Grid optimisation is a major focus for energy companies developing reliable and efficient energy. For many years the electrical grid has provided the main purpose of delivering power when and where it is needed. In recent years this process has become more challenging due to various factors influencing reliability and overall functionality of electric grids.
The increase in frequency of volatile weather events including hurricanes have resulted in a strong focus on the resilience and reliability of grid systems. Widespread outages have highlighted the challenges faced within our grid infrastructure.
Businesses are now exploring power systems and advanced analytics to leverage new solutions that will assist energy companies in predicting and ultimately preventing potential energy failures. Implementing new intelligent grid technologies will ensure utility companies and consumers are benefiting from a more reliable and resilient energy system. The rise of new grid technology has resulted in the development of new grid optimisation jobs. Mint Selection works with a range of clean energy businesses operating within the grid optimisation market.
SMART GRID OPTIMISATION
Smart grids are revolutionizing the way we create, deliver and consume utilities. However, with new technology comes new challenges for energy companies in the form of data management. Companies need to be capable of processing as well as utilizing huge amounts of data which is being produced by grids and increasing amounts of technology.
Utilising smart grid data to gain business insights
Utility grids are complicated and contain a complex system A utility grid is a complex system but advanced analytics algorithms provide the opportunity to convert potentially meaningless data into useful information. This data can provide a greater knowledge of energy generation, distribution and consumption trends. Using this data can be highly valuable in optimising overall operation of the grid and its performance.
A microgrid is a discrete energy system consisting of distributed energy sources (including demand management, storage, and generation) and loads capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the main power grid.
How does a microgrid work?
To understand how a microgrid works, you first have to understand how the grid works.
The grid connects homes, businesses and other buildings to central power sources, which allow us to use appliances, heating/cooling systems and electronics. But this interconnectedness means that when part of the grid needs to be repaired, everyone is affected.
This is where a microgrid can help. A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages, or for other reasons.
A microgrid can be powered by distributed generators, batteries, and/or renewable resources like solar panels. Depending on how it’s fueled and how its requirements are managed, a microgrid might run indefinitely.
How does a microgrid connect to the grid?
A microgrid connects to the grid at a point of common coupling that maintains voltage at the same level as the main grid unless there is some sort of problem on the grid or other reason to disconnect. A switch can separate the microgrid from the main grid automatically or manually, and it then functions as an island.
Why would a community choose to connect to microgrids?
A microgrid supports backup facilities for the grid and can also be used to reduce costs and connect to local resources which are potentially unreliable for traditional grid use. A micro grid provides communities with more energy independence and, in many cases a more environmentally friendly source of energy.
Future Grid Technology
New grid technology has the potential to develop a more efficient, cost effective electricity system, capable of providing a reliable energy source to meet consumer demands. New technology is focused on the following:
-Dramatic integration of clean energy facilities
-Global access to consumer choice i.e. demand-side management and energy efficiency
-Holistically designed solutions i.e. energy storage facilities, microgrids and centralised/decentralised control.
- Two-way flow of both information and energy
-Secure, resilient and reliable energy
Transmission and Distribution
Transmission and Distribution industry is an essential mix of industries including the development of machinery, electric lines, transformers and line management systems i.e. smart grid technology. These systems manage the overall delivery of power to private and commercial users in a usable format, no matter what the source of energy generation is.
The Key Elements of the T&D Industry
The T&D industry provides equipment, services and production systems for the energy industry. The initial stage involves converting the power from a generation source such as wind or solar into a high voltage electrical source to be transport using the power grid. The second stage involves the ‘stepping down’ of high voltage power by using switch gears. The resulting medium voltage power can then be distributed safely to populated areas. The final stage then involves stepping the power source down further to a useable voltage of both residential and commercial customers.
The T&D industry is estimated to be valued at over $50 billion worldwide and can be segmented into four main areas:
-Products: manufacturing high and medium voltage power and distribution transformers. This market is driven by ageing T&D infrastructure, overall load and general industrial growth.
-Services: Supporting products and systems sold throughout its total life-cycle. The drivers for this segment are aging infrastructure, preventative maintenance and general outsourcing.
-Systems: Research and development of turnkey substations, electronics for direct current substations and systems to increase grid capacity and quality. This fast growing market is primarily driven by an increased need for power electronics, network efficiency, reliability, and new sources for renewable energy.
-Automation: Products to detect failures, ruptures and general protection arenas. This may also include systems for substation and energy management or for remote management for the power grid.
Grid Optimisation Resources
Energy Storage Association
As the national trade association in the U.S., the Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the leading voice for companies that develop and deploy the multitude of energy storage technologies that we rely on every day. Our member companies research, manufacture, distribute, finance, and build energy storage projects domestically and abroad.
European Association for the Storage of Energy
EASE actively supports the deployment of energy storage as an indispensable instrument in order to improve the flexibility of and to deliver services to the energy system with respect to EU energy and climate policy.