Demonstrating eco-power meters for use in the commercial and industrial sector

Wednesday January 26th, 2022

USAID Vietnam Urban Energy Security Project

The USAID Vietnam Urban Energy Security project (2019-2023) works closely with the Government of Vietnam at the city, provincial, and national level to improve legislation related to clean energy, mobilize investment, and increase the adoption and deployment of innovative energy solutions.

The Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF)

The Project’s Innovation Challenge aims to fund 20 pilots and/or demonstrations of new products, business models, or financing models for advanced, distributed urban energy systems between September 2021 and March 2023. 

Advanced energy solutions exist in areas such as building efficiency, transportation, and electricity generation. These can contribute to the goal of greater urban energy resilience and energy security, however there is resistance to their uptake because 1) proof of concept has not been demonstrated, and 2) potential customers do not know solutions exist and are therefore unaware of the potential benefits.

Through the Innovation Challenge, the Project will support the piloting and/or demonstration of innovative ideas in Danang and/or Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with the potential to achieve scale and commercialization. 

Organizations that are registered in Vietnam, with bold ideas across the following categories will be encouraged to apply: transportation, building efficiency, electricity generation, electricity delivery and management, and water efficiency.

The Problem

Vietnam has a large range of domestic primary energy sources such as crude oil, coal, natural gas, and hydropower. However, increasing demand for energy has meant Vietnam has been a net energy importer since 2015. Urban areas – the economic engines of the country – are the major sources of energy demand for buildings, industries, transport, etc. National electricity consumption is expected to grow by 8 percent annually until 2035. 

The Solution

The Government of Vietnam (GVN) has put in place key policies to realize the energy efficiency potential in various economic sectors e.g., the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Law promotes efficiency in buildings, industrial, and commercial sectors. In March 2019, Vietnam issued the Vietnam – National Energy Efficiency Program 2019-2030, with the objective of achieving the efficiency rate of 8-10 percent of total national commercial energy consumption.

The School of Electrical Engineering (SEE) has developed the eco-power meter in support of GVN policies to promote energy efficiency. The eco-power meter maximizes energy efficiency through visualizing energy consumption and promoting energy efficiency actions by consumers.

SEE will demonstrate the eco-power meter in a facility/building that is representative of the Vietnamese Comercial and Indstrial (C&I) sector, and will document achievements, challenges, and key findings. The demonstration aims to show that SEE’s eco-power meter can result in energy savings. 

Description of the Solution

The eco-power meter solution comprises two parts: 1) internet metering system, and 2) online energy management software.

The internet metering system includes smart metering devices that can be installed in electric boxes to measure power consumption of lighting equipment, air conditioners, and production equipment in facilities such as buildings, industrial zones, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, etc. The system can handle meters being installed in up to 99 different appliances and can process data measurement at intervals from 1-60 minutes.

The meters can send information to the online energy management software via Wi-Fi. Data is uploaded to a server and is accessible via computer when required, allowing for easy analysis, visualization, and the development of an energy savings plan.

The second part of the system, the online energy management software, provides a useful service for consumers by generating electricity usage reports, presenting data in graphs, and raising alarms when electricity consumption levels are reaching a defined threshold. The software:

  • Provides information at the level of individual items of equipment as well as for an entire facility.
  • Identifies equipment that is operating unnecessarily and that is underperforming against set standards or pre-set thresholds.
  • Potentially reduces energy bills by offering energy management programs based on power use data.

Pilot/Demonstration Activities

Planned activities include:

  1. A survey of commercial and industrial sites in Danang and HCMC where the eco-power meter could be applicable.
  2. Identifying a suitable site for demonstrating the eco-power meter and seeking agreement with the site owner.
  3. Developing a technical proposal for the owner of the pilot/demonstration site, outlining the pros and cons of installing the solution. 
  4. Commissioning the eco-power meter and developing a measurement and verification plan.
  5. Documenting results and lessons and developing a manual for suppliers (and their agents) to promote and scale the technology.