Demand-Response Energy Monitoring Unit from Opto 22 Monitors Real-Time Power Usage and Manages Electrical Loads on Demand

Industrial automation manufacturer Opto 22 has announced the new OptoEMU Sensor™ DR, a compact energy monitoring unit for monitoring energy usage at commercial and industrial facilities such as factories, warehouses, retail stores, and office buildings. Connected to utility meters, plant equipment, and facility systems, the OptoEMU Sensor DR gathers real-time energy consumption and demand data. It then delivers that data to enterprise business and control systems and Web-based applications for monitoring and analysis. In addition, the OptoEMU Sensor DR helps businesses take advantage of lucrative demand-response (DR) programs from their local utilities. In response to a request from the utility to reduce power use, the Sensor DR can signal electrical equipment to shed load. DR programs can provide revenue to businesses in three ways: first, from discounts for simply agreeing to shed load; second, from actual reductions in use; and third, from selling electricity back to the utility or energy provider.

The OptoEMU Sensor DR is the latest addition to Opto 22’s OptoEMU energy monitoring system, designed to make it simple for facility managers, business owners, and others responsible for managing energy to identify energy use and reduce energy costs. Many organizations today share the same problem about energy usage: they receive a bill for the total cost of energy used over a set period, with little or no detail. Without knowing where, when, and how energy is used within a facility, managers have no way to reduce costs. The OptoEMU Sensor DR solves this problem by connecting to meters and plant equipment to expose this missing energy usage information.

The OptoEMU Sensor DR first gathers energy data from up to two utility meters or submeters that emit a standard pulsing signal. Each pulse emitted corresponds to an amount of energy used, and by counting pulses the OptoEMU Sensor DR can track the total amount of energy used as well as demand. The OptoEMU Sensor DR can also receive power usage and other data from a variety of devices using the widely adopted Modbus communication protocol. Using Modbus over an Ethernet or serial network, the OptoEMU Sensor DR can communicate with devices such as temperature sensors and flow meters, Modbus-enabled current transformers (CTs), and power analyzers, as well as larger facility systems such as plant equipment, building management systems, and HVAC systems.

Once gathered by the OptoEMU Sensor DR, real-time energy data is sent to Web-based “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) energy management applications and enterprise business systems, where it can be viewed and analyzed to develop effective energy management strategies that reduce costs. Connections to SaaS energy management applications like Pulse Energy’s Pulse™ and eSight Energy’s eSight are easily set up in the included configuration software, making energy data quickly available online for tracking and analysis. For those with technical staff or expertise, OptoEMU Sensor DR can also send energy data to databases, enterprise management systems, and other enterprise business systems using a standard XML protocol. Free software tools are available for SQL database integration, and a new Microsoft .Net developer toolkit makes it possible to integrate energy data with custom software applications.

The OptoEMU Sensor DR integrates closely with Opto 22’s SNAP PAC System™ for industrial control, and includes the ability to visualize real-time energy data with the free PAC Display™ human machine interface (HMI) software package. If additional control over plant equipment and systems is needed, the SNAP PAC System can easily provide it.

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