Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Enel turns Milan Expo into electric smart city

Steve Rogerson
May 12, 2015
The entire Milan Expo 2015 World Fair exhibition area is using smart grids and the latest technology to combine efficiency with sustainability. Italian utilityEnel has helped create what it claims is the world’s first completely electric smart city capable of satisfying the energy needs of 100,000 people.
Enel is an official global partner of the event, which opened this month and will run till October 15. The utility installed the technology to characterise the city of the future, from modern network management and control systems to smart grids, electricity storage plants, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and smart street lighting.
Smart cities combine protection of the environment, energy efficiency and economic sustainability in a single urban model that has the aim of improving quality of life and creating new services for residents and local authorities.
The Expo smart city has 75MW of installed capacity and daily consumption is expected to be 1,000,000kWh. There are 100 medium-voltage sub-stations that deliver electricity to the pavilions and 100 charging stations for electric vehicles, 30 of which are within the Expo area and 70 outside.
One storage system is optimising local energy flows (270kW) and a smart grid operations centre will be active 24 hours a day. There is also a showroom for visitors.
The smart grid is equipped with a remote control and protection system, and implements a closed loop medium-voltage network that ensures a high quality of service, thanks to automatic measures that isolate parts of the network damaged by any eventual breakdowns and as a result avoid service disruptions for customers and visitors.
Each pavilion has its own energy management system that lets visitors take part in the use of energy and combines technology that monitors and controls energy consumption and requirements, optimises energy flows and integrates renewable energy plants and storage systems.
Enel is also contributing to the lighting of the exhibition area with vast public lighting network and LED lights that provide quality lighting outside the pavilion. The 8500 LED Archilede lights that illuminate the exhibition area save around 280,000kWh, roughly 36 per cent of consumption. This network is also managed by and integrated with the energy management system, as well as ensuring that the lighting is in harmony with the natural light of the exhibition area.
In Enel’s interactive pavilion is an illuminated virtual forest. Visitors can see inside a smart city control room, the nerve centre of the smart city in which technicians and experts interact with the different technologies operating within each plant.
The design of the pavilion was inspired by the idea that food and energy, thanks to the development of new technologies, have more in common than you would usually think. The problem of both food and energy supply will involve the same solutions – smarter, more rational and less intensive production, more efficient distribution and sustainable sharing of available resources, all of which will help satisfy the needs of a human race that has an increasing need to nourish its life.