Using data historians to predict energy trends

James Kelloway from National Grid (U.K.) explained how data historians are being used to predict energy trends in the United Kingdom and protect energy grids from potential malfunctions and damage. Kelloway spoke at the 2015 Schneider Electric Software User Conference in Chicago.


James Kelloway, advanced applications team leader, National Grid (U.K.), presents on data historians being used for more than past data at the 2015 Software User Conference. Image courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE MediaWhile data historians are often associated with recording past data to look for trends, this data can also be used for future predictions and analytics, according to James Kelloway from the National Grid (U.K.) in his presentation "Historians are just about past data right?" at the 2015 Schneider Electric Software User Conference at the Westin Hotel in Chicago on Oct. 20.

Kelloway's role as an advanced applications team leader is to craft advanced applications and displays for engineers and innovate the data to deliver solutions. "What we can do is give them the best possible data we can give them," he said. 

Analyzing energy trends

The National Grid owns and maintains the high-voltage electricity transmission system in England and Wales. Balancing supply and demand for electricity, gas, and power generation throughout Great Britain minute by minute is extremely important and having a data historian on-hand to show past trends as well as analyze new trends are vital. To that end, the company stores forecast information in the historian, creating value in the three years the system has been in place.

This is especially important as the British government is looking to address growing energy concerns. Kelloway said that they have outlined scenarios based on the energy trilemma of supply security, affordability, and sustainability. He said that they are using their data historian to map future energy scenarios (FES) that represent transparent, holistic paths. He said that this is important because the U.K.'s future in the energy market will evolve, and this uncertainty will continue for decades.

The chart shown below outlines the country's green ambitions and potential prosperity against economic, social, technological, and environmental factors that were outlined in 2015. The box on the lower-left hypothesizes the worst-case scenario with the situation remaining more or less the same. The boxes in the top two rows highlight economic growth, but the box in the top-right emphasizes a societal and governmental ambition to increase "green" sources of energy.

The chart outlines the United Kingdom’s green ambitions and its potential prosperity against economic, social, technological, and environmental factors that were outlined in 2015. The box on the lower-left hypothesizes the worst-case scenario whereas the

The onus will be on National Grid to come up with the right answers for the government and for its customers. The data historian's ability to protect the country's energy will be vital. "Next few years, we have to be really good at our jobs, or we're going to be in trouble," Kelloway said. 

Historian for situational awareness, alarms

He said that they've used the data historian to work as an alarm manager and provide enhanced situational awareness, which is important when the historian is providing information for an entire country.

Kelloway said they also plan on using it to track solar and wind data, which are not readily available. He said they want to gather future forecast data, insert it into the historian, and use the future data range to record data and start to analyze power generation and trends. This is especially important when it comes to wind power because most of the demand is in the Southeast U.K., but most of the wind occurs near the North Sea.

With an unclear energy future, any reliability and prosperity advantages they can acquire could be vital in determining the future energy scenario in the U.K.

- Chris Vavra is production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

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