Since 2003, rMeter
has been in the Galapagos Islands, monitoring the climate, several buildings, a
solar power system, and a primary fossil fuel generation plant. for critical assessment
of the environmental impacts of fossil fuels and the long range potential of energy
conservation measures and renewable energy applications.
Remote Wireless Data Collection
The monitoring system uses advanced telecommunications technology
to bring data half way around the world to our web server in California. Data is captured by sensors
clamped to the high voltage buss on the generators, to the rMeter data logger,
then via wireless antennas (on the power
plant, on a hill at the edge of town and on the roof of the electric utility’s office),
to the server at ElecGalapagos, then via another wireless circuit to the local satellite
dish, via satellite onto the internet to our server in California where the data
is processed and stored in our data base.
This complex installation
clearly demonstrates the problem-solving abilities of the rMeter team. In a demanding
project with multi-client engagement, the rMeter staff has provided the highest
level of support.
The client and sponsors have used the rMeter data in various ways:
- As local residents acquire more appliances
and population pressures continue, a primary concern has been to know whether earlier
projections of electricity demand are borne out in practice. In fact, growth (about
10% per year) has been higher than anticipated.
- To reduce the use of exhaustible fossil
fuels, it is important to keep electricity consumption to a minimum. By monitoring
specific buildings over time, it is possible to measure and display the impact of
life-style choices and management practices.
- It is critical to monitor electrical generation systems performance in remote locations,
where technical skills are not always available and maintenance requires outside
intervention for diagnosis and parts supply. We have been able to provide the kind
of detailed data needed to confirm systems performance and arrange for repairs based
on such information.
In 2007, two small solar systems and three large wind turbines
will be installed on San Cristobal Island. rMeter will be expanding the monitoring
system in order to analyze the contribution of solar and wind-generated electricity
to the performance of the grid. Furthermore, the client will use our data to assess concerns
about grid stability whenever intermittent renewable generation sources are used.