Utilidata Develops Software-Defined Smart Grid Chip with NVIDIA
National Renewable Energy Laboratory to use the companies’ technology to accelerate commercialization of real-time distributed energy resource management
(PROVIDENCE, RI – December 16, 2021) Utilidata, an industry leading grid-edge software company, announced today that it is developing a software-defined smart grid chip in collaboration with NVIDIA. The chip will be powered by NVIDIA’s AI platform and embedded in smart meters to enhance grid resiliency, integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) — including solar, storage, and electric vehicles (EVs) — and accelerate the transition to a decarbonized grid.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will be among the first to test the software-defined smart grid chip as a way to scale and commercialize the lab’s Real-Time Optimal Power Flow (RT-OPF) technology, with support from the Solar Energy Technologies Office Technology Commercialization Fund. Originally developed with funding from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects – Energy (ARPA-E) program, RT-OPF enables highly localized load control to seamlessly integrate an increasing number of DERs while ensuring stable and efficient grid operations.
“To date, the scalability and commercial potential of technologies like RT-OPF have been limited by single-use hardware solutions,” said Santosh Veda, Group Manager for Grid Automation and Controls at NREL. “By developing a smart grid chip that can be embedded in one of the most ubiquitous utility assets – the smart meter – this approach will potential enable wider adoption and commercialization of the technology and redefine the role of edge computing for DER integration and resiliency. Enhanced situational awareness and visibility from this approach will greatly benefit both the end customers and the utility.”
The complexity of the power grid will grow exponentially as more distributed energy resources and intermittent renewables come online. Current meters lack the computing power necessary to support real-time, autonomous grid operations that will help achieve decarbonization goals and improve grid resiliency.
Utilidata is a leader in meter-based software solutions, having developed on-meter applications for the biggest meter companies in the world. The company’s patented machine learning software leverages real-time data from smart meters and other distribution grid devices to detect anomalies that are precursors to system failures and outages, optimize grid operations, and integrate exponentially more DERs onto the utility system. The company is also a member of NVIDIA Inception, a program designed to nurture cutting-edge startups.
“To maximize the value of DERs and integrate these resources into grid operations, utilities are going to need decentralized solutions, like RT-OPF,” said Marissa Hummon, Chief Technology Officer at Utilidata. “Existing meters don’t have the computational power or communications bandwidth to support this kind of real-time operation. But combining our real-time grid software solutions with NVIDIA’s advanced edge computing capabilities unlocks new value from the meter and offers a path to scale for solutions like NREL’s RT-OPF.”
Bringing AI to the Grid Edge with NVIDIA
Built on Utilidata’s expertise in real-time grid operations, as well as the NVIDIA® Jetson™ edge AI platform and the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite, the software-defined smart grid chip will enable smart meters to deliver greater value to utilities and their customers, while also unlocking new opportunities for clean energy companies and third-party market participants, including incumbent meter manufacturers.
NVIDIA Jetson is the leading AI-at-the-edge computing platform, used by over 850,000 developers. Pretrained AI models, developer SDKs, and support for cloud-native technologies across the full Jetson lineup allow developers to build and deploy high-quality, software-defined features on embedded and edge devices targeting robotics, AIoT, smart cities, healthcare, energy, industrial applications, and more. Cloud-native support for Jetson will help Utilidata implement frequent improvements in accuracy and quickly deploy new algorithms throughout an application’s lifecycle, at scale, while minimizing downtime.
“Our collaboration with Utilidata and NREL to bring AI to grid edge operations will increase resiliency and reduce energy consumption and costs to consumers through new capabilities in meters,” said Marc Spieler, Head of Global Energy Business Development at NVIDIA. “With the availability of an open, software-defined meter platform, utilities and consumers will no longer be locked into closed, proprietary systems that hamper innovation by limiting third-party applications.”
Utilidata is a leading energy technology company that is digitizing the grid edge to unleash the full potential of clean energy. The company’s patented real-time machine learning software leverages data from every point on the distribution grid to enhance visibility, optimize operations, detect anomalies, and integrate distributed energy resources. For more information, visit utilidata.com or follow @Utilidata on Twitter.