Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"How Honeywell is Tackling the Smart Grid" (HON)

Here's some smart writing on one of the class acts of American business.

From earth2tech:
How does one of the world’s biggest makers of technoloy to control buildings connect to the power grid? With a reach into 150 million homes and 10 million buildings, and more than 100 utility partners around the world, Honeywell is in a natural position to start answering that question.
Indeed, Honeywell has been bridging the gap between smart buildings and the smart grid for years now. Most of that work has been through established channels such as smart thermostats installed for utility demand response programs, or building energy management systems that allow commercial and industrial clients to better manage their power use.

Still, that’s a good base for deploying the next-generation of technology. For Honeywell, that work includes a number of high-profile utility pilot projects, as well as its acquisition of Akuacom, maker of servers that use the cutting edge open source demand response standard OpenADR. In addition there’s Honeywell’s more recent partnership with home energy management startup EnergyHub. Here’s a breakdown of how Honeywell is moving from smart buildings into the smart grid.

1). The Smart Home via the Smart Thermostat: While Honeywell has been making programmable thermostats for more than a decade, it is also moving into the next generation of thermostats that can communicate with utilities to turn power up and down to meet grid needs. That’s the world of demand response, and Honeywell is a big provider of equipment for the industry, as well as essentially a manager of demand response capability itself, with about 1 million direct load control devices in the field controlling about 1 GW of load as of 2010.

Of those thermostats, more than 350,000 of them are its own UtilityPro thermostats, which are now being used by Baltimore Gas & Electric and 30 other utilities in the U.S. and Canada. Honeywell expects to have about 500 MW of load under UtilityPro by 2011, a figure that would put it in a close second place to the residential demand response capacity of Comverge, which stood at about 650 megawatts as of 2010, according to a recent report from the Cleantech Group.

There’s an important difference between Comverge and Honeywell on this front, however. Honeywell doesn’t manage that load itself. Instead, long-time communications partner Cannon Technologies manages UtilityPro networks on behalf of utility clients, primarily via one-way pager networks. But UtilityPro is also ZigBee-enabled, which means the thermostats could interact with ZigBee home area networks being included in most of the smart meters now being deployed in North America. Though, Honeywell hasn’t yet linked UtilityPro thermostats to smart meters....MORE