Energy monitoring at the Center for Alternative Technology - part 1

Over the last two months I have been doing a project at the Center for Alternative Technology (CAT). I have been working on the monitoring system for the microgrid they have there, its has been and continues to be a really fascinating and enjoyable project.

CAT is one of Europe's leading sustainability center's, it is a university, a visitors center a pulisher of books, reports such as zerocarbonbritain and a place were practical solutions, sustainable technologies are tried out, tested and demonstrated.


For a sustainable technology enthusiast like myself it is a great place to be. There is a lot of green technology there! A very large PV roof, several hydro turbines, wind turbines, woodchip and pellet boilers, CHP plant, heat pumps and many others I'm sure I have missed. The electrical generation technologies are all connected up to a microgrid and there is a heat main on the heating side of things.

The microgrid is really interesting, Jaise Kuriakose is the electrical engineer for the microgrid and has designed the system. I recommend having a read of the follwoing articles, blog posts and Jaise's presentation about the microgrid:

Turned on! The UK's first Island Micro Grid Goes Online article.
Turned on! The UK's first Island Micro Grid Goes Online blog.
Distributed, Smart and Micro grid systems presentation.

Monitoring
On the monitoring side there are pulse output kwh meters on all the renewable generators and non interruptible mains loads. As the microgrid is a recent addition, when I started these meters were not connected up to a data acquisition/logging system.

I spent the first couple of weeks connecting up these pulse output meters to the scada system that was in place for the previous monitoring setup and then configuring the scada system for the new metering setup.

The immediate aim of this was to get data to the microgrid public energy display, which I will write about next in part 2..... To engage in discussion regarding this post, please post on our Community Forum.