Demonstration of Intelligent Circuit Breakers for Energy Management, Verification, and Load Control
Thomas Reddoch | Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI)
This project is for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to demonstrate Eaton Corporation’s Energy Management Circuit Breaker (EMCB) at a military installation within Southern Company/Gulf Power’s service territory. The installation of EMCBs at a military installation would establish key performance and reliability attributes of the technology. This ESTCP project will focus on two high-value EMCB use cases. In each case, the EMCB will replace existing breakers on circuits servicing targeted end-use loads to execute a control and/or monitoring function:
• Using EMCB to support resilience. In this application, EMCB-enabled remote controlled load shedding will be used to demonstrate a resilience objective wherein non-critical loads will be shed during a simulated critical period to support mission assurance requirements.
• Establishing EMCB market value. The project will identify locations where energy efficiency measure will be installed under a Utility Energy Services Contract (UESC) and will operate on a dedicated circuit. The project will replace existing breakers with EMCB, collect EMCB-generated energy performance data before the new efficiency measure is installed, and compare that baseline to post installation data. The project will also demonstrate the use of an EMCB’s control feature to manage peak loads and/or minimize demand charges.
The EMCB is a UL-listed device packaged in a standard circuit breaker form factor. It is a fully-functional product currently available in limited quantities. EMCBs can be installed in compatible low-voltage panelboards having single-pole (120 V) or double-pole (208 V or 240 V) branch circuits rated up to 50 A. Each EMCB has embedded revenue-grade power and energy metering, including the ability to measure and report power (real and reactive), voltage, current, and frequency, a remotely controllable on/off switch, an event-triggerable fast-waveform capture capability, and a Wi-Fi communications interface.
The EMCB is expected to be a low-cost tool for managing electric loads. It is simple to install and, as it operates at panel level, the EMCB is also load agnostic. These attributes create the potential for EMCBs to be installed across Department of Defense (DoD) and military service facilities. The potential value of EMCBs in the near term includes enhancing energy resilience of critical systems, improving measurement and verification in UESC contracts, and reducing utility bills through energy and demand savings. In the longer term, performance data collected by EMCBs could be used for predictive analytics to enable preventative maintenance. Demonstrating the latter capability is not part of this project. The EMCB is likely to reach commercial production levels in the Summer 2019. The experience with EMCBs gained through this project will provide DoD and the military services with information about the installation, operation, and value of EMCBs to inform future projects and requirements development.