New ｜Integrate RF and PLC technologies to build a hybrid communication system.
Impact ｜Establish domestic supply chains and support domestic companies to earn the automatic meter reading try-out cases in mainland China and Southeast Asia
Key ｜Combine wireless and wired communication and greatly improve network coverage as well as the scale of net-working.
Evidence ｜The system has been installed on the electricity meters of 10 thousand Taiwan Power Company customers as well as the try-out cases in mainland China and Southeast Asia.
AMI, Advanced Metering Infrastructure, like the neural network of an electronic grid, is the start point for smart grid establishment. The advantage of Taiwan to build AMI is based upon the integration of all Taiwan information communication technologies. AMI is the infrastructure of smart electronic grids which involves the construction of a large number of information communication modules. The information communication industry in Taiwan has the capabilities and resources to facilitate the establishment of the infrastructure.
The electricity meter industry in Taiwan belongs to the traditional industry. Under the support of the government, the industry has expedited its pace of investment and technology development and headed towards the direction of system integration. Among all, III dedicates specifically to the development of crucial technology AMI. III not only sets up a field for AMI experiments but also researches and develops sensor system construction technologies, communication server technologies, and electricity meter information management technologies etc. so that III can completely grasp the core technologies of the industry. AMI Reflects “Supply and Demand” and Facilitates Electricity Dispatching
The current electricity usage situation in Taiwan is not balancing. Most electricity usage concentrates in the northern part of the island so that electricity generated in the south must be transmitted to the north. Furthermore, the imbalanced electricity usage in different areas in the north is a long-term situation. Take the emerging areas like Neihu, Xinzhuang, Xizhi, and Luzhou for example. Since the Available Transfer Capability (ATC) in these areas is not large enough, the mentioned areas have become the regional bottleneck of electricity supply. This has become one of the most urgent problems waiting to be solved.
Nevertheless, traditional electricity meters can only record the ultimate usage amount of the clients but they cannot collect the information of daily electricity usage with in each time slot. Throughout the day, it is not uncommon that electricity usage varies. For example, the usage is normally higher in the day than in the night while the peak occurs at noon. For this reason, the electricity companies need to adjust the electric generating capacity according to peak or off-peak hours. Currently, because of the lack of real time electricity usage information and associated government regulations, electricity dispatching relies mostly on the capacity amount negotiated previously on the signed contracts and the electricity companies cannot instantly monitor and accurately control the amount according to the actual circumstances.
With AMI, it is possible to gather real time electricity usage information. The electricity meter system records automatically the amount of electricity usage every 15 minutes. The data is presented in “Wave Diagrams”. On the computer screen, related personnel can study the electricity usage behavior according to the peaks and valleys of the curves in the diagrams. It becomes more convenient for people to understand when, who, and how much electricity is being used so that they can adjust their electricity providing plan based on the usage pattern and in the future, the records are highly valuable for power companies to dispatch electricity.
By accurate electricity usage analysis, power companies can transfer the amount of electricity capability at the peak hours to the valley hours. On the one hand, power companies can inhibit clients from using electricity at rush hours. On the other, the amount of energy can be saved for electricity dispatching. As for the power usage imbalance problem between different areas, power companies can dispatch the electricity according to the concept of Demand Response (DR) so that the electricity usage in certain areas could be suppressed. The problems could hardly be resolved previously because of the varied user behavior which lead to the perplexity for detailed analysis.
III self-developed the AMI system for high-voltage end clients, which is able to gather information of 30 thousand electricity meters. Its Distant Meter-reading System (DMS) adopts GPRS communication technology which can support other distant communication technologies. The control center uses distributed server structure as main framework which is capable of future expansion. Its web-based user interface allows users to get access to information from the far end. Until now, clients appraise highly of the efficiency and reliability of the system. World First Hybrid Automatic Meter Reading Technology
There are 23 thousand high-voltage end clients adopting the AMI system. The usage amount of these clients accounts for half of the usage in Taiwan. The construction of the AMI system in the houses of low-voltage users has also been in progress. In the future, low-voltage AMI will cover about 12 thousand households.
The construction of the low-voltage AMI is not an easy task. Because of the crowed buildings, blocks one after another created by courtyards, rain shields, iron gates or illegal structures, and the humid climate, the penetrating power is extremely weak for wireless signals and the circumstances are especially difficult for setting up the wires. This has become a serious problem for low-voltage AMI establishment. There are cases such as the wireless signal cannot reach certain basements, wireless communication is blocked by walls, and there is space constraint for Power Line Communication (PLC).
Since single technology can not satisfy the coverage rate required by the system, III developed a hybrid automatic meter reading technology to solve the problem, which integrates complementarily the advantages of power line communication and wireless communication. Taiwan has also become the first country to adopt this hybrid technology.
AMI gradually makes traditional power company routines a history. In the future, meter reading staffs will not have to visit each house and users will no longer suffer the annoyance being waken up in the morning. The number of electricity usage is represented clearly on the meter and power companies can monitor the amount instantly. Looking into the future, Taiwan will continue to expand the construction of AMI so that the issues of green energy, environmental protection, and energy saving could be consolidated in the real life.