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UMBC partners to create utility-driven smart energy services

October 6, 2015 8:28 AM
CSEE Professor Nilanjan Banerjee and collaborators at UMass Amherst, Microsoft Research, Williams College, and the Holyoke Gas and Electric have been awarded a $1M dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The award is part of the National Smart Cities Initiative launched by the White House last month. The the three year project, Utility-driven Smart Energy Services, will help design web service based analytics for energy management in residential homes.

The project will focus on developing a utility-driven energy service platform. Since buildings consume a large fraction of society’s total energy usage, even modest improvements in building energy efficiency have the potential to yield significant benefits. In recent years, utilities have deployed tens of millions of smart electric meters that record building energy usage over short intervals (e.g., every few minutes). While the original purpose of smart meters was to support basic utility operations (e.g., automated meter reading), this project uses them as the foundation for developing a new class of smart energy service systems.

The project will analyze the vast amount of data available from utility smart meters and other networked sensors to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and the electric grid. The research is utility-driven, since utilities have (i) access to massive amounts of customer energy data, (ii) a way to deliver the results of analytics to customers, and (iii) strong incentives to improve customer energy efficiency (e.g., by reducing peak demand to reduce their own operational costs). The approach is scalable, since it leverages already available building smart meter data, rather than requiring the installation of new smart devices and control systems.
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