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SMARTER GRID - Combining Distributed Generation with Distributed Intelligence, is a perfect match for "AI".

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Joao Batista Gomes's picture
Consultant/Technical Manager Consultant Smart Grid

Development and Management of Projects and Products targeting the Distribution and Measurement of electrical energy. Defining characteristics and technical functions of Smart Meters and...

  • Member since 2009
  • 87 items added with 49,088 views
  • Nov 8, 2020

The combination of Distributed Generation with Distributed Intelligence is essential and fundamental for a truly Smarter Grid.

If you imagine a plan to supply energy, it looks like a “layer cake”. The lower layers are flat, the power generation for these layers is programmed to operate at full acceleration. While the upper layers are wavy, in this layer the power is usually supplied by plants that can be “turned on and off at any time”.

The ripples of renewable energy are already reaching the lower layers of this cake, but unlike the suppliers of the lower layers, renewable energies generation are intermittent. Thus, the bottom layers of the cake are also impacted by these undulations.

Therefore, from a simple system, we move to a more complex system with many variables.

The main question is how to design a better system of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Energy, with low carbon, without reducing the reliability and without imposing undue and unnecessary costs.

Deregulation swept through an organized and orderly system, leaving the plants produce according to the marginal cost of electric energy.

With the entry of renewable energies, accelerated the changes because they have “Priority in the Grid”, this is an obvious requirement. But it is also a logical requirement, since the marginal cost of renewable energies is zero.

It does not matter which “Topology and Technology” is used and applied in AMR/AMI Projects - Smart Meter, Gateways, Distribution Transformers, Feeders and Substations - All these actors that are part of the Grid must have the intelligence to make autonomous decisions.

Of course, all of these actions must be supervised by Control Centers, who can direct other actions if necessary.

With the application of "AI" we can create an integrated architecture, adding Software/Firmware capable of controlling and commanding the Grid in real time.

The complexity of Smart Grid Projects is constantly evolving and developing as well bringing the need for organization, that is, qualify for better understanding. As a consequence of change continues, the risk exposure is greater.

Utilities are accustomed, for example, to own and control all parts of your infrastructure, and this needs to be changed, especially as regards the structure of communication. Deploy new technologies involves a level of risk and uncertainty daunting for an industry that has not changed much in a century.

On the other hand, some changes have altered the landscape operating Utilities, they are no longer responsible only for the delivery cheap reliable power, but now are seen as agents of economic growth and environmental policy.

The competition and the development of new management tools will be crucial for the development of standards and architecture that will require compliance and specifications, this same competition will drive need for conforming architecture and standards.

Another important benefit in terms of Intelligence and distributed generation is that it encourages a greater awareness and knowledge of the use of electricity. Anticipate and plan for the future requires that we focus on a moving target, but plan for the future will require boldness and talent to be made.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 9, 2020

Thanks for sharing, Joao.

The integration of AI into smart grid and managing a more complex energy market that includes DERs seems necessary. I'm wondering if we'll see a push towards exploiting rapid decision making from such AI though, akin to how Wall Street giants pay huge sums to be a microsecond faster in trading, will there be any such motivation for energy providers to have the best information first and adjust to the moving market conditions? 

Joao Batista Gomes's picture
Joao Batista Gomes on Nov 9, 2020


Only with deregulation and competition will accelerate the adoption of "AI" by the energy sector. But electricity is a very sensitive sector for all countries, so the pace of change will vary depending on geographic factors and natural resources.



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