Tags Posts tagged with "electrical grids"

electrical grids

Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle. With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

EVs at scale can create vast electricity storage capacity, but if everyone simultaneously charges their cars in the morning or evening, electricity networks can become stressed. The timing of charging is therefore critical. ‘Smart charging’, which both charges vehicles and supports the grid, unlocks a virtuous circle in which renewable energy makes transport cleaner and EVs support larger shares of renewables,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

Looking at real examples, a new report from IRENA, Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles, guides countries on how to exploit the complementarity potential between renewable electricity and EVs. It provides a guideline for policymakers on implementing an energy transition strategy that makes the most out of EVs.

Smart implementation

Smart charging means adapting the charging cycle of EVs to both the conditions of the power system and the needs of vehicle users. By decreasing EV-charging-stress on the grid, smart charging can make electricity systems more flexible for renewable energy integration, and provides a low-carbon electricity option to address the transport sector, all while meeting mobility needs.

The rapid uptake of EVs around the world, means smart charging could save billions of dollars in grid investments needed to meet EV loads in a controlled manner. For example, the distribution system operator in Hamburg — Stromnetz Hamburg — is testing a smart charging system that uses digital technologies that control the charging of vehicles based on systems and customers’ requirements. When fully implemented, this would reduce the need for grid investments in the city due to the load of charging EVs by 90%.

IRENA’s analysis indicates that if most of the passenger vehicles sold from 2040 onwards were electric, more than 1 billion EVs could be on the road by 2050 — up from around 6 million today —dwarfing stationary battery capacity. Projections suggest that in 2050, around 14 TWh of EV batteries could be available to provide grid services, compared to just 9 TWh of stationary batteries.

The implementation of smart charging systems ranges from basic to advanced. The simplest approaches encourage consumers to defer their charging from peak to off-peak periods. More advanced approaches using digital technology, such as direct control mechanisms may in the near future serve the electricity system by delivering close-to real-time energy balancing and ancillary services.

Advanced forms of smart charging

An advanced smart charging approach, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), allows EVs not to just withdraw electricity from the grid, but to also inject electricity back to the grid. V2G technology may create a business case for car owners, via aggregators, to provide ancillary services to the grid. However, to be attractive for car owners, smart charging must satisfy the mobility needs, meaning cars should be charged when needed, at the lowest cost, and owners should possibly be remunerated for providing services to the grid. Policy instruments, such as rebates for the installation of smart charging points as well as time-of-use tariffs, may incentivise a wide deployment of smart charging.

We’ve seen this tested in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. For example, since 2016, Nissan, Enel and Nuvve have partnered and worked on an energy management solution that allows vehicle owners and energy users to operate as individual energy hubs. Their two pilot projects in Denmark and the UK have allowed owners of Nissan EVs to earn money by sending power to the grid through Enel’s bidirectional chargers.

Perfect solution?

While EVs have a lot to offer towards accelerating variable renewable energy deployment, their uptake also brings technical challenges that need to be overcome.

IRENA analysis suggests uncontrolled and simultaneous charging of EVs could significantly increase congestion in power systems and peak load. Resulting in limitations to increase the share of solar PV and wind in power systems, and the need for additional investment costs in electrical infrastructure in form of replacing and additional cables, transformers, switchgears, etc., respectively.

An increase in autonomous and ‘mobility-as-a-service’ driving — i.e. innovations for car-sharing or those that would allow your car to taxi strangers when you are not using it — could disrupt the potential availability of grid-stabilising plugged-in EVs, as batteries will be connected and available to the grid less often.

Impact of charging according to type

It has also become clear that fast and ultra-fast charging are a priority for the mobility sector, however, slow charging is actually better suited for smart charging, as batteries are connected and available to the grid longer. For slow charging, locating charging infrastructure at home and at the workplace is critical, an aspect to be considered during infrastructure planning. Fast and ultra-fast charging may increase the peak demand stress on local grids. Solutions such as battery swapping, charging stations with buffer storage, and night EV fleet charging, might become necessary, in combination with fast and ultra-fast charging, to avoid high infrastructure investments.

Source: IRENA

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FuturENERGY Dec. 18 - Jan. 2019

New technologies are reaching every sector, and power is no exception. To address this change, power transmission & distribution systems need to optimise the integration of renewables and manage the complex interactions between consumers and generators. This adaptation will require an investment of €7bn to 2035, according to IEA estimates. Given this scenario, smart electrical grids, as well as the development of distributed generation, will play a key role, as they will reduce the costs of this technological shift and increase the reliability of the energy model of the future. Funded by the European Commission and coordinated by CIRCE, the MEAN4SG project, which is training eleven young researchers who are preparing their doctoral theses on smart grids, is being developed within this field.

CMBlu Projekt AG and Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG have announced the signature of a joint development agreement (JDA) to cooperate in the production of large-scale energy storage systems. Over the past five years, CMBlu – in collaboration with research groups from German universities – has developed the novel and renewable Organic Flow Storage Technology for power grids up to prototype scale. On this basis, Schaeffler and CMBlu will jointly develop and industrialize commercial products to be marketed by CMBlu. The goal of both partners is to make a substantial contribution to a secure, efficient and sustainable power supply worldwide.

Organic Flow Batteries can be used flexibly as stationary energy storage units in the power grid and contribute to the balance between generation and consumption. The technology has diverse applications, for example in the intermediate storage of renewable energies or peak shaving in industrial plants. Another field of application is the charging infrastructure for electromobility. As buffer storage, the batteries contribute to the relief of medium-voltage grids, eliminating the need for upgrading due to additional loads. Ultimately, a decentralized charging infrastructure for electric vehicles will only be possible with powerful and scalable energy storage systems, such as Organic Flow Batteries.

The underlying technology is similar to the principle of conventional redox flow batteries. The electrical energy is stored in chemical compounds, which form electrolytes in water solution. In contrast to conventional, metal-based systems, organic molecules derived from lignin are used for storage. Lignin can be found in every plant such as trees or grasses. It is a naturally renewable source and is extracted in pulp and paper production as a waste product on a million-ton scale. This ensures lignin as a permanently available raw material for large-scale energy storage system.

All electrotechnical components in the energy converter have been adapted to these electrolytes and improved for cost-effective mass production. The entire value chain of the batteries can be realized locally. There are no import dependencies on individual countries. In addition, Organic Flow Battery Systems do not use rare earths or heavy metals, are non-flammable and therefore can be operated very safely. Due to their operating principle, the capacity of Organic Flow Systems can be scaled up independently of the electrical power and is limited only by the size of the storage tanks and the amount of electrolyte.

For industrialization, CMBlu has entered into a long-term cooperation agreement with Schaeffler for the development of large-scale energy storage systems with the aim of providing market-ready products. In the next step CMBlu will establish the full supply chain including all pre-products with other industry partners. In addition, a prototype production was set up in Alzenau. CMBlu has already signed contracts with reference customers to implement selected pilot projects over the next two years. As of 2021, the first commercial systems are planned.

Source: CMBlu and Schaeffler

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SolarPower Europe has launched its “Grid Intelligent Solar – Unleashing the Full Potential of Utility-Scale Solar Generation” report, which shows that solar is not only the lowest cost power source in many regions and crucial to meet EU climate targets, but also a reliable partner that helps to keep the grid stable and supports Europe’s security of supply.

Solar PV has transitioned from being a renewable energy option to the responsible energy option. This report points to the fact that utility-scale solar PV provides grid reliability and flexibility services that are even more effective than conventional power plants in some cases, if the project is designed inclusive of advanced plant controls.

SolarPower Europe anticipates in its Global Market Outlook 2018-2022 a 2-digit market growth in Europe in the coming years. Solar is ready to play a major role in the European Union meeting its 32% renewables target by 2030. In its New Energy Outlook 2018, Bloomberg NEF expects an 87% renewables scenario in 2050 in Europe, with 1,400 GW of solar installed, contributing to around 36% of total power generation. The bulk of solar, over two thirds, is expected to come from utility scale power plants.

Today’s leading EU solar markets have missed to tap the potential of utility-scale solar so far – tendered solar capacities are usually too small, regulatory frameworks are often inadequate to support the huge demand of corporate power sourcing from large-scale solar. This needs to be fixed to enable the over 1,100% solar capacity growth to 1,400 GW in 2050 forecasted by Bloomberg from 114 GW end of 2017 in Europe.

In order to prepare for large-scale adoption of solar power, advanced solar markets need to leave the solar 1.0 phase behind, when utility-scale PV plants have mostly been installed with the intention to maximise individual system yields. It is now about solar 2.0 – that’s grid flexible solar PV plants integrated into the energy system.

With the right market design, utility-scale solar is ready to support Europe’s security of supply, with a stronger accuracy than conventional generation assets – such as coal and gas.

While solar can already achieve significant grid penetration economically without storage, quickly decreasing stationary battery cost enables the solar 3.0 phase, where storage provides dispatchable solar capacity. The report provides case studies about the first utility-scale solar projects with battery storage that provide ancillary and other grid services.

Source: SolarPower Europe

Rapid electrification of energy demand and the rise of energy from wind and solar sources will lead to massive growth of the world’s electricity transmission and distribution systems. This is one of the main conclusions of DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook 2018: Power Supply and Use report, which provides an outlook of the global energy landscape up to 2050.

The report forecasts continuing rapid electrification, with electricity’s share of the total energy demand expected to more than double to 45% in 2050. This is driven by substantial electrification in the transport, buildings, and manufacturing sectors. In the transport sector, the uptake of private electric vehicles (EVs) will continue to escalate rapidly, with 50% of all new cars sold in 2027 in Europe expected to be EVs.

The surge in global electricity production will be powered by renewable sources accounting for an estimated 80% of global electricity production in 2050. As the costs for wind and solar continue to fall, those two energy sources are set to meet most of the electricity demand, with solar PV delivering 40% of electricity generation and wind energy 29%.

The rapid electrification will lead to major expansion of electricity transmission and distribution systems both in the length and capacity of transmission lines. DNV GL predicts that the total installed power line length and capacity will more than triple by 2050.

The system operators’ tasks will become substantially more complex; yet there may well be less energy flowing across the networks, resulting in fixed costs becoming a greater part of the bill.

High fractions of solar and wind will create a need for increased use of market mechanisms and changes to the electricity market fundamentals in many countries. This requires major regulatory intervention. Market based price signals are crucial to incentivize innovation and develop economically efficient flexibility options.

Despite major expansion of high-capital-cost renewables and electricity networks, energy will become more affordable. It is predicted that the total cost of energy expenditure, as a share of global GDP, will fall from 5.5% to 3.1%, a drop by 44%. Absolute energy expenditure will still grow by 30% over the forecast period, to USD 6 trillion/yr. DNV GL foresees a shift in costs, from operational expenditure, principally fuel, to capital expenditure. From 2030, more capital expenditures will go into electricity grids and wind and solar than into fossil-fuel projects.

Despite the positive outlook on the expansion of renewable energy and the electrification of key sectors, the energy transition will not be fast enough to meet global climate targets. In fact, DNV GL found that the first emission-free year will be 2090, if the energy transition continues at the pace predicted in its report.

Source: DNV GL

The integration of increasing shares of renewable energy into electricity grids is getting easier and cheaper. Smart grids, demand response, flexible wind turbines and storage are helping to do this. But we need to upgrade and expand the grid to secure the significant cost savings that an interconnected power market could offer.

If renewables are to meet 35% of Europe’s energy needs by 2030, then investments in electricity grids need to be more strategic. That’s what the Renewables Grid Initiative and WindEurope will tell participants at today’s Grids meet Renewables conference in Brussels.

To deliver an adequate grid in Europe and further reduce system costs, the extension of electricity infrastructure needs to be done in a smarter way. Three things are needed in order to do this.

First, renewable energy producers – including wind – and grid operators need to work together more closely. Defining the future energy landscape requires joint planning on the development of new transmission lines. This should take into consideration the expansion of renewables and the electrification of other sectors, as well as environmental and social impacts. Countries can help facilitate this by detailing the volumes of renewable energy they will deploy post-2020 as part of their National Energy & Climate Plans. This will give much-needed clarity to grid operators on where to invest in additional infrastructure. And will therefore help to avoid grid bottlenecks that we’ve seen on domestic and European level.

Second, to accommodate for increasing electrification in other sectors the EU needs to prioritise electricity grids over gas grids when it’s allocating funds under the Connecting Europe Facility. The electrification of heating, transport and industrial processes is essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy. This needs to come with an extension and upgrade of electricity grids across Europe. Good examples are projects like Biscay Gulf (Spain) and SuedOstLink (Germany) for which EU support was recently announced.

Third, the software of power markets also needs to be fixed. ‘Grid support services’ – whereby renewable generators can ramp up and down supply according to demand – should be increasingly commoditised. New wind power plants are technically able to provide these services and many countries already impose these responsibilities on wind farms. But many markets still do not allow wind power plants to provide and be compensated for these services.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “The energy sector is transforming rapidly. This transformation needs a common vision, shared by both the renewables and grid industries. The investments in new electricity grids are essential to ensure Europe can fully exploit its wind resource. A smarter approach to how we develop the grids will allow wind energy to provide an ever greater part of consumers’ energy needs. This will be key in meeting an ambitious renewables target for 2030.

Renewables Grid Initiative CEO Antonella Battaglini said: “In the next decade, massive growth of renewables as well as related grid development need to be supported. This can only be realised if we at the same time protect nature and involve society in the process. This requires multidisciplinary skills and collaborative processes to properly address peoples’ concerns and desires for a more sustainable and at the same time affordable energy future. Each day we learn how to better integrate renewables and how to deliver better projects on the ground. To continue on this joint path, this learning exercise also needs to continue and be enhanced.

Source: WindEurope

AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power supply systems and solutions for industrial, critical infrastructure environmentsand innovative power electronic applications, today announced that swb Erzeugung AG & Co. KG (swb) a Bremen-based German utility chose its innovative concept of combining battery energy storage and power-to-heat for its primary-frequency control power operations. This service is provided to grid-operators to stabilize the grid and is increasingly needed as renewable sources are integrated.

In this hybrid system, energy is stored both in a battery system and an electrical heating system which are connected to the power converter. These are controlled as one unit to provide the required bidirectional power flow (to or from the grid) to balance the frequency and ultimately to ensure the stabilization of the grid.

AEG Power Solutions designed this unique concept based on its power electronic expertise. The patent is currently under review. The company has engineered the complete solution and will provide swb with 24 storage converters integrated in ISO-metal sheet containers together with an hybrid storage option, low-voltage distribution cabinets, auxiliary power supply as well as medium voltage transformers and the heating system in separate enclosures.

This hybrid storage system significantly reduces the cost of primary-frequency power operation. First, the required battery capacity is significantly smaller compared to a conventional battery-only system (approx. 50%), and the second source of storage (heating)is considerably less expensive. Additionally, power electronics and all components for grid connection (e.g. transformer) are used twice by utilizing both storage systems which contributes to minimizing installation hardware costs.

This improves the pay back for the operators of the system and helps to reduce grid fees which is of general public interest.

The facility will be installed on site by May 2018.

Source: AEG Power Solutions

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With MVDC PLUS (Medium Voltage Direct Current Power Link Universal System), Siemens is introducing a new direct-current transmission system to the market that will be serve as an efficient transmission route in medium-voltage AC grids from 30 to 150 kV. Siemens has developed the transmission system for grid operators who need to enlarge their infrastructure to handle the increasing volumes of power fed into the distribution system from distributed and renewable energy sources and also keep their network stable. Distances of up to 200 km can be bridged with MVDC PLUS. Siemens offers the medium-voltage DC transmission system as a compact system in three variants: for a transmission capacity of approximately 50, 100, and 150 MW at DC transmission voltages of 20 to 50 kV.

This makes MVDC PLUS suitable for connecting small communities in sparsely populated regions to the grid, and for connecting and stabilizing low-power distribution grids regardless of their voltage and frequency. This system enables a regulated power exchange between regional medium-voltage networks and microgrids. It also has greater independence from the high-voltage network. Cables as well as overhead lines can be used for transmission. It’s also possible to use existing routes when it’s necessary to increase power capacity without needing to move up to high-voltage level.

 

The transmission system also allows operators to set up a power link between islands or offshore platforms and the mainland in order to avoid maintenance measures and costs for a diesel generator backup. For example, the system can be used as a backup solution for medium voltage in the production industry, where it increases the availability of machines and equipment and reduces production losses. As a backup power supply for data centers, MVDC PLUS ensures, for example, classification in a quality stage (“tier”). The medium-voltage DC transmission system is also attractive because of its cost efficiency and the short implementation time for combinations at the local level with different financing models, which are increasing in importance in countries that have a growing proportion of renewable and distributed energy sources.

MVDC technology is based on the HVDC PLUS technology used in the Siemens HVDC transmission system, but is reduced to its basic functions. Like HVDC PLUS, the medium-voltage transmission system operates with voltage-source converters (VSC) in a modular multilevel converter design (MMC) that convert alternating current into direct current and vice versa. The current on the transmission route can flow in both directions. Thanks to the use of insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT), the commutation processes in the converter run independent of the network voltage. Both converter stations can be operated as a static synchronous compensator (statcom). The extra high-speed control and protection intervention capabilities of the converters ensure the stability of the transmission system, which reduces network faults and malfunctions in the three-phase grid. This significantly improves the security of supply for energy suppliers and energy customers alike.

Source: Siemens

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Schneider Electric will showcase the new Easergy T300 feeder automation device at European Utility Week in Barcelona, November 15-17 2016. The Easergy T300 is a smart grid-ready solution for electrical distribution networks.

It offers advanced monitoring, control, and automation functions, and employs the latest communication technologies for remote and local operation, enabling utilities to minimise supply interruptions, optimise network performance, and reduce operational costs.The Easergy T300 is:

 

  • An integrated all-in-one solution for MV/LV control and monitoring.
  • A modern tool entirely designed to simplify ownership from installation, to commissioning and maintenance.
  • A compact and modular design for many customer applications and configurable to their needs.
  • Up-to-date communication for future-proof systems with open protocols and a digital life cycle.
  • Helps to secure the control and data acquisition for the operation of electrical networks including cyber security of the substation.

Tackling utilities’ challenges

In order to ensure reliable power availability and reduce outage times on the MV and LV network, the Easergy T300 includes advanced fault detection features. Functions include directional and non-directional over-current detection, broken, or bridged line detection, transformer (per phase), and fuse blown detection. The device also anticipates the loss of LV neutral. Powerful automation capabilities mean that the Easergy T300 can be applied to reconfigure the network and reduce outage time with centralised and decentralised automation.

The accurate voltage and power measurement within the Easergy T300 also helps with the integration of MV and LV distributed energy resources by providing this high-accuracy data to the Volt-VAR system for real-time management. It also helps to optimise the power flows and monitor power quality delivery on both MV and LV sides, according to EN 50160, even when integrating intermittent distributed generation.

The accurate data analysis of the Easergy T300 helps optimise grid investments by managing peak-load situations in real-time with accurate data. This data can also help in reducing technical and non-technical losses and optimising energy efficiency with improved load flow calculations.

 

To fly a plane around the world on solar energy alone was considered almost impossible until Solar Impulse took to the skies last year, setting a new record for the longest non-stop flight, when Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg spent 117 hours, 52 minutes in the air during his flight from Japan to Hawaii. The technologies that enable the plane to keep flying day and night have important applications on the ground, especially in places with no access to grid connections or reliable electricity sources.

Solar Impulse, which is resuming its round-the-world flight in 2016, is famous for having flown more than halfway round the world without consuming a drop of fossil fuel. What powers the plane is an on-board grid, which converts solar energy from the more than 17,000 solar photovoltaic cells that cover the wings and fuselage to power the plane. As long as the sun is shining brightly, the cells produce more than enough power to keep the aircraft flying, thanks to its exceptionally efficient electric motors. Excess power is routed to the plane’s batteries where it is stored for night flights. In this way, Solar Impulse can remain aloft 24 hours a day powered by solar power alone.

On the ground, self-contained power grids like those of the Solar Impulse are known as microgrids. Such energy resources are typically located at or near the place where the energy is used, operating in a controlled and coordinated way. They have the advantage of being quick to install and can operate either as stand-alone grids or be connected to the main power grid. In sunny or windy places, microgrids can be powered by renewable energy, such as small-scale solar farms or local wind turbines. Leer más…

Claudio Facchin
President, ABB Power Grids division

Article published in: FuturENERGY April 2016

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