Introducing EMMA, a next-generation energy measuring and management application that is an alternative to smart meters, and a potential game changer for Longmont.
In looking for more “authentically green” solutions to our energy needs than what is being put forth by our city, we reached out to expert’s expert, Timothy Schoechle, PhD, of Boulder, Colorado, for updated information on his energy management system, a system he’s spent some years working on completing, and which is now on the cusp of manufacturing and implementation. At present, the EMMA system is in use in a pilot project in Vancouver, BC. The article linked to below will give you a better idea of what you can do with a self-sustaining microgrid, it describes what’s been happening under the auspices of NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, CO) in Basalt, Colorado with Holy Cross Energy (HCE) in the past few years. Dr. Schoechle’s EMMA will do something very similar, which begs the question, why are we not, at very least, creating a pilot project in Longmont, to see if this is, indeed, a far better path to our energy goals than say, a bunch of outdated energy guzzling, wireless smart meters with wireless mesh networks adding unnecessary fire and security risks to our homes and neighborhoods with invisible energies that the science now tells us are unfriendly, even toxic, to biological life. That would include humans, pollinators, animals, other insects, plants, soil microorganisms, and probably something we’ve forgotten to mention!
Below is a brief synopsis of what Dr. Schoechle’s EMMA does, directly from him and further elucidated by our own edits. (We have interspersed our editorial remarks between paragraphs, in italics….)
What is EMMA?
EMMA, or Energy Management and Measurement Application, is an energy management system for homes and businesses of the future. It is at least a generation beyond the AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system which the City of Longmont is planning to deploy. EMMA can either manage power from an off-grid, self-contained generated power source, such as rooftop/other solar panels, and/or help manage solar power generation for a community connected to a local microgrid (or from the general power grid where, if local solar power generation is used, it can augment the grid when necessary). When receiving power from a local utility via the main grid, EMMA can also measure power usage and send it to the utility via our city’s already existing fiber-optic network.
EMMA can also manage all electrical appliances within a home or business, including battery storage for use during peak periods, thereby eliminating those times when the supply of solar power is high but demand is low, and vice versa.
A decentralized energy-generating and management system
In short, EMMA has been primarily designed to decentralize energy generation and management, enabling local control using rooftop (and other) solar panels, battery storage, and local microgrids. EMMA will create a structural transformation of the energy generation and distribution industry and could literally turn the current centralized grid system upside down, or eliminate it altogether. Because of ‘local to the premises’ generation and control, EMMA is resilient to the main grid failing because of adverse weather conditions, etc. It can incorporate renewable, efficient, and sustainable energy production by generating electricity as close as possible to where it will be used.
Open-source hardware and software
EMMA is part of a set of open technical standards, known as the HES (Home Electronics System) Gateway, and uses non-proprietary, open-source software and hardware. EMMA can be manufactured and installed by service providers, or anyone knowledgeable of such open-source components and Linux software.
(Tim told us that making the parts for EMMA was so simple that high school students could do it, thus making it ripe for a new local revenue source. Another friend with ties to Longmont, who would love to see EMMA come to this city, chimed in – “Longmont could be the first center of manufacture for EMMA, creating another cottage industry and adding to Longmont’s tax base!”)
Private and secure with the user in total control
EMMA keeps home or business electrical appliances and systems under the control of the user and prioritizes the protection of the user’s privacy and security, and that of the premises. EMMA is able to communicate with and control any single appliance or group of appliances on the premises at the sole discretion of the user, and can also connect the home or business to Internet or cloud services, strictly limiting any flow of data into or out of the premises, which is also under the sole control of the user.
(The above by stark contrast to wireless smart meters that are outside of the customer’s control, and that are a security risk in many ways, including the sale of personal data, tracking individuals’ daily habits for possibly nefarious purposes, hackers, and vulnerable to disruptions of the grid. Read more on “surveillance capitalism“ here.)
Totally flexible – can be completely self-contained or linked to outside power generation and grid networks
As mentioned, EMMA is also able to communicate within a local community network via fiber-optic cabling, such as a housing development using common solar power generation, battery storage, and other appliances, such as common lighting, pool services, etc., or connect to the larger grid network.
The purpose of EMMA is –
- To facilitate a localized, resilient, and renewable electricity economy by enabling inexpensive, universal, and premises-based control of use, generation, and storage of electricity for use when demand is high.
- To replace the need for smart meters with a next-generation alternative that is compatible with older systems by using a fast and reliable fiber-optic network, instead of the proposed energy-inefficient, slow, unreliable, outdated, and harmful wireless AMI network, to send power usage to the local utility company, and/or to help manage the grid network.
- To serve the needs of all users worldwide, particularly in areas where there is no electrical grid or the electrical grid is unreliable.
- Can operate solely as an energy management system if local solar generation is not available.
- Can augment utility services with local solar power generation, when required.
- Can function entirely as a stand-alone system, as part of a local microgrid (housing development, campus, etc.), or as part of the larger conventional grid.
- Can enable on-premises low voltage direct current power systems, such as car battery charging and EV charging.
- Removes the harmful incoherence of the electrical power supply as it enters a premises, or which is created by rooftop solar generation, preventing what is known in the industry as “conducted emissions, transients, or noise” but known by lay people as “dirty electricity.” DE is made worse by smart meters.
Our conclusion comes as a couple of questions for the City of Longmont:
We the people of Longmont have brought Dr. Schoechle and the EMMA before our councils and boards in Longmont, both in person and by name, on numerous occasions in the past three and a half years. We persist in asking, why on earth is this city NOT making use of Dr. Schoechle’s outstanding, and internationally recognized expertise and background in computer and communications engineering, technology, and policies to do with the above? And why is our city not rushing to adopt the EMMA technology itself in lieu of smart meters, or as a trial project to prove EMMA’s efficacy prior to a larger scale adoption!? Goodness knows, Longmont loves to see itself as the visionary city that’s the “shining example on the hill.” Bringing in EMMA would ground that vision in reality, not just for us, but for people everywhere.