What is a rules engine and how does it apply to energy analytics?
According to Wikipedia, a business rules engine is a software system that executes one or more business rules in a run-time production environment. The rules might come from legal regulation, business goals, operational requirements, or optimization needs. But, it enables operational decisions to be processed separately from the application code. Rules engine software is commonly provided as a component of a business rule management system which allows non-programmers to add or change business logic. They may also enable users or operators to refine or control specific rules to “tune” the rule set. When a change is made, the engine will evaluate the effect of the change on other rules in the system and flag the user if there is a conflict.
PredictEnergy® applies rules engine technology to energy management in the water/waste-water sector.
Rules engine and energy management integration process
Energy use in the water sector is typically the second most expensive operating cost after labor. Most water utility districts are subject to some form of Time-of-Use (TOU) rate structure which makes optimizing, tracking and planning energy usage extremely difficult. A business rules management system, designed to optimize operations of water distribution around dynamic changes in energy costs, is often used as a part of an effective cost management tool-set.
A simple example of this could be optimizing the use of pumps during low-cost TOU windows to fill reservoirs/tanks to capacity, thereby minimizing pumping during high-cost TOU rates and utilizing the previously stored water to make up the difference. This strategy can be employed in a similar fashion to support demand response events. Utilizing the rules engine decision analysis capability, operators are guided to optimize operations while still meeting customer needs.
Business rules management systems are well positioned to support the next round of Energy Tariff changes and Demand Management programs we can expect to see in the coming years.
So, if reducing energy costs are a priority for your water district or business, PredictEnergy® analytics can help you determine what to do next. Please contact us today for a free demo or a free 90 day license.