Transforming Raw Utility Meter Data into Actionable Insights

William Livingood | National Renewable Energy Laboratory



Integrate National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s Open Actionable Insights Platform (OAIP) with the Navy’s existing Smart Grid Program. OAIP is a collection of open source advanced analytics software packages.  Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Building Technologies Office (BTO) has significantly funded these resources over decades and this open source codebase has been adopted by many in the private sector, including large multinational corporations. The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) Energy and Water team interviewed installation managers to source the many challenges they face; selected the issues that are relevant to utility data collection, transmission, management, and analysis; curated those issues into problem areas; and prioritized those areas by working directly with stakeholders. By the end of ESTCP’s process, it became clear that to reduce energy waste and meet Department of Defense (DoD) mandates, “installation energy managers need improved, user-friendly meter data analysis in order to track trends using historical data, identify anomalies, and make defensible, data-driven arguments about energy needs.” The investments in smart metering infrastructure mandated by EPAct 2005 and EISA 2007 cannot improve energy efficiency on their own: to produce actionable insights, smart meter data needs to be paired with an analysis toolkit like the OAIP.

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Technology Description

Through OAIP, NREL aims to provide the following complements to the Navy’s Smart Grid: a) An automated, electronic workflow that would allow the Navy to keep up-to-date information and insights for installation assets by seamlessly extracting structured data from energy audits performed by multiple vendors. b) Create an Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics (AFDD) algorithm library. c) Develop an automated process for generating “digital twins” of installation buildings and facilities, which in this case would be building energy models that would run in real time and be compared with meter and submeter data to identify fault conditions. d) Greatly improve interoperability to significantly reduce the “soft costs” associated with the continued rollout of the Navy’s Smart Grid. e) Formulate an efficient and effective approach to expand the deployment of OAIP to include integration with relevant Army and Air Force acquisition and analytics systems.

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The project hopes to obtain feedback from Navy Smart Grid on the following: 1) relevancy and helpfulness of resulting features of OAIP. 2) ensure that insights from OAIP greatly reduces the workload on DoD installation energy managers and are very convenient and simple to act on. 3) navigate DoD cybersecurity protections for the resulting OAIP. 4) development of replication materials as well as help with ensuring the project team publishes appropriate user guidance, design, and/or protocol documents to assist the future implementation of the technology. 5) evaluation of OAIP to ensure the team generates sufficient pertinent and high-quality data to scientifically validate all claims made for the OAIP.  In FY11, the Department of the Navy (DoN) paid approximately $950M in utility invoices. Based on earlier research, the research team expects that if the Navy Smart Grid eventually includes all of these facilities and OAIP is used to analyze these data to 1) detect and diagnose faults, 2) recommend energy efficiency retrofits, and 3) monitor and verify energy savings, OAIP could enable savings of 20%, equivalent to $190M.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

William Livingood

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Phone: 303-384-7490

Program Manager

Energy and Water