Echelon Corp. unveiled the Echelon Control System (ECoS), a new open software platform for intelligent distributed control of the smart grid. The announcement was made at a special event with industry consultants, such as KEMA, and Echelon customers and partners including Duke Energy, Oracle, SEAS-NVE, and Telvent. ECoS will run throughout the edge of the grid on the new Edge Control Node (ECN) 7000 series of open and extensible hardware solutions.
Industry veteran Ron Chebra, Vice President at KEMA, Inc, framed the situation at the edge of the grid, which represents the space between distribution and end user, saying, "Utilities today face a complex set of interrelated challenges. Increasing peak demand, the proliferation of renewable energy sources, and the emergence of electric vehicles are creating new uncertainties. Intelligent distributed control at this edge is necessary to make the smart grid a reality."
"ECoS and the ECN 7000 family represent an important step forward for Echelon as a company and the smart grid as an industry," said Ron Sege, President and CEO of Echelon. "ECoS will move the grid beyond centralized reading of meters to a truly open, intelligent and distributed system that can monitor and react to an increasingly dynamic and demanding environment. Even as demand for electricity grows and its supply becomes increasingly distributed, utilities can now enhance customer experience through improved reliability, accelerated response times and increased efficiencies. We are excited by this vision and extremely pleased at the strong interest among our customers and partners."
ECoS provides an open and secure application framework for monitoring and controlling devices at the edge of the grid – the critical point where the distribution network connects to customers. ECoS enables developers to easily build applications, or "ECoS apps," to make local, autonomous control decisions in near real-time for maximum reliability, survivability and responsiveness.
For example, utilities have minimal warning of outages because they cannot completely monitor the conditions on the grid that can cause these service interruptions. With ECoS and the ECN, utilities have unprecedented visibility at the edge of the grid, so anomalies like voltage fluctuations, power quality and line signal strength can be quickly identified, giving utilities the potential to see where their next outage may strike and take corrective action before it occurs.
With investment in one open platform, ECoS allows utilities to meet next generation demand response challenges, optimize local grid efficiency, predict power outages before they occur and rapidly restore service, and implement other smart grid services.
"Like all utilities, we are seeing new demands placed on the grid from the increased number of intermittent generation sources, such as wind power, and the introduction of electric vehicles," said Peter Iversen, CTO at SEAS-NVE, the second largest utility in Denmark. "By distributing intelligent control into the grid, ECoS and the ECN 7000 will raise system reliability and survivability to the next level by eliminating central points of failure and vulnerability. ECoS will deliver the near real-time responses utilities need to increase efficiency, create balance and increase our control at the edge of the grid."