Innovative Energy Bank to be Deployed in French Towns

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CIAC-IT, Networked Energy Services Corp. (NES), and their partners are set to deploy the VERTPOM Energy Bank for the towns of Péronne and Saint-Quentin in France. The solution aims to create a balance between energy production and consumption.

CIAC-IT, a French software solutions provider, and NES, a global provider of smart grid technologies, are working alongside the French utility company Gazelec and the University of Picardie Jules Verne.

Energy Bank, a decision support tool based on artificial intelligence, collects electricity and energy network data, analyzes network status, and simulates energy production levels, consumption and losses. The goal is to create “positive energy territories,” with balanced energy consumption and local renewables generation and storage, and a net flow back to the grid.

“This three-year project is part of the French Investment Program for smart grids supported by the French authorities. As such, it is being followed and controlled by the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME),” Véronique Laclef, deputy managing director for CIAC-IT, told Microgrid Knowledge.

NES smart meters

The project will be a permanent deployment for a subset of the circa 8,000 inhabitants of Péronne. NES smart meters will provide a comprehensive set of measurement points for input into the decision-making tool.

“Currently, around 4,200 NES smart meters have already been deployed into this community and are providing the measurement points,” said Jon Wells, vice president of customer solutions at NES.

Integrated security features, such as NES AES128 encryption provided through the standard Open Smart Grid Protocol, enhances the security of the smart meters and protects the system from cyberattacks.

The VERTPOM infrastructure also includes management of gas, water and any available energy meter connected to the NES electricity meter.

“It connects to other noncommunicating meters in the home via a local wireless home area network built into the smart meters called mBus, added to a dongle connecting the meters,” Wells said.

Demand control services

Incorporating water and gas into the analytics allows the utility to make strategic decisions across their wider profile of services. For example, it can recommend the use of electricity when solar energy is available, and gas use in the evenings to supplement stored electrical energy.

“The NES smart meters also offer the option for selective demand control. Consumers that agree to the option, perhaps as part of their tariff, may have their maximum consumption levels and heavy consumption uses remotely controlled,” Wells said.

This feature aligns with a number of countries around the globe that have introduced demand control into their smart grid deployments to better match demand with supply and increase sustainability.

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According to Laclef, this technology is portable, replicable and deployable beyond these French towns.

“They can be adapted for other regions where the blend of energy supply centrally generated, imported versus locally generated from renewables may differ,” Laclef said.

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