NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
106 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | SEP. 14 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
> LIKE SO MANY INNOVATIONS of the digital age, electric
vehicles (EVs) promise to transform the way we do seemingly
mundane things, such as driving a car.
One of the other miracles of modern technology is its ability
to stretch its impact beyond the ordinary things for which it was
intended. In this regard, EVs are no exception.
A new platform being developed by the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is intended to
make the EV not only a car for fuel-efficient driving but also an
integral device in the evolving smart grid.
In July, EPRI announced a joint project with eight automakers and 15 utilities to develop and demonstrate an open
platform that would integrate plug-in EVs (PEVs) with smart
grid technologies. The connection would offer many benefits to
car owners and utilities alike.
In technical terms, EPRI states it will enable integration
across multiple communication pathways, such as automated
metering infrastructure (AMI), home networks,
building energy-management systems and energy-management services providers.
The platform will also allow utilities to rely
on PEVs as ancillary electric-power storage
devices or, in simpler terms, big batteries on
wheels. Utilities could draw power from connected PEVs when demand is high to help stabilize the grid and store the intermittent power
from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
On the other side of the equation, the platform will allow
PEV owners to communicate with their utility and take advantage of variable rates by charging up at times when demand and
rates are lowest.
Utilities and regional transmission organizations participating
in the project include Austin Energy, CPS Energy, CenterPoint
Automakers include BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda,
Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota.
> AN UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER supply (UPS) is typically used
to protect electrical equipment where an unexpected power
disruption could cause injuries, business disruption or data loss.
UPS units range in size from small ones designed to protect a
single computer to large versions, backing up data centers or
Despite its maturity, the global UPS services market has
found a rich vein of opportunities in the retrofit market. The
large installed base of UPS systems has widened the scope for
upgrades and upkeep agreements, brightening the prospects
for service providers like electrical contractors. This finding is
according to a recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan, a leading
global research company.
Frost & Sullivan found that the UPS market earned revenues
of $1.97 billion in 2013 and estimates it to reach $2.67 billion in
2017. North America and Europe will remain the two biggest
markets for UPS services worldwide.
“The rapid increase in mission-critical applications is
pushing end-users to devise ways to avoid downtimes,”
The global UPS market has untapped potential, but the lack
of a large service network has prevented it from breaking into
several underserved markets. The dearth of capable and skilled
service professionals further hinders service providers from
capitalizing on this potential. UPS manufacturers must broaden
their networks by setting up regional service stations. Forming
alliances and partnerships with local manufacturers will help
them widen their service capabilities and maintain proximity to
“It is also crucial to proactively educate customers on the
benefits of service contracts, preventive maintenance and
remote monitoring,” Gnanajothi said. “Developing and sustaining a favorable relationship with end-users will give UPS service
providers an edge in the competitive global market.”
Open Platform Helps Plug EVs Into the Grid
Users Upgrading to Advanced UPS Systems