Smart Energy and Environment
The new “Smart energy & environment” program aims at analyzing the contribution of technological information and communications infrastructures (called “smart” or “intelligent”) over the Group’s entire skills range: water, natural gas, electricity, heating and cooling. This assessment covers technical-economic, environmental and social aspects. It is based on three programs: energy storage, smart metering and smart grids.
Numerous services offered to individuals and organizations rely on the collection of multiple measurements relating to energy and the environment. Within this context, smart metering focuses on the development of automated systems of remote reading of energy and water consumption, the development of warning systems, surveillance and help with running domestic and urban equipment…
Remote meter reading, for monitoring water consumption in real time
SUEZ and Eau France, through their joint subsidiary Ondeo Systems, were selected by IBM to equip the 250,000 water meters of the residents of the Island of Malta (which is facing a serious water shortage) with remote meter reading technology. With the SUEZ remote meter-reading technology, it will be possible to monitor precisely the amount of water consumed by residents on a daily basis. This means water consumption can be monitored in real time and any consumption abnormalities can be identified quickly. With the installation of the remote meter-reading system, the Island of Malta can continue to upgrade its water service while meeting the challenges of preserving resources. This technology is already installed in some French cities and is tending to become more widespread. For example, Eau France equipped the Left Bank of the city of Paris with a remote meter-reading system.
A smart grid is a network combination between the electricity power grid and information and telecommunications technologies. In addition to making the profession of network manager evolve considerably, it opens access to advanced production management (distributed and renewable), storage methods (such as batteries for electric vehicles) and loading (necessitating strong interaction with the consumer).
These evolutions, which will enable a better match between supply and demand and make networks operation secure, will therefore be at the origin of major changes in electricity supply and production businesses.
The GreenLys demonstration project, an essential step
After more than a year of preparation, the GreenLys demonstration project was endorsed by the French Government through the favorable opinion of the General Commissariat for Investments. In connection with the call for expressions of interest in smart grids and smart metering by ADEME, ENGIE positioned itself as a leading player in the GreenLys demonstration project consortium.
This consortium of industrial and research partners, including ERDF, GEG, Grenoble-INP, Schneider, Alstom and Atos, also involves the Grenoble and Lyon local authorities. This demonstration project has three goals:
- Identifying environmental and economic value creation through advanced management of demand and distributed production by incorporating the complementarity of different energy types;
- Placing the customer at the heart of the Smart Grid concept to make better use of opportunities for flexibility in energy demand and local production (1,000 residential customers and 40 tertiary customers);
- Create an economic, industrial and commercial view of the deployment over time of the functions associated with Smart Grids: emergence of the economic signals, technologies and customer segments concerned, associated business models, changes in the regulatory framework.
“Linear”, a cornerstone of research on Smart Grid implementation
Linear (Local Intelligent Networks and Energy Active Regions) is the most visible demonstration project on smart grids and smart metering in Belgium and enjoys vast support from the Flemish government. It is helping to prepare eventually for the large scale deployment of smart meters in Belgium, a key component in the deployment of the concept and Smart Grid solutions for residential customers. With this project, it is possible to acquire reliable knowledge and experience in smart grid technologies and their related performance.
Laborelec is contributing by developing data gathering and supervision methods for field testing, by contributing its expertise to develop a boiler and smart heat pumps, by testing the concepts developed in its laboratory, and by assessing the impact of such smart applications on the quality of the low-voltage electrical grid.
Energy storage, a key technology for the future
Energy storage is one of the responses to the new problems encountered by electrical systems, which are increasingly limited by the new uses and rapid development of renewable energy. In fact, these energy sources are intermittent for the most part, more or less predictable and rarely programmable. When energy is stored, it can be injected or extracted on demand; it can also be moved from one period to another. Energy storage also guarantees a secure supply of optimum quality.
In this area, the Group has undertaken several research projects, including SEARCH. This project is supported by the National Research Agency (ANR) and managed by CRIGEN. Participants include the Atomic Energy Commissariat (CEA), Saint-Gobain and the Armines Laboratory of the Paris School of Mines. It involves the study of thermal storage on ceramics for adiabatic CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) and the study of cavities mined for the storage of compressed air.