Ergon Energy trials LoRaWAN in Townsville to run its network more efficiently

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Ergon Energy trials LoRaWAN in Townsville to run its network more efficiently

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NNNCo is working in close partnership with Actility to leverage their Network Server and IoT Platform which has been successfully deployed by operators around the world.

Rob Zagarella, CEO of National Narrowband Network (NNNCo)

1.7 million km2
Geographic coverage


1st July 2016
Queensland government-owned Ergon and Energex merge

$24AUD billion assets
Energy Queensland: Australia’s largest electricity distributor

End customer

Ergon Energy

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

Energy demand variations place pressure on a huge distribution network

Ergon Energy has one of the lowest customer densities of any utility company, resulting in very long distribution lines, making load variation and management a key issue for the company. In response to load issues in the energy network, the traditional solution is to upgrade the network and increase capacity, with significant infrastructure costs.

In 2015, Ergon Erergy ran an internal Innovation Challenge that Sanjeewa Athuraliya, Telecommunications Architect at Ergon Energy, won with his Load Control Wire IoT submission. Ergon was looking for a scalable solution that has the capability to go beyond the trial. The company chose NNNCo as a partner able to provide a nationwide carrier service based on LoRa as their core technology and deliver the end-to-end solution. “I see it as a long-term relationship with NNNCo if the trial works and we roll out the network across the state”, adds Athuraliya.

The company chose its headquarter city Townsville (200 000 inhabitants) to trial the solution, developed with NNNCo and Actility, which will enable it to connect and control beyond substations to individual household power consumption, such as water heating. In October 2016, the company began a 6-month trial with a small number of households, where sensors and control modules are being installed on hot water circuits. If successful, LoRaWAN will roll out to other towns and regions throughout Queensland, Australia’s second largest state.

SOLUTION

Leveraging unique LoRaWAN capabilities and ecosystem

“To be successful, the network needs a lot of players coming in so that it becomes mainstream technology and the costs come down”, argues Athuraliya. Indeed, Ergon Energy’s choice of the open-standard LoRa technology was guided by its ability to offer individual addressability to each end point, multi-cast functionality for group communication and bi-directional communication.

  • Long range technology is essential to support the utility’s network across very large distribution areas ie 1.7 million km2.
  • Open standard allows for an open and growing ecosystem, a choice in suppliers and no vendor lock-in.
  • Individual addressability means that Ergon Energy can configure each endpoint with unique characteristics and remotely.
  • Multi-cast functionality keeps the traffic in the LoRa network manageable and ensures the solution is scalable from communicating with a few end points to thousands.
  • Bi-directional communication ensures we get feedback from endpoints so that it becomes a managed network.

“The successful implementation of end-to-end Multicast functionality results in a truly cost-effective, robust and scalable two-way network service”, concludes NNNCo’s Zagarella.

BENEFITS

A more efficient network management with the potential to drive substantial cost savings

The solution’s business benefits for Ergon Energy are:

Granular control and efficient management of the network

The LPWA IoT solution will give Ergon Energy granular control to switch individual loads on and off so that they can be reduced where needed and in times of peak power demand without impacting customers. For instance, it may change the time that a household’s hot water is heated up so that it occurs when network load is low.

Avoid unnecessary infrastructure spending

IoT makes network upgrades – which account for a large share of a utility’s infrastructure costs- unnecessary and thus drives significant cost savings in the long run.

A cheaper bill and better service for end-consumers

Energy consumers cost savings in the long-term: The objective is actually to be completely seamless to the consumer. We’re not trying to change their behavior or get them too involved and we won’t use their wifi. They will benefit long-term from a more effectively managed energy network but they don’t have to work hard for it.

 

To learn more about how deploying LoRaWAN could boost your business, contact us!

Habitat Toulouse captures accurate data for accurate decisions in smart buildings

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Habitat Toulouse captures accurate data for accurate decisions in smart buildings

This service delivers the accurate, objective measurements and the feedback necessary to support our commitment towards efficiency improvement and higher performance for our housing properties

Gérard Lepain, Director of Owners at Habitat Toulouse

End customer

Habitat Toulouse

 

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

In the city of Toulouse in the South West of France, the local housing authority, Habitat Toulouse, manages over 17500 buildings. They opted to put in place a retrofit program to optimize their buildings’ energy efficiency. As soon as the decision was made, they faced several key questions: On what basis were the costs to be justified? How were the renovations to be prioritized? To make the right choices, data was necessary. So how could they obtain complete and accurate facts to make the right decisions at the right time?

Habitat Toulouse turned to the experts in building innovations, the CSTB (the French Scientific and Technical Institute for construction). Could they provide a solution to measure the buildings’ current existing energy demands, and find the options to lower them as much as possible?

SOLUTION

Measure energy performance and define potential improvements

A key objective for  CSTB’s is to stay ahead of market demands. This French organization provides research and innovation, consultancy, testing, training and certification services in the construction industry. When Habitat Toulouse approached them with their problem, Lionel Bertrand, Head of Innovation and Development in the Energy & Environment department, knew he had the solution.  His team at the CSTB had been working with Actility to develop an innovative service for analyzing energy consumption in occupied buildings.   The service could measure energy performance and highlight potential improvements by integrating various factors such as temperature, human behavior and electricity consumption. Homes are equipped with LoRaWAN (Long Range Radio technology) network sensors and rooftop base stations.  Gerald Lepain, Real Estate Director at Habitat Toulouse, was thrilled with the possibilities the project offered, and chose to launch a test project in 168 apartments.

BENEFITS

Empower smarter decisions based on accurate measurements

  • Collect all data

The first step of the project was to deploy the Actility ThingPark LoRa network platform solution. After that, measurements could begin. All types of data related to energy performance were collected: heating, cooling, ventilation, humidity, energy consumption of lighting and appliances.  The data gathered by sensors was delivered to the ThingPark OS platform.  In real time, the data was then analyzed and audited, taking into accounts factors such as weather conditions, and each family’s behavior.  Gerard Lepain explains that “this service delivers accurate, objective measurements and the feedback necessary to support our commitment towards efficiency improvement and higher performance for our housing properties.”

  • Measure impacts

The following step of the project was to analyze the collected data, which not only enabled the housing manager to justify relevant thermal renovations, but also to quantify their impact. According to Lionel Bertrand, the main benefit of ThingPark is that  “it provides a clear and accurate visibility of energy performance, which has never been available before. This helps make smart decisions for future investments; decisions which are now founded on reliable information, not on intuition or approximation.”

  • Extend the project

For Habitat Toulouse, the pilot project in the 168 habitations will run for a second winter to consolidate energy efficiency data. As part of their efforts to constantly improve the performance of all their properties, the public housing authority plans to further deploy ThingPark gateways and sensors to more apartments throughout the city. 

To learn more about how deploying LoRaWAN could help boost energy effeciency in buildings and facilities