Vector launches artificial intelligence system to manage Auckland’s electricity network

Innovation Media Releases

Vector today announced it has expanded its partnership with Israeli technology company mPrest, to continue to develop and apply a machine learning and artificial intelligence system that will better manage Auckland’s changing energy demands.

The mDERMS programme, developed by Vector Ltd. and mPrest engineers, uses the latest technology to better monitor, analyse, and control Auckland’s energy network, which connects traditional infrastructure like electricity lines and substations with new technology like solar and battery energy solutions, or DERs (Distributed Energy Resources), to power more than half a million (555,100) homes and businesses.

With customer energy needs and expectations rapidly changing, mDERMS is an overlaying ’system of systems’ that can integrate, oversee, manage, and make use of these DERs and their controlling systems on Vector’s electricity network.

With capability for the system to be applied to industries outside of the utilities sector, Vector has also entered into an investment and reselling agreement with mPrest to assist the company with expanding its reach throughout Australasia. 

Simon Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer of Vector Ltd, says the company is excited to expand its relationship with mPrest. 

“With the transformation of the energy sector in mind, we’ve already been leading the development of new customer solutions using our existing expertise in running energy systems combined with advanced technology and international partners.” 

Natan Barak, Chief Executive Officer of mPrest, says: “Our partnership with Vector is what we strive for – a happy customer who gains confidence in our software and comes back not only wanting to invest in it, but also to help replicate its success for other customers.

“It’s common for our customers to expand their relationship with us after experiencing the benefits of our products. Vector’s interest in transitioning from customer to investor and business partner is a powerful vote of confidence in us – an established player in the utility and energy space is not only willing to implement mPrest into production, but is willing to stand behind our product as a distributor as well.” 

What is mDERMS?
mDERMS is a “system of systems” which connects the dots into a unified smart grid.

Sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Energy,” mDERMS gathers and analyses Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) like solar panels, energy batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), etc, and integrates them onto one platform that can be managed by Vector to optimise this complex energy system for the end-consumers.

The smart grid of the future will be less like an “electron corridor”, and more like a vibrant energy marketplace. mDERMS will enable this marketplace to exist, allowing our communities and business access to different sources of energy when and where they need it, and at the cheapest price possible.

The software uses integration, artificial intelligence and analytics to manage electricity demand and network data across Auckland, as well as enabling monitoring and control capabilities as the network grows. 

mDERMS is also able to adapt for integration with future DERs and systems in the energy sector.

Simon Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer of Vector Ltd, says: “This ‘internet of energy’ platform capability is world-leading and is seen globally as the next big advancement in energy system evolution. It means that from Vector’s control room, with one operating system, our engineers can better predict and manage outages by optimising DERs to enable a streamlined, efficient delivery of energy to and from the grid. 

“That’s never been a possibility, up until now. This helps ‘democratise’ energy, enabling customers to easily access low cost energy and control different network inputs to optimise their energy use and cost.”

Statistics
*In 2016, Aucklanders used about 8,500 Gigawatt hours of energy.

*Across Vector’s energy network currently, there are:
•    Almost 3,500 solar panel connections
•    Almost 700 battery connections
•    30 electric vehicle chargers installed across Auckland – with more to come

*By 2020, Vector is planning for about 40,000 DERs (solar panels, household batteries, electric vehicles, etc) to become connected to the grid.

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