The impact of "Big Data" on energy and sustainability

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How big is big data?

Wikipedia defines big data as collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data is measured in terabytes, petabytes and describes the volume, variety and velocity (how fast data is being produced).  Every day, globally we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data —and 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. We are at the beginning of the big data revolution.

So how does big data impact energy and sustainability?

Data is collected across the energy industry; meters, sensors, on premise control and building automation software, weather, energy and resource information, energy consumption and production data are commonly captured. Data can be by collected by the second, minute, hour, month- or any variation in between. All of this data combined creates a requirement for a scalable solution that can mine all that data to create meaningful insights.

Big data does not need to be scary.  Humans need software to manage this massive amount of energy and sustainability data and make intelligent recommendations for what humans need to do next. Properly harnessed, big data has enormous potential for improving operations, increasing efficiency and reducing our energy and resource consumption.

Some examples of big energy data in action

On the supply side, grid operators can aggregate data from grid sensors and utility databases and use the data to monitor the grid and combat blackouts in real time. On the demand side, commercial and industrial customers can aggregate  energy and resource consumption, weather, production and other business data. Data can be mined to perform diagnostics, make intelligent recommendations and detect anomalies and inefficiencies to reduce or optimize energy consumption.

Seeing how far we have come in this field in the last few years, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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  • In real time, how long shuld we store, a large amount of measured data? Will this be necesery for long terms? For example if we aproch to Smart Grid that the software platform shuld react imidiatly on power usag, and reorganise power flow. What will we do with measured data like, voltage, curent, frequenci etc. on some bases after a wile we simply dont need this data anymore(maybe only some larger interval basic data). Also data like logfile-s what use are there after 10-15years? My apinione is that we need SG periferials for colecting data and act imediatly whit remote controlable facilities. Storaging Big data wont help us in saving enviroment or energy… Thanks for reading

    • Your question is a great one, how long should energy interval data be stored?
      I have not seen a study that recommends a time range, if anyone has -please send a link. I have seen a study that says only 2% of energy data is analyzed. Archive interval data has many uses, recording past efficiency projects and the impact in order to model future projects more effectively, tracking consumption patterns over long periods of time. I think of it like keeping accounting files, what if you needed that one data point in the future to predict the outcome of a million dollar project, but that data had been erased? Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  • Siddharth

    11 years ago

    What are the solutions offered by Schneider Electric in utilizing big data? Are there any smart grid software solutions offered by Schneider Electric for analysing the big data?

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