Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Measure and manage: Going green with energy management

March 13, 2012
By Kristina Urquhart

There is a lot of discussion these days about energy conservation, energy management and “going green” – for both environmental and economic reasons.

The industrial sector consumes about half of the world’s total delivered energy, making it the largest end-use sector with about 80 percent of that total used in the production of goods. Global industrial energy consumption is projected to increase by 2035 by more than 40 percent from a 2007 base, with emerging economies in non-OECD countries accounting for approximately 95 percent of this increase. Because these economies will be building their infrastructure if the means to manage that energy is contained in the systems themselves, it will be much easier to not only minimize the requirement for new infrastructure, but also to make the best use of the new energy sources when they do come online.

A large part of the incentive for Smartgrid is to connect consumers and producers of energy in a single network.

In the developed countries where demand is expected to grow but not at the same percentage of the existing base, the intent of Smartgrid will be to better manage the energy and thus reduce its rate of growth by curbing demand at peak times with such capabilities as overriding temperature settings for air conditioners in the summer, cycling car block heaters in the winter, and turning off lights in empty rooms. Doing all of these little things is expected to be able to prevent the need to build new generating capacity to manage the peak or high load situations. Peak loads are, therefore, very expensive per unit of energy because not only does the system have to change rate based on demand, but it may not operate for extended periods of time, yet must be ready when called upon.


To help you better understand the concept of sustainability, as well as set a baseline, the Amsterdam-based organization Global Reporting Initiative has developed guidelines on how to report on how well you are doing in this regard. The reporting guidelines can be found at:

One positive step in the direction of sustainability is that the most recent release of the Open Device Vendor Association’s Network Adaptation of CIP (Common Industrial Protocol) includes energy-related functionality and parameters for the recording and reporting of key energy parameters that support the reporting guideline requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative. This will make it easier for companies to report and manage what have been identified as key variables in managing the demand for energy. Companies realize that a dollar of expenses saved equates directly to an additional dollar of profit, so they want to avoid using peak energy as much as possible.

The new services within CIP permit the transparent and seamless flow of energy information, enabling systems to perform energy metering and management. In the long-term, CIP will incorporate demand-response mechanisms that will allow the industrial consumer to exchange energy with the power grid in a dynamic energy consumption-production environment; in other words, the same principles as the Smartgrid.

The reason the energy-related functionality will have a significant impact is because CIP includes DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP, which are widely used for motors and motor control centres (MCCs) – one of the larger sources of electrical energy usage in a facility, and a potentially expensive one if you consider the charges associated with a peak load occurrence. In addition to MCCs that can use any of the CIP protocols, DeviceNet is often used to connect to field devices, which means that this capability can be used at all levels of the enterprise.

As we all know, you can’t control what you can’t measure. Now we have one way to measure. At least for the CIP protocols, these energy parameters include as a minimum the energy/resource type (electrical or other source) and the base energy object capabilities of: energy measured; energy derived; energy proxy; energy aggregated; or energy rate fixed. Depending on the nature of the energy/resource type selected, it will then be determined which optional and conditional attributes will be used by the end device.

The concept of measuring energy consumed by the process and the device itself if applied to other protocols (and in particular, to industrial wireless devices) will not only help in managing energy, but also in identifying when a battery-powered or energy-storing device requires maintenance.

Another link has been added to the Smartgrid chain with the new enhancements to the CIP protocols. Hopefully we will either see ODVA make these enhancements available to other protocols, or other protocols will take similar action with the result of better integration to managing our energy needs and a greener tomorrow.


“Optimization of Energy Usage, ODVA’s Vision of Energy Optimization for the Industrial Consumer…” ODVA PUB00246, (2012-01-18)


This column originally appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.

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