Decarbonization and Load Management
- Dec 24, 2021 12:21 pm GMT
The serious issues the industry faces as governments require utilities to move towards Net Zero Emissions (NZE) are significant. In order to meet these demands utilities will have to integrate a raft of new options into their grid networks. Perhaps we should use new jargon and call them “grid ecosystems”, as they are not the old central power station/grid/substation/user paradigm, but more of a web or network of different systems interacting, which is more like an ecosystem than a linear top-down structure.
Load management is going to be a major feature of this ecosystem. As has been discussed many times on Energy Central, bidirectional energy systems where users sell electricity back to the grid, perhaps from their EVs or solar panels, or enable smart appliances to operate when price is low, will be part of this development.
So customers should be encouraged as part of their smart homes and smart cities to ensure that their systems can route back into the grid where necessary.
"The utility of the future will use flexible DER to manage system peak, bid into wholesale markets, and defer distribution system upgrades," says Seth Frader-Thompson, president of leading DER management services provider EnergyHub. "The challenge is in providing the right incentives to utilities for using DER flexibility and adequate compensation to customers for building it."
There are now about 15 million smart thermostats, 15 GW of distributed solar installations, and 1.1 million EVs, and growth is going to continue.
Modern smart software allows utilities to aggregate all the different flavors of DER into a single analytics platform and present the operator with a coherent view and a single point of control. This will mean the complex task of balancing demand, load and available power will be within the capabilities of utilities, though there will be many challenges ahead.
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