"It's important for utilities to understand how to most efficiently utilize new technology. This is a mutually beneficial relationship." -Sarah LaRose, Holyoke Gas and Electric
The National Science Foundation funded Shenoy’s foundational smart-grid research, and now he and his team are moving into the deployment phase with several new technologies intended to help residents and utility companies achieve their energy goals. Along with partner Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E), Shenoy and his team are analyzing 18,000 smart meters deployed in western Massachusetts and are continuing to expand their efforts. Whereas previous meters recorded data once a month, these record electricity data constantly and feed it wirelessly to the electric utility. Because this information yields patterns—peak usage times, appliance usage, and more—it is invaluable in making buildings more efficient.
In the next phase of the project that is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Shenoy and the team will use a computational cluster at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center to interpret and analyze data collected by the smart meters in Holyoke. The data will feed several subprojects already underway, which include an automated thermostat, a web-based solar predictor, and an electrical reserve battery. The automated thermostat device uses building-specific data to make customized usage recommendations and implement such simple yet effective changes as automatically adjusting the thermostat when no one is home.
“Once we started collecting the data, it seemed like we didn’t have to stop there. We could do a lot more with it,” Shenoy says.
“It’s important for utilities to understand how to most efficiently utilize new technology. This is a mutually beneficial relationship,” says HG&E Project Engineer Sarah LaRose of the utility’s partnership with Shenoy and his team. Shenoy believes that his data-monitoring skills will have a positive impact in the effort for a more sustainable society. He attributes the project’s success to the regional cross-disciplinary collaboration that is putting foundational science into practice.
“I think the stars are aligned in some sense for us. We have a municipal utility willing to try this out, we have the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center able to provide the resources to do the big-data research, and we’ve already developed the technology and it’s ready to go,” says Shenoy.