. “The menu of services available under our hosted SaaS server program offers utilities a cost- effective alternative for meeting their data management challenges.”
The SaaS technology combines the benefits of advanced metering infrastructure, outage management systems, interactive voice response, demand optimization systems and geospatial information systems into simple, hosted, subscription-based packages. Integrated services also offer utilities greater grid modernization capabilities by better managing electricity loads. Consumers benefit by engaging through a Web portal, allowing them to make smarter decisions and better manage their electricity, water and gas use.