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Poland needs a well thought out strategy for the development of a comprehensive "smart"communication

On 5TH June 2013 in Warsaw at the Marriott, international conference "III Smart Communications & Technology Forum" was held. The conference was attended by nearly two hundred experts from institutions, companies, organizations and associations concerned with a broad range of smart grids. It turns out that the definition of Smart Grid poses many problems itself (despite the fact that it put a smile on the specialists faces). Determine the purpose of implementation of intelligent solutions is also not easy to do , especially when these purposes change during the projects implementation. In which direction should follow the smart technologies in our country? At the moment we do not even know a concept of the new energy market, so how the action plan which takes into account the financing and value-added of SG development in Poland can be created?

Smart Grid is not the same as Smart Metering

Jacek Koźbiał, an expert representing the Strategic Partner Forum – Mikronika company, Director of Affairs Electricity Measurement Systems, have pointed that smart grids are often associated only with meters and remote reading. The same thoughts has Michał Ajchel, Vice-President Infrastructure Business, Schneider Electric, said during his presentation that it is only the "tip of the iceberg". Koźbiał drew attention to the title of the conference, especially the word "communication", which attracted Mikronika two years ago, during the first edition of the event.

To paraphrase an expert: we need smart devices, which then are systematically combine in smart grids according to the engineering development, but only inteligent communication ensure the succes - that is the action itself , accompanied by data processing, analysis, and the ability to self-repair. Smart Communications should be a bridge between the physical network, the core of IT and the applications.

The similar view has Jacek Piotrowski, Utilities Industry Expert, EMEA Solutioning Team, Hewlett-Packard Company – which was another Strategic Partner of Forum. Piotrowski appealed to the participants, that if improving meter reading and using invoices of actual consumption instead forecasts suppose to be a target of implementation of the smart grid in Poland, than this investment from a business point of view is simply unprofitable. This type of goal is worth achieving only during acheving another, more concrete goal which will ensure the profitability of the implemented project. In Piotrowskis opinion, through the development of Smart Grid, not only reading and energy efficiency improvement can be achieved (more important than just a more convenience reading), but also energy security may be increased by reducing peak loads. Preventing potential blackouts, of which huge financial impact is difficult to estimate, seems to be an important purpose.

Michał Ajchel stressed that the inclusion or exclusion of any energy source change the parameters of the network, including short circuit parameters. To increase network stability (and energy security at the same time) related to energy derived from wind, water and sunshine, development of communication and software is essential - efficient informatic system seems to be the necessary support.

Issues related to blackouts, it is accidents involving a loss of voltage electricity networks in large areas, was carefully analyzed during the speech of Dr. Ing. Sergejs Rubcovs, Senior Engineer of Relay Protection Department, Augstsprieguma tīkls from Latvia. The expert pointed out that the cost of the largest blackout in the United States was approximately $ 6,000,000,000. Professor Jerzy Zieliński reminded participants during his inaugural lecture that 80% of power interruptions happens due to failures in distribution networks. The expert noted that the opportunity to improve the reliability of power supply is precisely the development of smart grids – by network reconstruction and reorganization of the management systems in power sector. It is worth noting that due to the fact that construction of smart grid requires huge financial resources, the purpose of their creation in stages is most common one. Another view has Michael Ajchel, who pointed that project should not be divided into parts as one 'turnkey' project gives a better guarantee of achieving the expected results. The expert also said that it is essential to require the possibility of integrating a larger number of meters producers but it is recommended to use a single model in a single hub.

Future... in the clouds?

Marzena Śliz, Director of the Department of Infrastructure Development, The Office of Electronic Communications, informed about meetings and plans of cooperation between Office of Electronic Communications and Office of Energy Regulation which aims to develop a joint smart grid project. Experience of the telecommunications industry seems to be essential not only because– in contrast to the energy – telecommunications industry has the ability to remot reading and experience related to its implementation and operation. The key seems to be the issue of data collection. The representative of the Office of Electronic Communications points out that there is an obligation to store recordings for 12 months, which also entails fortifications for the protection of the material and procedures associated with the provision of eligible persons.

Speakers at the ongoing panel debate during III Smart Communication and Technology Forum were asked by a participants the question relating to the increasingly popular cloud computing solution. Smart grids will certainly use this model of data processing, however because of multiplicity of types of perception of the cloud technology and the lack of a legal framework , discussion about the functioning of cloud computing in the context of the Smart Grid can only be academic.

Professor Zielinski pointed out that the development and operation of smart grid results in large amounts of data. Expert presented forecasts of Gardner Group, which shows that smart grids will generate about 22 gigabytes of data from each million of recipients. Aside from the potential size of the database, we need to consider at least the three aspects – how to control obtained information , how to use them and last but not least, how to protect them.

We need a legal framework, without them there is no investment

Safety and risks issues should be considered not only from the technical side, legislation seems to be equally important. Att. Agnieszka Laskowska, Legal adviser in law firm DLA Piper, turned the attention to the fact that data collected through smart networks are likely to be classified as a so-called sensitive data. Laskowska concluded that the additional information obtained through intelligent networks can not be used if it is not necessary (properly justified and intended). It is worth mentioning that obtaining approvals on final consumers may be difficult and costly. There are interpretations, according to which constitutional amendment would be required to push through some of the ideas associated with the smart grids.

Suppliers of technology and smart grid solutions complains about the insufficiency of the legal framework. The development of infrastructure without guidance at least from Main Inspectorate of Protection of Personal Data carries a high risk, as it may be, for example, that the high frequency of measurements will be prohibited. It is also unknown how far metering can go – – does insight in the power consumption of the devices will be legally justified? Moreover, it is interesting, whether specific protocols will be allowed and what safeguards/protection will be required.

Marek Koźbiał supports open interfaces based on TCP / IP standard because of a number of reasons (even if implementation of the ISE will be phased), while another experts – believe that the solution is controversial because of the security issue. Ronen Ostri representing RADiFlow company from Israel which spcialized in Secure Industrial Ethernet solutions for Critical infrastructure applications, states, that security systems located as close as possible to meters should be fundamnetal. Expert pointed out, that the biggest risk is located in the confluence of
existing infrastructure with the new smart generalization. Security of meters are likely to resemble securities which we know from online networks – unwanted access will be blocked by firewalls, aand transmitted data will be properly encrypted. Companies from the utilities sector are well aware that danger usually increase together with increase of the number of used devices (in this case – the meters).

In accordance with the Energy Office Directive from 2009 about common energy market, implementation of smart metering AMI system in Poland should take place by year 2020. There is no much time left to rethink the strategy and for the implementation itself.

Smart grid as a opportunity for the development of distributed generation and energy saving

Although the first phase of the construction of smart grid in Poland will be smart meters installation, it is difficult to ignore the issue of prosumer energy and renewable energy sources during discussion about SG. Experts keep repeating that network is to enable better energy management and reduce the consumption but also it should increase the safety of the entire system by using a large number of small energy sources.
Wojciech Stawiany representing the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management informed the participants about the preparation of new programme called "Prosumer". The program includes fundings for households which are interested in installing renewable energy micro installations. Stawiany have stressed the importance of micro energy sector due to the reduction of CO2 emissions and the added value in the form of additional jobs. These arguments should also convince the representatives of the power system, because in the long run the cooperation between high power generation and prosumers will be possible. Dominik Karbowski representing the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Israel company Nation-E Ltd, drew attention to the smart grid seen through the eyes of prosumer energy. Tests, which have been carried out, indicate that the problem which occure during obtaining energy using for example photovoltaic panels, may be avoided by using energy storage. With the right measurement it will be possible to track the consumption and surplus of produced energy and enable the efficient use of energy. Perhaps we're close to Smart Grid, but for now we suffer from a luck of energy „ triplepack" - especially a lack of RES Act. . The sart date of National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management new programme is addicted to the new law entry date.

Of course it is difficult to assess if the solutions from foreign markets would be right for Poland – not even because the different climatic conditions, but rather because the habits of end users. Marek Koźbiał admitted that he does not know how smart grid could reduce energy consumption (besides reducing losses in energy transmission) as most of the Polich households consumes relatively less energy compared to Western countries. Speaker describes himself as a conscious „user", who knows exactly how much energy is consumed by a devices at his house and admit that he is not able to reduce that consumption. Jacek Piotrowski representing HP, refers to the American experience in smart grid highlighting the issue of bringing the relevant project objectives from a business point of view (for example in Detroit it was reduction of lossess in water supply system). It is also worth mentioning that some of the improvements are due to the habits of end users. In USA consumption may be reduced by increasing the efficiency of air conditioning which is very common there.

The new reality of i-energy.

Dr Bożena Matusiak and Professor Jerzy Zielińsk - both representating Department of Computer Science at University of Łódź, have moderated III Smart Communications & Technology Forum. Mrs Matusiak concluded, that intelligent energy market should be an area of sub-activities, which are characterized by high efficiency, optimization of needs and costs, environmental performance, integrity and dynamic development, and new technology aplications – we should remember that in the end everything will be verified by business through the specific projects implementation. Todays market forces development of new action strategies and provides opportunities for the development and implementation of innovation, including new business models for prosumers. Thinking about intelligent communication and about being a "smart", we can't foget about the entities from following sectors: gas, heat, construction, telecommunications, transportation, fuel and agriculture (including energy agriculture). The development of the important areas of the energy-market, together with the ICT sector in SG perspective, will likely lead to the formation of area of energy utilities sector and the creation of multimedia and infrastructure enterprises.

In summary, formation process of the information and measurement environment for tomorrow's energy market, creates a new reality of so called i-energy. Thanks to it, there will the potential for entirely new products and service as well as activities and areas in an integrated market which didn't exist until now. The biggest problem seems to be the complexity and cost to make the necessary arrangements as well as government negligence in the implementation of the new law and the national strategy. Energy companies will have to be prepared and actively explore new areas of activity, new products and services as well as new functions that should be developed in an integrated market for energy utilities which will be metered in real time.

Author: Kamil Szkup, CBE Polska

This article is based on materials and discussions accompanying to III Smart Communications & Technology Forum – conference organized by the Team of CBE Polska.

Strategic partners of III SCTF was companies: Mikronika and Hewlett-Packard; Plaw Partner – Law Firm DLA PIPER. As technology experts presented : Schneider Electric and Radiflow, as a Industrial Supplier – Itron Company.

Honorary Patrons of the event were: The Ministry of Administration and Digitization, Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, Association of Polish Electrical Engineers, Office of Electronic Communications, Federation of Engineering Associations NOT, Institute for Tele-and Radio, Institute of Communication, Foundation for Energy Conservation, Foundation for Energy Efficiency, Polish Chamber of Electrical Engineering, Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Śląsk University of Technology and Opole Univeristy of Technology.

Thanks to media partners for assistance in promoting the event: SmartGridNews.com, Smartgridcareers.com, SmartGridToday.com, Polski Przemysł, Przegląd Techniczny, Rynek Elektryczny, Electrical Review, Quality News, re-database.com, Умные измерения (smartmetering.ru), EnergoTrade.ru, Українська енергетика (UA-Energy.org), towave.ru, Smart-Grids.pl, newenergyworldnetwork.com, dailyenmoveme.com, WSNBuzz.com, RE News India, elektro.info.pl, ogrzewnictwo.pl, portalenergetyczny.com, eko-polska.pl, eko-samorzadowiec.pl, inwestycje.pl, odnawialnezrodlaenergii.pl, globenergia.pl, ioze.pl, elektroonline.pl, Energetika.net, mysolutioninfo.com, portalbiogazowy.pl, GramwZielone.pl, inzynierpv.pl, biznes.wieszjak.pl, instalacjeb2b.pl oraz PortalEnergia.pl.

During the forum, we worked with: National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, ESNA Association (Energy Services Network Association), ERRA Association (Energy Regulators Regional Association), Latvian Transmission System Operator – Augstsprieguma tīkls oraz Swiss Transmission System Operator – Swissgrid Ltd.

Forum was conducted in collaboration with Professor Jerzy Zieliński and Dr Bożena Matusiak from the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Management, University of Łódz, whom we specially thanks to.

We also thank all the participants – for the presence, trust and attention during the session at III SCTF and we hope to meet again at IV Smart Communications & Technology Forum.

Team of CBE Polska