US20120296481A1 - Power control method, communication device, and power control system - Google Patents

Power control method, communication device, and power control system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120296481A1
US20120296481A1 US13/515,207 US201013515207A US2012296481A1 US 20120296481 A1 US20120296481 A1 US 20120296481A1 US 201013515207 A US201013515207 A US 201013515207A US 2012296481 A1 US2012296481 A1 US 2012296481A1
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Prior art keywords
power
control signal
communication device
power control
communication
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Abandoned
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US13/515,207
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Kyohei Iwamoto
Taiji Ito
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Sony Corp
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Sony Corp
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Priority to JP2009-287260 priority Critical
Priority to JP2009287260A priority patent/JP2011130597A/en
Application filed by Sony Corp filed Critical Sony Corp
Priority to PCT/JP2010/071764 priority patent/WO2011074432A1/en
Assigned to SONY CORPORATION reassignment SONY CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: IWAMOTO, KYOHEI, ITO, TAIJI
Publication of US20120296481A1 publication Critical patent/US20120296481A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • B60L11/1838
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60LPROPULSION OF ELECTRICALLY-PROPELLED VEHICLES; SUPPLYING ELECTRIC POWER FOR AUXILIARY EQUIPMENT OF ELECTRICALLY-PROPELLED VEHICLES; ELECTRODYNAMIC BRAKE SYSTEMS FOR VEHICLES IN GENERAL; MAGNETIC SUSPENSION OR LEVITATION FOR VEHICLES; MONITORING OPERATING VARIABLES OF ELECTRICALLY-PROPELLED VEHICLES; ELECTRIC SAFETY DEVICES FOR ELECTRICALLY-PROPELLED VEHICLES
    • B60L53/00Methods of charging batteries, specially adapted for electric vehicles; Charging stations or on-board charging equipment therefor; Exchange of energy storage elements in electric vehicles
    • B60L53/60Monitoring or controlling charging stations
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B15/00Systems controlled by a computer
    • G05B15/02Systems controlled by a computer electric
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J13/00Circuit arrangements for providing remote indication of network conditions, e.g. an instantaneous record of the open or closed condition of each circuitbreaker in the network; Circuit arrangements for providing remote control of switching means in a power distribution network, e.g. switching in and out of current consumers by using a pulse code signal carried by the network
    • H02J13/0006Circuit arrangements for providing remote indication of network conditions, e.g. an instantaneous record of the open or closed condition of each circuitbreaker in the network; Circuit arrangements for providing remote control of switching means in a power distribution network, e.g. switching in and out of current consumers by using a pulse code signal carried by the network for single frequency AC networks
    • H02J13/0013Circuit arrangements for providing remote indication of network conditions, e.g. an instantaneous record of the open or closed condition of each circuitbreaker in the network; Circuit arrangements for providing remote control of switching means in a power distribution network, e.g. switching in and out of current consumers by using a pulse code signal carried by the network for single frequency AC networks characterised by transmission structure between the control or monitoring unit and the controlled or monitored unit
    • H02J13/0017Circuit arrangements for providing remote indication of network conditions, e.g. an instantaneous record of the open or closed condition of each circuitbreaker in the network; Circuit arrangements for providing remote control of switching means in a power distribution network, e.g. switching in and out of current consumers by using a pulse code signal carried by the network for single frequency AC networks characterised by transmission structure between the control or monitoring unit and the controlled or monitored unit with direct transmission between the control or monitoring unit and the controlled or monitored unit
    • H02J13/0075Circuit arrangements for providing remote indication of network conditions, e.g. an instantaneous record of the open or closed condition of each circuitbreaker in the network; Circuit arrangements for providing remote control of switching means in a power distribution network, e.g. switching in and out of current consumers by using a pulse code signal carried by the network for single frequency AC networks characterised by transmission structure between the control or monitoring unit and the controlled or monitored unit with direct transmission between the control or monitoring unit and the controlled or monitored unit using radio means
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J3/00Circuit arrangements for ac mains or ac distribution networks
    • H02J3/12Circuit arrangements for ac mains or ac distribution networks for adjusting voltage in ac networks by changing a characteristic of the network load
    • H02J3/14Circuit arrangements for ac mains or ac distribution networks for adjusting voltage in ac networks by changing a characteristic of the network load by switching loads on to, or off from, network, e.g. progressively balanced loading
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q9/00Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems for selectively calling a substation from a main station, in which substation desired apparatus is selected for applying a control signal thereto or for obtaining measured values therefrom
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W52/00Power management, e.g. TPC [Transmission Power Control], power saving or power classes
    • H04W52/02Power saving arrangements
    • H04W52/0203Power saving arrangements in the radio access network or backbone network of wireless communication networks
    • H04W52/0206Power saving arrangements in the radio access network or backbone network of wireless communication networks in access points, e.g. base stations
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2209/00Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems
    • H04Q2209/40Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems using a wireless architecture
    • H04Q2209/43Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems using a wireless architecture using wireless personal area networks [WPAN], e.g. 802.15, 802.15.1, 802.15.4, Bluetooth or ZigBee
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2209/00Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems
    • H04Q2209/60Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems for transmitting utility meters data, i.e. transmission of data from the reader of the utility meter
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q2209/00Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems
    • H04Q2209/80Arrangements in the sub-station, i.e. sensing device
    • H04Q2209/88Providing power supply at the sub-station
    • H04Q2209/886Providing power supply at the sub-station using energy harvesting, e.g. solar, wind or mechanical
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W52/00Power management, e.g. TPC [Transmission Power Control], power saving or power classes
    • H04W52/02Power saving arrangements
    • H04W52/0209Power saving arrangements in terminal devices
    • H04W52/0212Power saving arrangements in terminal devices managed by the network, e.g. network or access point is master and terminal is slave
    • H04W52/0219Power saving arrangements in terminal devices managed by the network, e.g. network or access point is master and terminal is slave where the power saving management affects multiple terminals
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02DCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES [ICT], I.E. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AIMING AT THE REDUCTION OF THIR OWN ENERGY USE
    • Y02D70/00Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks
    • Y02D70/10Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT]
    • Y02D70/14Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT] in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] networks
    • Y02D70/144Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT] in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] networks in Bluetooth and Wireless Personal Area Networks [WPAN]
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02DCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES [ICT], I.E. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AIMING AT THE REDUCTION OF THIR OWN ENERGY USE
    • Y02D70/00Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks
    • Y02D70/10Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT]
    • Y02D70/16Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT] in other wireless communication networks
    • Y02D70/162Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wireless communication networks according to the Radio Access Technology [RAT] in other wireless communication networks in Zigbee networks
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T90/00Enabling technologies or technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • Y02T90/10Technologies related to electric vehicle charging
    • Y02T90/16Information or communication technologies improving the operation of electric vehicles
    • Y02T90/167Systems integrating technologies related to power network operation and communication or information technologies for supporting the interoperability of electric or hybrid vehicles, i.e. smartgrids as interface for battery charging of electric vehicles [EV] or hybrid vehicles [HEV]
    • Y02T90/168Remote or cooperative charging operation
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y04INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAVING AN IMPACT ON OTHER TECHNOLOGY AREAS
    • Y04SSYSTEMS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO POWER NETWORK OPERATION, COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING THE ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT OR USAGE, i.e. SMART GRIDS
    • Y04S30/00Systems supporting specific end-user applications in the sector of transportation
    • Y04S30/10Systems supporting the interoperability of electric or hybrid vehicles
    • Y04S30/12Remote or cooperative charging

Abstract

Power control can be performed for electronic apparatuses that are unable to connect to a network.
A user accesses the URL of a power supply center, and downloads an application (S11). The application is downloaded for each individual electronic apparatus to be controlled. In S12, the user makes various settings. After the settings are complete, the power supply center 2 transmits a power-limiting signal (S2), and a communication device receives the power-limiting signal (S 13). If it is determined in S14 that the power-limiting function is set active, the application is started in S16. In S17, the kind of the communication that has been set is infrared. If the kind of the communication is infrared, in S18, a power-limiting signal is transmitted to a target electronic apparatus via infrared communication.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates to a power control method, a communication device, and a power control system that are used to control the power consumption of electronic apparatuses installed in homes, for example.
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • Lately, power generation utilizing renewable energy instead of fossil fuels is being put into practical use. It is regarded as a certainty that this trend will further strength in the future. As power generation utilizing renewable energy, photovoltaic power generation, wind power generation, wind power generation, biomass power generation, wave activated power generation, and the like have been developed. Under such circumstances, it is desired that power consumption (load) fluctuations on the side of consumers such as ordinary homes, office buildings, and factories be as small as possible.
  • Owing to the instability of the amount of power generation in cases where renewable energy is introduced, load leveling is required to maintain the quality of supply power. Further, for the power supply side as well, investments in power sources to meet load peaks can be avoided, thereby improving profitability. A next generation power network (hereinafter, referred to as smart grid), which utilizes information technologies to solve problems associated with transfer of electric power between suppliers and consumers, makes it possible to control and thereby suppress power consumption on the consumer side from the supplier side (DR (Demand Response). For example, during times of peak power demand, power utilities control load by changing the temperature settings of air conditioners in houses. Including this DR, undertaking measures directed toward consumers from the supply side is called DSM (Demand Side Management).
  • In PTL 1, it is described that a centralized power DSM controller is connected to a DSM command station in a power company via a public network, and limitations are placed on the use of electric power by a plurality of electronic apparatuses connected to a home network in a home. That is, it is described that the centralized power DSM controller controls use of electric power in accordance with the consumers' demands and priorities. In PTL 2, it is described that the power consumption of a plurality of appliances connected to a home network is controlled by a central controller, each of the appliances includes a secondary battery, and during time periods of peak power usage, the appliance operates on electric power from the secondary battery, and in other time periods, the appliance operates on electric power from a commercial power source, and the secondary battery is charged. The central controller receives a power control command from the power supplier side.
  • CITATION LIST Patent Literature
  • PTL 1: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 11-222834
  • PTL 2: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2001-258176
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION Technical Problem
  • The techniques described in PTL 1 and PTL 2 make it necessary to control electronic apparatuses within the home with respect to a controller provided for each individual home, and connect the controller to a DSM control center in the power company. Accordingly, the controller itself is required. Further, both a network for connecting the controller to the DSM control center, and a network for controlling the electronic apparatuses within the home with respect to the controller are required. As a result, significant changes to the existing power network are required, making it difficult to achieve leveling of electric power. Further, in addition to these problems, the technique using a secondary battery described in PTL 2 also has a problem in that installation of the secondary battery, and control of the secondary battery become necessary.
  • Accordingly, an object is to provide a communication device that can minimize changes to the existing power network in the case of performing leveling of power consumption.
  • Solution to Problem
  • To solve the above-mentioned problems, a method according to the present disclosure is a power control method including the steps of:
  • transmitting a power control signal that controls electric power via a wireless network, by a power supply center provided on a power supply side;
  • receiving the power control signal, by a first communication section of a communication device provided on a demand side; and
  • transmitting a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal, by a second communication section of the communication device.
  • A device according to the present disclosure is a communication device including:
  • a first communication section that receives a power control signal from a power supply side via a wireless network; and
  • a second communication section that transmits a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal.
  • A system according to the present disclosure is a power control system including:
  • a power supply center that is provided on a power supply side, and transmits a power control signal that controls electric power via a wireless network; and
  • a communication device that is provided on a demand side, and includes a first communication section that receives the power control signal, and a second communication section that transmits a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal.
  • Preferred aspects are as follows.
  • Application data for generating the remote control signal with respect to the electronic apparatus to be controlled is received and stored in advance.
  • The communication device is a portable telephone that has a function of performing communication by an infrared ray or a radio wave.
  • Whether or not to perform power control is set in advance.
  • The first communication section receives the power control signal via an internet.
  • The remote control signal transmitted by the second communication section uses an infrared ray or a radio wave as a medium.
  • Advantageous Effects of Invention
  • According to at least one embodiment, the power consumption of each individual home can be controlled from the supplier side even without provision of a controller called smart meter. Further, even in a state in which electronic apparatuses within the home are not connected to a network, the power consumption of each individual electronic apparatus can be controlled. In this way, even if the electronic apparatus itself does not have the function of being able to connect to a network, a reduction in power consumption can be achieved by exploiting the remote control function of the electronic apparatus. Further, if a portable telephone is used as the communication device, on the basis of a network application of the portable telephone, a remote commander that can be made subordinate to a network by controlling a communication function included in the portable telephone can be easily implemented.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a first example of a power control system.
  • FIG. 2 is a flowchart used for describing operation in the first example.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram used for describing operation in the first example.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a second example of a power control system.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • Hereinafter, examples according to the present disclosure are described. It should be noted that the description is given in the following order.
  • <1. First Example> <2. Second Example> <3. Modifications>
  • The examples described below are preferred concrete examples of the invention. While various preferable technical limitations are given, in the following description, the scope of the invention is not to be limited to these embodiments unless it is specifically stated that the embodiments limit the invention.
  • 1. First Example “Example of Power Control System”
  • An example of a power control system is described with reference to FIG. 1. Electric power generated by a power plant 1 of a power supplier is connected to a wattmeter 4 in a home 3 via unillustrated power transmission network and power distribution network. The power plant 1 is a thermal power plant, a nuclear power plant, or the like. A power supply center 2 that generates a command for controlling power supply in association with the power plant 1 is provided.
  • The wattmeter 4 is connected with a conversion section 5. A solar battery 6 and a wind power generator 7 are connected to the conversion section 5. The electric power supplied to the wattmeter 4 in the home 2 from the power plant 1 is commercial alternating-current electric power. Electric power generated by the solar battery 6 and the wind power generator 7 is converted into alternating-current electric power in the conversion section 5, and introduced into the home while being added to the commercial alternating-current electric power. Other than the solar battery 6 and the win, a fuel battery, a storage battery, or the like may be used.
  • The alternating-current electric power from the conversion section 5 is supplied to a switchboard (including a distribution panel) 8, and is connected to electronic apparatuses 91, 92, . . . , 9 n via lighting circuits and outlets taken from the switchboard 8. Examples of these electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n include an air conditioner, a refrigerator, a lighting fixture, a washing machine, and a television receiver. The electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n are electronic apparatuses that are subject to power control, and not meant to represent all electronic apparatuses within the home 2.
  • Further, to enable remote control by a communication device 10 (remote control commander), the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n each have a communication device used for remote control. Remote control by the communication device 10 is performed in order to control power consumption of the electronic apparatuses. For example, On/Off of the power sources for the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n is controlled by a remote control signal from the communication device 10. Alternatively, the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n can be switched between a normal power consumption mode, and a low power consumption mode in which power consumption is lowered.
  • For example, transition from the normal power consumption mode to the low power consumption mode can be made by changing the temperature setting of an air conditioner during cooling to a higher temperature. In the case of a liquid crystal television, transition to the low power consumption mode can be made by lowering the illuminance of the back light, lowering the image processing function, lowering the operating clock frequency, and so on in comparison to the normal power consumption mode. In the case of a lighting fixture, transition to the low power consumption mode can be made by lowering the brightness of lighting. When changing modes, unlike a switching operation, the transition to another mode is controlled so as to take place gradually. This prevents discomfort to the user using the apparatus, and also makes it possible to prevent abrupt fluctuations in the amount of power consumption. In the case of an electronic apparatus not capable of such mode change, On/Off of the power source is controlled.
  • The remote control of the electronic apparatuses 91 to 91 n is preferably performed by a remote control scheme identical or similar to an existing remote control scheme. As the medium for wireless communication of a remote control signal, an infrared ray or radio wave is used. As the remote control scheme using an infrared ray, an existing scheme used for the electronic apparatus may be used. For television receivers, air conditioners, lighting fixtures, and the like, remote control schemes using infrared rays have already been put into practical use. A new communication scheme different from existing ones may be also adopted.
  • As the remote control scheme using a radio wave, Bluetooth or Zigbee can be used. The Bluetooth scheme is applied to multimedia communications, and enables communications via one-to-many connection. The ZigBee scheme uses the physical layer of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.15.4. The IEEE802.15.4 is the name of a short-range wireless network standard called PAN (Personal Area Network) or W (Wireless) PAN.
  • These wireless communication schemes using radio waves can prevent wiretapping and erroneous connections, thereby ensuring security. That is, an example of electronic apparatus that can be remote-controlled by the communication device 10 is a specific one or plurality of electronic apparatuses within the home 3. Which electronic apparatus to control is set when the communication device 10 downloads the application program. In the case of remote-controlling a plurality of electronic apparatuses, target electronic apparatuses are selected manually or automatically.
  • Further, as compared with infrared communication schemes, wireless communication schemes using radio waves have the advantage of being able to reach out-of-sight areas such as a different room. In the case of an average-size detached home, the remote control signal on a radio wave can be transmitted throughout the entire area within the home, and thus even electronic apparatuses to be controlled which are installed at distant locations can be remote-controlled by a single communication device 10.
  • The electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n may be connected with a secondary battery so that power supply can be received from the secondary battery. In cases where it is not possible to obtain an adequate function in relation to the amount of power consumption to be reduced, the electronic apparatus receives power supply from the secondary battery to satisfy the required function. Charging of the secondary battery is also performed in accordance with the power supply conditions in the power system. The charging operation of the secondary battery is controlled in the basis of a power control signal from the power supply center 2.
  • “With Regard to Communication Device”
  • The communication device 10 includes a communication unit 11 a as a first communication section that receives a power control signal via a network 12 from the power supply center 2 as the power supply side. The communication device 10 includes a communication unit 11 b as a second communication section that transmits a remote control signal that remote-controls the power consumption of the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n in accordance with the received power control signal. Further, although not illustrated, the communication device 10 has a control section or the like that controls the overall operation of the communication device 10 including the communication units 11 a and 11 b.
  • In schemes using radio waves, for example, the Bluetooth scheme, with the communication unit 11 b serving as a master, the communication unit 11 b can remote-control seven slaves (the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n) that can be connected concurrently within 10 m around the communication unit 11 b. That is, the communication device 10 acts as a multi remote control. In the case of using the IEEE802.15.4 scheme, pairing is first established between the communication unit 11 b and a communication unit in the electronic apparatus to be controlled.
  • An example of the communication device 10 is a portable telephone. Among existing portable telephones, those having the infrared communication function and/or Bluetooth function have been put into practical use. The second communication unit 11 b can be configured by making use of this infrared communication and/or Bluetooth function. It should be noted that other than a portable telephone, the communication device 10 may be configured as a multi remote control commander.
  • A power control application (program) is downloaded and installed into the communication device 10 in advance via the network 12 (portable telephone network) and the communication unit 11 a. For example, a portable telephone can access the URL of the power supply center 2 to download the application program. The power supply center 2 can identify users downloading the application program on the basis of information unique to individual portable telephones (e.g. telephone number). Accordingly, by accumulating information on users who have downloaded the power-limiting application program, it is possible to keep track of the approximate ratio of users who are using the power-limiting program within the coverage area of power supply, or provide services individually to such users from the power supply side. In this case, the power supply center 2 may be configured to receive the history of executed power-limiting operations from the portable telephone. For example, a conceivable configuration is to keep track of the fact that power limitation has been executed on the basis of an acknowledgment from the electronic apparatus side, and create history information on the power limitation.
  • A plurality of channels are made available for transmitting remote control signals. The user manipulates buttons while watching the screen to set an apparatus (such as a television, lighting, an air conditioner, or a personal computer) and set the manufacturer of the apparatus for an unoccupied channel. Existing programs can be used for the substantial part of the application program used for remote control. On/off control of the power source can be applied to the power limitation. Control of changes to the temperature setting of an air conditioner can be applied to the power limitation. Control of changes to the brightness setting of lighting can be applied to the power limitation. Control of changes to the luminance of images on a television receiver can be applied to the power limitation.
  • A power control signal is transmitted from the power supply center 2 via the network 12 to the communication device 10 installed with the power control application, for example, a portable telephone. The communication device 10 generates an infrared or radio-wave remote control signal for reducing power consumption of the electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n in response to the received power control signal. The electronic apparatuses 91 to 9 n having received the remote control signal transitions from the normal power consumption mode to the low power consumption mode, thus forcing a reduction in power consumption in the home 3. An indication of the fact that power limitation has been executed is displayed on the screen of the portable telephone. In the case of the portable telephone, power limitation cannot be executed when the user is carrying the portable telephone outdoors. This means that, conveniently, power limitation is executed only when the user is at home and operating the electronic apparatus.
  • “Mode of Operation in First Example”
  • Operation in the first example is described with reference to FIG. 2. FIG. 2 illustrates an overview of the flow of communication processing executed between the communication device 10 and the power supply center 2. The communication device 10 is, for example, a portable telephone, and the network 12 is a portable telephone network.
  • The user accesses the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the power supply center 2, and as indicated by step S1, an application transmitted from the power supply center 2 is downloaded by the communication unit 11 a (step S11). The application is downloaded for each individual electronic apparatus to be controlled. In this case, if it is desired to use the portable telephone as an ordinary remote control commander, an application including control items not related to power limitation is downloaded. It should be noted, however, that an application limited to items concerning power limitation may be downloaded.
  • Next, in step S12, the user opens a menu to make various settings. An example of the items to be set is given below.
      • Selection of the model of the electronic apparatus to be controlled (kind and manufacturer of the apparatus)
      • Selection of the kind of communication (infrared, Bluetooth)
      • Active/inactive setting of the power-limiting function
      • Setting of a low power consumption mode according to the apparatus to be controlled (e.g. the setting of temperature when the electronic apparatus to be controlled is an air conditioner, or a setting to lower the luminance in the case of a television receiver)
  • On/Off control of the power source may be used as the low power consumption mode. However, this is not a very favorable scheme in the sense that if the power source is turned off, the apparatus cannot be used at all.
  • After settings are complete in the communication device 10, the power supply center 2 transmits a power-limiting signal (step S2), and the communication unit 11 a of the communication device 10 receives the power-limiting signal (step S13). The power supply center 2 can transmit the same power-limiting signal to not only a specific one communication device but also to a number of communication devices within a selected area. At the time of making settings, it is determined in step S14 whether or not the power-limiting function is set active. If the power-limiting function is set inactive, the processing ends (step S15).
  • If it is determined in step S14 that the power-limiting function is set active, the application is started in step S16. In step S17, it is determined whether or not the kind of the communication that has been set is infrared. If the kind of the communication is infrared, in step S18, a power-limiting signal is transmitted to a target electronic apparatus via infrared communication by the communication unit 11 b. If the kind of the communication is not infrared, in step S19, Bluetooth communication is performed by the communication unit 11 b.
  • Unless the communication device 10 exists within the user's own home, even when a power-limiting signal is transmitted, the power-limiting signal is not delivered to the electronic apparatus of the other party. Thus, a power-limiting operation is not executed in actuality. Whether or not a power-limiting operation has been actually executed can be confirmed by two-way communication between the communication unit 11 b and the electronic apparatus. A history indicating that the communication unit 11 b has transmitted a remote control signal for entering the low power consumption mode is stored in a non-volatile memory included in the communication device 10. On the basis of an acknowledgment signal from the electronic apparatus, a history indicating that the lower power consumption mode has been actually entered is recorded.
  • History information stored in the communication device 10 is transmitted from the communication unit 11 a of the communication device 10 to the power supply center 2 periodically or upon request from the power supply center 2 (step S20). The power supply center 2 receives the history information (step S3). Then, the history information is analyzed (step S4). For example, history information is managed for each individual user, and information on the kind of power limitation that has been executed can be obtained for each individual user. Such analysis results can be reflected on the power rates charged to users, for example.
  • [Power-Limiting Operation]
  • An example of power-limiting operation according to the first example is described with reference to FIG. 3. In FIG. 3A, symbol 31 a denotes time variation of total power consumption in a day. The total power consumption is estimated by the power supply side. The total power consumption is statistically calculated by taking variable factors such as season and the number of consumers into consideration, without use of any particular feedback information related to the actual power consumption from consumers such as homes. The value of the maximum power consumption is set as indicated by a broken line TG1, for example. When a time period during which power consumption exceeds the set value is reached, a power control signal that limits power consumption is transmitted from the power supply center 2 to the communication device 10 in each home. The remote control signal from the communication device 10 causes the power consumption of an electronic apparatus within the home to enter the low power consumption mode, thereby limiting the total power consumption as indicated by symbol 31 b.
  • In FIG. 3B, symbol 32 a denotes another example of time variation of total power consumption. As illustrated in FIG. 3B, the set value TG2 of maximum power consumption is set by taking typical changes in power consumption over time into consideration. In this case, when a time period during which power consumption exceeds the set value TG2 of maximum power consumption is reached, a power control signal that limits power consumption is transmitted from the power supply center 2 to the communication device 10 in each home. The remote control signal from the communication device 10 causes the power consumption of an electronic apparatus within the home to enter the low power consumption mode, thereby limiting the total power consumption as indicated by symbol 32 b. Further, the set value of maximum power consumption may be made to vary in the same manner as the time variation of maximum power consumption. Further, the set value of maximum power consumption may be adapted to each individual user or each individual user group on the basis of user information (address, age, occupation, etc.).
  • Second Example
  • Lately, HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), EVs (Electric Vehicles), and PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) are being developed, and measures to address increases in load with increase in the number of these automobiles using electrical energy are becoming necessary. The second example can be applied to these measures.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 4, for example, power plants 11, 12, . . . , and power supply centers 21, 22, . . . are installed for the respective areas (each indicated by a rectangle for simplicity) R1, R2, . . . covered by base stations 201, 202, . . . for portable telephones. The areas R1, R2, are separated from each other by a center-to-center distance of about several km to several tens of km. Consumers 31, 32, . . . such as homes and office buildings are connected to the power plants 11, 12, . . . , respectively. The power plants 11, 12, . . . (or the power supply centers 21, 22, . . . ) are able to communication with each other.
  • An automobile 40 using a PHEV scheme is able to communicate with the base stations 201, 202, . . . , for example. The base stations 201, 202, . . . are, for example, base stations for portable telephones. As the capacity of the secondary battery of the automobile 40 decreases and charging becomes necessary, an inquiry about charging locations is made to the power supply center 21 in the area R1 to which the automobile 40 belongs. The current position of the automobile is located from the inquiry. The positional information need not be detailed but may be any information as long as the area where the automobile is driving is located.
  • The power supply center 21 having received the inquiry about charging locations performs communication with the area R1 of the current position of the automobile 40, and the power supply centers 22, 23, 24, . . . in the surrounding adjacent areas R2, R3, R4, . . . , and acquires information about total power consumptions in the respective areas. Then, information on charging facilities (including homes) in the area with the least total power consumption is transmitted to the automobile. Alternatively, information on charging facilities in the area where a power plant with the greatest surplus supply power exists is transmitted to the automobile. The automobile 40 goes to the charging facilities in accordance with the transmitted information, and performs charging. In this case, the distance between the current position of the automobile 40 and the charging location may be taken into consideration.
  • 3. Modifications
  • While the invention has been described in detail above, the invention is not limited to the above-mentioned example, but various modifications based on the technical idea of the invention are possible. For example, the first communication unit 11 a of the communication device 10 may communicate with the power supply center via the Internet. Further, the first communication unit 11 a of the communication device 10 may include a receiver for FM (Frequency Modulation), AM (Amplitude Modulation), or both. In cases where there is no need to exchange information in two ways, and it suffices to only receive information, the remote commander may be controlled in a simple manner by carrying control information on an FM or AM radio wave.
  • REFERENCE SIGNS LIST
      • 1 power plant
      • 2 power supply center
      • 3 home
      • 91 to 9 n electronic apparatus
      • 10 communication device
      • 11 a first communication unit
      • 11 b second communication unit
      • 12 network

Claims (11)

1. A power control method comprising the steps of:
transmitting a power control signal that controls electric power via a wireless network, by a power supply center provided on a power supply side;
receiving the power control signal, by a first communication section of a communication device provided on a demand side; and
transmitting a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal, by a second communication section of the communication device.
2. The power control method according to claim 1, wherein application data for generating the remote control signal with respect to the electronic apparatus to be controlled is received and stored in advance.
3. The power control method according to claim 1, wherein the communication device is a portable telephone that has a function of performing communication by an infrared ray or a radio wave.
4. The power control method according to claim 1, wherein whether or not to perform power control is set in advance.
5. A communication device comprising:
a first communication section that receives a power control signal from a power supply side via a wireless network; and
a second communication section that transmits a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal.
6. The communication device according to claim 5, wherein application data for generating the remote control signal with respect to the electronic apparatus to be controlled is received and stored in advance.
7. The communication device according to claim 5, wherein the communication device is a portable telephone that has a function of performing communication by an infrared ray or a radio wave.
8. The communication device according to claim 5, wherein whether or not to perform power control is set in advance.
9. The communication device according to claim 5, wherein the first communication section receives the power control signal via an Internet.
10. The communication device according to claim 5, wherein the remote control signal transmitted by the second communication section uses an infrared ray or a radio wave as a medium.
11. A power control system comprising:
a power supply center that is provided on a power supply side, and transmits a power control signal that controls electric power via a wireless network; and
a communication device that is provided on a demand side, and includes a first communication section that receives the power control signal, and a second communication section that transmits a remote control signal that remote-controls power consumption of one or a plurality of electronic apparatuses in accordance with the received power control signal.
US13/515,207 2009-12-18 2010-11-29 Power control method, communication device, and power control system Abandoned US20120296481A1 (en)

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WO2011074432A1 (en) 2011-06-23
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