Mobitex Technology - Solutions - Case study

Energy Systems and Services, ESS, The Netherlands

Dutch utility company Nuon is operating in a newly deregulated energy market in which it profiles itself as a green energy company focused on renewable power sources. A new Mobitex application supplied by RAM Mobile Data and Romesq allows Nuon to regulate the electricity supply exactly to ensure that no electricity is wasted and that power is managed efficiently.

Electricity supply exactly regulated

The Energy Systems and Services (ESS) division of Nuon, one of the Netherlands largest energy and water companies, recently installed a wireless telemetry solution in its nationwide electricity network. Some 500 co-generation plants distributed throughout the country are now connected to the Mobitex network operated by RAM Mobile Data. For a relatively modest investment, the utility company is now able to regulate energy production exactly. This not only makes energy management more efficient. For Nuon, which is a green energy company that prioritizes renewable energy sources, the new application is an important part of its profile.

The 500 WKK installations control the operation of plants driven by natural gas or biogas that can be started automatically and remotely to produce heating, cooling, steam or electricity. Electricity not consumed locally is returned to the network. Some 45 percent of all WKK installations are at this type of plant, while the remainder are installed at other locations, such as hospitals and swimming pools. Plants are naturally equipped with flue-gas filters to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Paul Marquering from Nuon’s ESS business unit is responsible for the project. He explains why it is so important to know exactly how much electricity is delivered. “We always have to work with our colleagues in other business units and take their requirements into consideration. The other units trade in energy and naturally want to have an optimal grasp of total electricity production so that they know how much power they need to buy. To provide them with this information, we produce forecasts every 15 minutes,” says Marquering.

In addition, the wireless telemetry application provides Nuon with a tool to determine if forecast amounts need to be raised or lowered. Because Nuon is able to quickly increase or decrease production, operations personnel can respond appropriately to avoid surplus production of electricity.

Efficient power management

Continuous monitoring is essential to achieve these benefits. Prior to the introduction of the wireless telemetry application, plant availability and maximum output power could only be determined on a daily basis. There was also little uniformity in this information. Today the WKK application makes information available instantly, thus increasing the efficiency of power management. The wireless telemetry application also facilitates settlements, since changes in power output can be metered up until five minutes prior to final settlement.

Paul Marquering and his project team evaluated several options for data communications. “We quickly realized the benefits of true wireless data communication over the Mobitex network operated by RAM Mobile Data. A fixed connection was too expensive. GSM, on the other hand, was not sufficiently reliable, while GPRS was not available. RAM Mobile Data was able to guarantee reliable data transmission,” says Marquering.

Nuon worked with Romesq, a Dutch supplier of telemetry and monitoring applications for utility companies. Romesq provided the hardware and software and worked closely with Paul Marquering and his project members to develop the WKK application.

“This was crucial for us, since we do not have our own IT department,” notes Marquering. “We had to ensure that the WKK units in the power plants worked correctly against Nuon’s central systems and that remote monitoring and control could take place without operator intervention. Romesq delivered a system that gives us tremendous flexibility.” .

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