Humans are consuming more energy every year, and utility companies are scrambling to meet the demand.
The International Energy Agency expects global energy demand to increase by 37% by 2040, which would likely put a strain on energy supplies.
But utility companies are finding solutions thanks to the Internet of Things. The IoT is making energy use more efficient, which should help relieve some of the stress on energy demand.
Smart meters have become the top IoT device among utility companies in the last several years. These devices attach to buildings and connect to a smart energy grid, which allows these companies to more effectively manage energy flow into buildings.
But there are many more ways the IoT will help the energy industry, specifically water, electric, oil, and gas utilities. Below, we’ve outlined the ways that IoT utility companies are making energy consumption more efficient.
Internet of Things for Water Management
You’ve undoubtedly heard at some point how important it is to conserve water. Don’t run the water while you’re brushing your teeth, don’t let the shower run when you’re not in it, etc. This becomes even more important in states such as California, where droughts are seemingly perpetual. And furthermore, water conservation is necessary for smart homes and smart cities to exist and function efficiently.
As a result, smart water management is growing in popularity, as it gives consumers the ability to easily monitor their water consumption and provides useful information to the public.
These smart water sensors track water quality, temperature, pressure, consumption, and more. These devices typically communicate directly with a water utility company, which uses software to analyze the data and then returns it to the consumer in an easy-to-understand format. Users can then understand how their consumption compares to city averages, previous months, and more.
Another option is water leak detectors, which are useful for anyone who has had a faulty pipe or leaking appliance in their home at some point.
As these devices grow in popularity, several companies have begun bringing smart water sensors to market. Honeywell, Insteon, Sensaphone, Fibaro, Quirky, and Samsung all have smart water sensors or water leak detectors available for purchase.
IoT for The Energy Sector
Smart Meter Savings BII
As stated earlier, smart meters have become the most popular IoT device for utility and energy companies. And that popularity will only grow in the coming years.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, estimates that the global installed base of smart meters will increase from 450 million in 2015 to 930 million in 2020, which would mark a compound annual growth rate of 15%. Total smart meter installations will grow to 134 million by 2020.
These devices allow users to track their energy consumption in much the same way that water sensors do, and this monitoring also has a significant financial effect. BI Intelligence expects utility companies to save $157 billion by 2035 by using smart meters.
The IoT has also started to transform the oil and gas industry, as more than 62% of executives in these businesses around the world plan to increase their investments in digital technology in the next three to five years. This is a smart play, as one connected oil well can produce 500,000 data points every 15 seconds to give oil companies unprecedented understanding of how their wells are performing.
This technology has already started to bear fruit, as the IoT has increased U.S. oil production by 283% since 2010, with a far more efficient production per rig. BI Intelligence expects IoT devices in use on oil extraction sites to grow from 346,000 in 2015 to 4.96 million in 2020.
More to Learn
The IoT will make energy and water consumption far more efficient in the next several years thanks to smart devices that allow consumers and companies to have a clearer understanding of energy usage than ever before. And better energy conservation will facilitate advancements in transportation, manufacturing, and cars.
But these are just a few areas that the IoT will completely change.