The IoT brings everything together and opens new perspectives
Customers want clean wind energy. Available any time at an affordable price. But that isn’t all that simple. With hundreds of wind power plants that are subject to differing wind strengths, it is tough to feed just the right amount of energy that is needed into the network. Digitalization helps here.
The energy supplier IWB Industrielle Werke Basel, based in Basel, Switzerland, owns wind power plants in numerous European countries. The company quickly recognized the benefits and opportunities that the Internet of Things (IoT) presents to the energy industry. Each wind turbine is equipped with a number of sensors that are continually collecting data. The spectrum ranges from data about the status of the wind turbines, the amount of energy being produced through to actual consumption. All that in real time.
How can such massive amounts of data be analyzed in nanoseconds?
Our challenge lay in tapping the enormous amounts of data that are supplied by the 18 wind power plants in France, Germany and Switzerland and bringing these together on one Internet of Things platform so that the data can be used in other applications. The varying technical set-ups of the different plants had to be taken into consideration. The platform also had to be scalable at any time through the addition of further plants and other applications.
Monitoring and predicting energy production
The IWB IoT wind park project is unique. With it, we created the first productive IoT platform in Switzerland. Rather than building a dedicated data network, for IWB we use high-performance infrastructure that is already in place: a cloud solution based on the software Microsoft Azure. It collects all the data from all the wind power plants and then assesses these with a predictive business intelligence system and big data analyses.
Our smart analyses take the raw data and turn them into valuable information, visualizing them to make them easily understandable. That also has the benefit that maintenance teams are notified almost instantaneously about disruptions and issues, so they can act immediately.
The first productive IoT platform in Switzerland
IWB uses the IoT wind park to monitor energy production in its wind power plants across borders and in real time with the goal of trading energy more efficiently. Our project is the first productive Azure IoT platform in Switzerland. We won the Microsoft Cloud Platform Award 2016 and the Microsoft Partner of the Year Award 2016 for it.
René Frei, Head of ICT, IWB: “Collecting data and making it available for processing is one of the major challenges of the energy industry. Using IoT technology makes quick, customer-friendly solutions possible that are affordable, powerful and can be adapted.”
Pioneering model for renewable energy
For consumers, our solution is an important step toward a secure, affordable supply of renewable energy.
About IWB Industrielle Werke Basel
IWB supplies and networks over 250,000 customers in the Basel region and beyond with energy, water and telecommunications. IWB owns and operates all the systems necessary for the distribution, storage and quality control of energy, water and telecommunications. These include nearly 4,000 kilometres of power and water mains, with 392,000 kilometres of fibreglass lines.