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Hortonworks Customer
Open Energi

OPEN ENERGI: CREATING THE NEW ENERGY ECONOMY

Open Energi is at the forefront of smart grids and the Internet of Things in the UK. By harnessing flexibility in energy demand, it is building a new energy economy which is clean, affordable and secure. Open Energi enables its customers’ demand for electricity to respond intelligently to changes in supply and demand UK-wide thus supporting renewable generation, increasing efficiency and cutting costs. In return, they can earn revenues equivalent to 5-10% of their annual energy bill.

Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand technology platform sits at the heart of its business helping to aggregate demand-side flexibility from thousands of assets, from fridges to furnaces, without impacting performance. Collectively, these assets are helping to create a circular economy where productivity and sustainability go hand in hand. It is good for Open Energi’s customers (who publically include United Utilities, Sainsbury’s, Tarmac and Aggregate Industries), good for National Grid and good for the environment. Demonstrating the appetite for smarter energy solutions, Open Energi’s customer base has more than doubled to 50 organisations in the past 18 months.

WHY CONNECTED DATA PLATFORMS? PROVIDING THE FUEL FOR DYNAMIC DEMAND

As a pioneer in its market both in terms of the service it offers and requirements for real time analytics, machine learning and IoT, Open Energi was initially challenged when it came to finding the right architecture to underpin its business.

With its Dynamic Demand algorithm, data is Open Energi’s greatest asset. For example, it tells them when they’ll be able to turn a certain asset, such as a large cooling unit, on or off without disrupting its primary function. It also allows Open Energi to prove to the National Grid that an asset it claims has provided service modified its power consumption to help balance the grid.

To meet the requirement of its Dymanic Demand model, Open Energi initially set about building its own bespoke environment. Identifying Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) meant the team could focus on accelerating the transformation of the energy system rather than spending time on the underlying architecture.

By working with Hortonworks, Open Energi was able to experience the benefits of the Apache Hadoop eco-system by bringing its various elements together as one in an enterprise-ready, scalable fashion. Just one example of this is evidenced by Open Energi deploying HDP on Microsoft Azure and fully integrating it with its wider services, such as Azure Stream Analytics, resulting in much reduced development times and an easier-to-maintain data platform.

MAXIMISING ASSETS & ENERGY SAVINGS WHILE REDUCING CO2

As a result of using HDP, Open Energi is helping organisations gain valuable insights by analysing real-time information based on data streamed from over 3,000 electricity consuming assets and meters around the UK. It does so by collecting, storing and analysing sensor data more efficiently and at a far greater scale than previously possible with its bespoke approach.

Additionally, HDP provides a single view of the electricity consumption and process information to enable swift reactions to changing conditions on the grid and identifying methods of generating extra revenue from existing assets, maximising energy savings and reducing CO2 emissions.

Open Energi also selected Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to increase the speed at which information can be analysed while improving data quality management and enrichment. HDF is solving many technical challenges for Open Energi such as when one component in the dataflow can’t keep up with the volumes it is receiving or how to prioritise which data to send at a given time.

HDF goes even further by more effectively querying data that lives on individual devices without them ever having to send the raw data back to the database.

THE RESULTS: CONNECTED DATA PLATFORMS & THE INTERNET OF THINGS FOR THE NEW ENERGY ECONOMY

As a result of its investment in Hortonworks Connected Data Platform, Open Energi’s has been able to integrate a very wide variety of datasets, including sensor data, historical weather data and wholesale electricity prices, without spending a large amount of time on development and integration work. By bringing the data together, the commercial team is able to clearly evaluate the potential value of future service offerings Open Energi may bring to market.

Furthermore, HDP allows Open Energi to archive data for roughly a fifth of the cost of its traditional SQL database while still retaining the ability to query the data.

Additional results thus far include:


  • Further cost reduction thanks to 10-15% less data being transmitted across a mobile network

  • Creating a full transparent trail for data provenance that Open Energi can share with the National Grid and its customers

  • Enabling line of business teams to contribute to building data flow rules and processes

  • Standardising the output of data across various end point devices



Michael Bironneau, Technical Director at Open Energi, commented: “The demand for data collection and movement is growing every day as we connect to more equipment and help drive momentum behind smart grids. From day one, Hortonworks has been committed to helping us manage rapid change. Hortonworks enable us to manage the complexity involved with data aggregation whilst producing unrivaled results.”



Open Energi is a great example of how the ever growing rise of connected devices and the ability to unlock the data they generate is fueling architectural and business transformation. Looking ahead, Open Energi’s vision is to further develop its Dynamic Demand technology platform around smarter demand by incorporating the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to orchestrate demand from industrial equipment, battery storage systems and co-generation. By combining HDP and IoT, Open Energi will make connections across disparate datasets at a far greater scale resulting in a previously unattainable level of insight into our use of energy as part of a system which is cleaner, cheaper and more secure.