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Internet of Energy: Vector uses AI to democratise energy for Aucklanders

31 Oct 17

Auckland’s energy needs are evolving, and will only continue to grow and evolve.

To meet these demands, Vector is turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The energy group will work with existing partner mPrest, an Israeli technology company, to develop an artificial intelligence system that will manage Auckland’s electricity network.

Vector’s mDERMS programme, developed in collaboration with mPrest engineers, uses the latest technology to better monitor, analyse, and control Auckland’s energy network.

The city’s network connects traditional infrastructure like electricity lines and substations with new technology like solar panels, energy batteries, and electric vehicles, or DERs (Distributed Energy Resources), to power more than half a million (555,100) homes and businesses.

Sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Energy,” mDERMS functions as an overlaying’ system of systems’ that connects the dots – the DERs - to create a unified smart grid.

The system can integrate, oversee, manage, and make use of these DERs and their controlling systems on Vector’s electricity network.

The software uses integration, artificial intelligence and analytics to manage electricity demand and network data across Auckland, as well as enabling monitoring and control capabilities as the network grows.

To put that into perspective, across Vector’s energy network there are currently

almost 3,500 solar panel connections, almost 700 battery connections and 30 electric vehicle chargers installed across Auckland.

However, by 2020, Vector is planning for about 40,000 DERs (solar panels, household batteries, electric vehicles and more) to become connected to the grid.

Simon Mackenzie, Vector’s CEO, says, “This ‘internet of energy’ platform capability is world-leading and is seen globally as the next big advancement in energy system evolution.”

“It means that from Vector’s control room, with one operating system, our engineers can better predict and manage outages by optimising DERs to enable a streamlined, efficient delivery of energy to and from the grid.”

“That’s never been a possibility, up until now. This helps ‘democratise’ energy, enabling customers to easily access low cost energy and control different network inputs to optimise their energy use and cost.”

Vector has also entered into an investment and reselling agreement with mPrest to assist the company with expanding its reach throughout Australasia.

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