The U.S. power grid summons to mind colossal-sized images: sky-high transmission towers, enormous generating stations and soaring high-voltage transmission lines. It’s a vast, mature and highly complicated infrastructure that continues to keep our homes and businesses illuminated, temperature controlled and vibrantly humming with energy.
The current grid is made up of 2.7 million miles of power lines with power from 5,800 power plants regulated by 3,200 utilities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuel power plants using coal, oil or natural gas generate 70 percent of the power for the U.S. with nuclear power plants generating 20 percent. There is a need to not only address the current grid model, but to improve the grid, how we access it and, more importantly, how we pay for energy.
As markets rapidly evolve in an increasingly connected world, power grid technology is physically becoming smaller and our energy density is becoming greater. Thanks to wireless communications and innovative software applications, we are able to integrate electricity generation, transmission and load with data analytics to better understand what is happening on both sides of an electrical meter. It’s called Grid 2.0, and it’s no longer the grid of the future thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). It is quickly becoming the grid of the here and now, analyzing and integrating data, and adjusting, distributing and personalizing energy based on real-time supply and demand.
What does an evolved grid with smart metering and new pricing models mean for your business?
Plenty, according to Kyle Goehring, National Alternative Energy Services Manager at JLL. Goehring explains there is a need for transformational change to our century-old grid model where the baseline cost for electricity is independent of whether or not you use it, which leads to inaccurate and over billing.
“Grid 2.0 gives companies the ability to integrate smart building technology and intelligently understand energy supply and demand, and to make decisions based on that intelligence for more accurate analysis,” Goehring said.
Commercial buildings are evolving to operate as smart buildings that exchange critical data behind the scenes to connect devices and systems that align with an owner and tenant’s business strategy — reducing energy consumption, optimizing performance and helping to shape a workplace strategy based on actual use of space. The new grid would allow for a much more critical view of energy usage data in changing pricing models and energy storage strategies.
Grid 2.0 supports smarter buildings, allowing businesses to integrate renewable energy, specialized technologies and applications based on specific and personalized needs. Individual temperature and lighting controls, room scheduling, security and access control are all applications designed to work together in a holistic approach to a smart building program.
“At JLL, we’re big on smart buildings,” said Steve Yatsko, Vice President with JLL’s Alternative Energy Services. “They offer an increased knowledge of how everything interacts, allowing us to adjust our electricity rate schedule according to consumption patterns. We’re priced on how much we use and when we use it, creating a maximum financial benefit for our clients.”
Our team uses the 3-30-300 principle to illustrate the holistic smart building strategy: On an annual basis, a typical organization spends $3 per square foot on utilities, $30 per square foot on space and $300 per square foot on payroll. Implementing smart building technology to improve energy efficiency, inform a workplace strategy and drive employee satisfaction and productivity can benefit any company looking to reduce costs.
Grid 2.0 gives companies the power to measure and the means to integrate supply and demand, and as a result, they’re able to store and distribute energy in an effective way that makes both economic and operational sense.