WA Business News Artical "AI Component Help Metro Manage Power"
Metro Power Company
Energy Efficiency, Energy Management, Electricity Market
AI component helps Metro
News: 25-November-10 by Natalie Gerritsen
FOR a business that is five years old and has only
five staff, Metro Power Company is punching well
above its weight in terms of its clientele.
Metro Power, which created the energy
management system e2m, is currently working with
BHP Billiton and Synergy, and was recently invited
to tender for a contract with the Australian Defence
The company, which last month won the growth
category at the WA Innovator of the Year Awards,
is competing with two much larger international
companies that are developing similar smart grid
e2m’s creator, Timothy Edwards, left his job as
chief electrical engineer at Rio Tinto’s Argyle
diamond mine in 2005 and formed the company
with a plan to build gas-fired power stations.
The system grew out of Mr Edwards’ frustration
with the inability of current technology to predict
lulls in demand and future energy use, meaning
operators are unable to sell excess power to the
grid because 24 hours’ notice is needed before any
Sustaining the company by doing consulting work,
Mr Edwards began working on system that could
predict energy demand.
The result was e2m – an energy management
system with inbuilt artificial intelligence, able to
learn the behaviours and patterns of energy use
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and predict future results.
e2m can collect and analyse data from all facets of
a system, be it onsite at a mine, in a high-rise
office tower, or at a suburban shopping centre
“It brings a lot of data back in real time from the
building management systems, and starts learning
what influences the energy use for that building,”
Mr Edwards told WA Business News.The system can predict spikes in energy use,prompted by things like temperature and airconditioninguse, and take action to offset thosespikes; for example by dimming lights ortemporarily recycling air rather than cooling hot airfrom outside.Without this technology, energy management auditsare done retrospectively, and another audit needsto be done after changes are implemented beforeresults can be gauged.e2m’s real-time data feeds mean that changes andtheir results can be seen instantly.BHP is using e2m to manage energy efficiency at itsPilbara iron ore mines, as well as the power grid itoperates in the region.Mr Edwards said being able to predict future poweruse was important to BHP, which was totally relianton its own power supply for its operations.“When they run out of power they can’t just asksomeone else for some. They have to build anotherpower station,” Mr Edwards said.Mr Edwards sees the company’s recent innovationaward as a valuable stamp of approval for histechnology, and an important tool whenapproaching clients who may have trouble understanding the service.
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Currently the company manages e2m for its clients,but the end goal is to teach self-management ofthe system.“The intention is that they do run it themselves inthe end,” Mr Edwards said.“The approach we’re taking is that we get it going,we learn their system, implement it, and whenthey’re comfortable with that we train a new typeof energy manager.“We’ll train them with how to use it, how to changeit, how to run it and then our role becomes more ofa support role.”
, Energy Efficiency
, Energy Management