Friday, September 07, 2018

Grid Resilience Is the Key to a More Renewable Future

Power lines (Photo Credit: Alexander Popov on Unsplash) Click to Enlarge.
The whole energy landscape has, in only ten years, changed beyond all recognition.  The popularity of using responsible and renewable energy sources is growing.  And the movement is being backed by new remits for distribution operators that allow, amongst other things, more green energy to be integrated into the grid.

The adoption of renewable energy and the rise of omnidirectional distribution means that our energy network is more decentralized than ever.  In this new environment, grid operation becomes more complex, and resilience and reliability all-important.  Faced with challenges such as severe weather events, value chain disruption and fluctuating power supply and price, many companies are seeking the latest technologies to improve energy security and responsiveness to future-proof operations. 

The New Reliability
Reliability of power supply is a real — and growing —concern.  A recent survey of 250 energy managers indicated that 25 percent of companies experience regular power outages.  These power disruptions can be costly:  18 percent of responding companies had experienced an outage that cost the equivalent of £70,000 or more.

The key barrier to achieving a reliable power supply is either an immature or aging grid.  For instance, in India, where more than 240 million people still lack access to power, 50 percent of electricity generation is wasted due to poor transmission to rural areas, as well as power theft.
The key to the reliability problem is an integrated, active approach to energy management that enables resilience with its diversity of supply and demand.  Active energy management is a holistic view of the strategies, data and resources needed to reduce consumption, drive innovation and maximize savings.  Rather than treating the procurement, dispensation, and evolution of energy as disparate activities, the active energy management approach assumes that these activities are interdependent and indispensable.

Diversifying and Harmonizing
By addressing operational efficiency, enabled by digitization and technology, operators can reduce susceptibility to outages and potential downtime.  Strategically sourcing energy supply from a diverse portfolio that includes renewable generation reduces risk while maximizing continuity. Investing in new energy opportunities and distributed energy resources (DER) — like demand response, battery storage, smart grid technologies, fuel cells, combined heat and power, and distributed solar — can further the development of corporate assets that are responsive, agile, and reliable.

The result is both cost and carbon savings.  Reductions in resource consumption from efficiency projects lower carbon emissions and the money saved can be used to fund sustainability projects.  Once a cost center, clean, green, and renewable electricity is now cheaper than conventional generation in more than 60 countries, and will be the most inexpensive source of power everywhere by 2020.  DER continue to drive savings by allowing organizations to store power to use during peak load times and by reducing transmission utility charges.

Read more at Grid Resilience Is the Key to a More Renewable Future

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