What Is the Internet of Energy (IoE)?

Internet of Energy (IoE) is a technological term that refers to the upgrading and automating of electricity infrastructures for energy producers and manufacturers. This allows energy production to move forward more efficiently and cleanly with the least amount of waste. The term is derived from the increasingly prominent market for Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which has helped develop the distributed energy systems that make up the IoE. 

Key Takeaways

  • Internet of Energy is a technological term that refers to the upgrading and automating of electricity infrastructures for energy producers and manufacturers.
  • IoE allows energy production to move forward more efficiently and cleanly with the least amount of waste.
  • Benefits of using IoE include increased efficiencies, significant cost savings, and a reduction in the wastage of energy.

Understanding Internet of Energy (IoE)

The technology surrounding the Internet of Energy can be a fairly complex and difficult concept to understand, so it's important to understand the basics. IoE is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology with a variety of different energy systems. The Internet of Things refers to the idea of connecting devices to the internet. This includes anything from smartphones, tablets, and television sets to major appliances, headphones, and automobiles.

By using IoE technology, manufacturers and producers can reduce inefficiencies in existing energy infrastructure by increasing generation, transmission, and use of electricity. Making updates to electric infrastructures allows an ease in flow of energy which can maximize its potential, therefore cutting down on any wastage of energy. Without any critical updates, a lot of that energy is lost along the line because they can't transmit it efficiently. Put simply, the lines simply don't have the capacity to carry all the energy being sent.

Without the implementation of an IoE system, energy may be lost while traveling across lines because they can't transmit it efficiently.

Adding IoE technology to the process can also lead to the installation of smart grid technology. Smart grid technology allows users to integrate communication systems, control power and electrical flow, measure usage, monitor the health of their systems, and automate their power systems among other things. Smart grids allow users to make better business decisions and to make forecasts for the future.

Special Considerations

As countries around the world invest more in green energy and renewable resources, the inefficiencies of existing power infrastructures around the world are often overlooked. This means renewable energy cannot be provided at its optimum level of efficiency because the grid cannot fully support it.

One potential solution to the problem of energy inefficiency is ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission. This is a system that allows energy to be transmitted rapidly over long distances. UHV solves the problem of energy production being located too far from load centers. China first implemented UHV in 2009, but its development is constantly expanding to meet demand.

In coming years, as the world works toward harvesting renewable energy sources, the use of nonrenewable resources is expected to fall, which will reduce the need for outdated infrastructures that handle resources such as coal and oil.

China and Energy Usage

Although China is one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy, it still experiences shortages and energy crises because it cannot deliver that energy at a level that can sustain its population. This results in power outages and gaps. The reason? The energy exists, but the infrastructure does not. Similarly, the country produces a massive number of electric vehicles but doesn't have sufficient charging stations, so the vehicles cannot operate.

The country is still working to automate distribution and add more resources to meet demand, including more charging stations for electric cars. It is also constructing storage sites—particularly in cities that use the most energy—in order to store excess energy efficiently and close to where it will be needed. This will have added economic benefits for companies that supply renewable energy such as solar and wind since more energy will be retained and sold, in addition to providing relatively low storage costs.

In 2014, China's energy loss due to infrastructure inefficiencies was larger than the energy used annually by many countries around the world. But according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the nation's energy efficiency levels have improved in the years since, with the amount of energy used to produce a unit of the China's gross domestic product (GDP) dropping by 5% in 2016—the most recent data available.

Benefits of Internet of Energy (IoE)

There are many benefits that result from the implementation of IoE for both manufacturers and energy producers including solar and utility companies. As noted above, it reduces inefficiencies, making the transmission of energy much more productive. There are also significant savings in money as well as a great reduction in the wastage of energy. This, in turn, can be passed down to consumers or end users, who will may also see a cost saving.

Examples of Internet of Energy (IoE)

Uses of IoE can be found in a variety of different applications. An example of IoE technology includes utilizing smart sensors which are common among other IoT technology applications. This allows IoE-facilitated mechanics such as power monitoring, distributed storage, and renewable energy integration.

General Electric

We can look at multinational General Electric (GE) as a real world example using IoE technology. The company launched its own startup, pairing LEDs and solar panels with software. This allows the system to gather data to apply insights to corporate operations that aim to increase savings related to lighting and productivity