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New smart grid project showcases future of energy distribution, importance of BPM

Ben Farrell
September 28, 2012

A new smart grid project operated by Sudberry Properties and the San Diego Gas & Electric Company is showcasing what the future power grid could look like. One of the clearest indications from the project is that the future will require a significant amount of data analysis. This makes business process management software solutions an important consideration in the utility industry.

What the project entails

Smart meters, electric vehicle chargers, solar arrays, battery storage systems and fuel cells will be installed at the Civita development, which is owned and operated by Sudberry Properties. Consumer power control systems will also be deployed at the location, allowing residents to carefully control how they use energy. When combined, these resources showcase a fully featured vision for smart grid technologies.

In many instances, smart grid projects are installed in phases, with smart meters generally coming first, followed by various upgrades within the utility infrastructure and concluded with consumer-focused improvements. Few projects have fully explored what the technology can do for consumers, but the Civita solution provides a sample of how smart grids can enable sustainability within a housing development.

Where BPM comes into the equation

The Civita project shows what the smart grid can do. It also makes it clear that using the advanced grid structure to enable innovation depends on a variety of systems working in conjunction with each other. Solar panels have to deliver their power generation data to utility providers in real time, while consumer data is also transmitted, so operators can identify how much energy should go in the grid and how much should be stored in batteries. Sensors need to track weather conditions to better predict when solar energy will be available, ensuring that fuel cells are ready to kick in when the renewable energy source is not available.

All of the data transmissions and communication within this setup needs to be analyzed quickly so grid operators can streamline power distribution. Having a BPM software solution in place in a setup of this nature can allow utilities to focus on the data that matters, The BPMfor energy platform automatically sorts through the data and ensures workers only have to work with the information they need.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications