Unleashing the Power of the Satellites for Enhanced Grid Efficiencies

On 17th December 2018, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) and European Space Agency (ESA) jointly announced that they are studying the feasibility and the commercial viability of using data from satellites for the monitoring of power grids and for supporting the development and management of microgrids and utility operations. Potential areas of opportunity identified include asset management, two‐way communication between smart meters and grid operators, prediction of consumption or generation peaks, development of Internet of Things (IoT) services, and the enhancement of virtual power plants. IESA is collaborating with ESA and European TSOs and DSOs to promote microgrids, electric vehicles, and energy storage technologies.

MarketsandMarkets™ View Point:

Rajiv Roychaudhuri – Associate Director : Energy and Power, at MarketsandMarkets™, shares his Point of View as mentioned below:

Microgrids Segment Will Benefit From Satellite Technology:

Currently, a few utilities in developed countries are using drones to monitor their T&D network. Some utilities are using technologies such as substation automation, virtual power plants, and utility asset management to manage their assets. Satellite technology can be a game changer in the development and management of utilities. Satellite communication and earth observation data can be invaluable assets in planning, building, and managing of utilities.

Microgrids are a fast growing segment of the energy industry, representing a paradigm shift in power generation from remote central station power plants to a more localized and distributed generation—especially in cities, communities, and campuses. The isolation from the larger grid makes microgrids resilient, and their ability to conduct flexible, parallel operations permits delivery of power as per the requirement, which make the grid more competitive. According to a MarketsandMarkets™ report, the Microgrids Market is projected to reach a market size of USD 39.10 Billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 11.97% during the period 2018–2023. Satellite technology can be a boon in the planning of microgrids as it can help in the identification of ideal locations and the determination of the ideal type (solar or wind) of microgrids.

Impact of Satellite Technology on Utility Asset Management:

The management of utility assets is a major area of focus for the utilities. For a thorough understanding of the current technologies used in the Utility Asset Management, please refer to the MarketsandMarkets™ report. Satellite technology can have a vast impact on the way utility assets are managed. Satellite imagery can identify any potential threats to the safety of T&D lines. For example, it can identify any overgrown tree in the vicinity of a line or can relay realtime images of any sparks or arc flashes, which may prove dangerous if left unchecked.

Satellite technology can provide with the realtime weather updates which will be extremely useful in the maintenance of the assets. For example, staellites can precisely predict an impending storm or snowfall, allowing for the timely implementation of precautionary measures.

The integration of satellite data with IoT and Artificial Intelligence could help utilities in several aspects of their business such as demand–response planning, pricing, power generation planning, peak demand management, load shedding, and proactive maintenance of utility assets. According to a MarketsandMarkets™ report, the market size of Utility Asset Management is expected to reach USD 4.09 Billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.27% from 2017 to 2022.

Utility Asset Management Market
The potential use of satellite technology in the energy industry looks promising and is expected to open new avenues for companies in the Energy industry.  This would help the utility companies in reducing losses, bringing down the operational costs, reducing capital expenditure in T&D lines. Major players such as ABB Ltd., Siemens AG, General Electric Company, Emerson Electric Co. are already in the business of IoT and Utility asset management, and these companies could have the first movers advantage with this lucrative opportunity.

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