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THE SUSTAINABLE MICRO GRIDS Part 1

Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP's picture
Regional Operations Manager Jamaica Public Service Company

I am a highly relationship focussed individual with a passion for leadership, coaching, working through people and achieving stretched targets. My results orientation and strong commitment to the...

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  • Sep 17, 2021 9:30 pm GMT
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It is estimated that approximately 320 Billion of Kw/h of energy is used consumed per day. Most of which is produced by burning fossil fuel, coal petroleum oil and natural gas. However, the sustainability of this way to produce energy it at risk when it comes on to global warming and environmental protection. There is now a need for us to seriously look a other alternative that are available which are much more promising and greener for the future.

We are now at the edge of a turning point. Right around the world several coal fired power plants are forced to shut down. Even though they are dependable, their dirty supply of electricity will stop and will be replaced by much less dependable resources such as. Renewable energy. The question that is being asked around the world is will there be enough electricity to supply the demand when these coal plants and other plants goes away?

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In a recent research done by Northwest Power & Conservation Council forecasted that there is a probability that by the year 2026 that there will be a 26% chance of running out of electric energy on the low end and on the high end there is a probability that by the year 2024 there is a 33% chance of running out of electrical energy.

In light of this research it has become necessary for Utility Companies, Engineers, Consultants, Housing Developmepers and investors to fully embrace the Sustainable Micro-Grid Concept for power generation.

Powered by inexhaustible sources of free domestic fuel, renewable energy provides a growing and vital contribution to our Nation's national security. Unlike conventional methods of producing electricity, renewable energy generators do not rely on fuel supply chains that can be disrupted intentionally or by natural events. Unlike combustible fuels, renewable energy does not pose a risk of dangerous leaks or explosions that threaten human health and public safety. Renewable energy generation facilities can also be constructed within a short time frame. Typically dispersed throughout different areas, they are also less vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Additionally, renewable energy generators enhance the reliability and resilience of the entire electrical grid during high-impact events, especially when combined with energy storage and other advanced grid technologies. In cases where continuity of power supply is vital for national defense operations, renewable power and enabling technologies, such as storage, can be combined to form self-sustaining micro grids.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 17, 2021

In a recent research done by Northwest Power & Conservation Council forecasted that there is a probability that by the year 2026 that there will be a 26% chance of running out of electric energy on the low end and on the high end there is a probability that by the year 2024 there is a 33% chance of running out of electrical energy.

What exactly is meant as 'running out of electric energy'-- is this a rolling blackout situation? 

Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP's picture
Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP on Sep 17, 2021

Thanks for your question.

It means that some Utility Power Plants around the world will have challenges to meet energy demand that might lead to a blackout conditions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 17, 2021

"Unlike conventional methods of producing electricity, renewable energy generators do not rely on fuel supply chains that can be disrupted intentionally or by natural events."

Solar power can't be disrupted by natural events like...cloud cover? Who knew!

 

 

Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP's picture
Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP on Sep 20, 2021

You are correct Bob.

 

That is why Utility Power providers who also has a mix of Solar energy that is integrated into their systems always have large battery back up systems that will allow them to react to situation such as cloud cover.  They can also employ what is known as Hybrid Energy Storage to allow for more renewable possibilities.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 21, 2021

Oswald, since battery backup systems are charged by a grid mix, and that grid mix always has a fossil-fuel component - we should attribute the emissions from generating that electricity to solar energy, shouldn't we? After all, storage is unnecessary for a dispatchable power plant.

Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP's picture
Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP on Sep 22, 2021

Thanks Bob.

Energy Storage is necessary. Many Utility Companies and Energy providers are getting to be more digital to include SMART GRIDS which can be said to be traveling on uncharted waters. The battery storage will facilitate quick response to the power grid at those times when the output of SOLAR and other intermittent renewable energy resources become low due to cloud cover etc.  This will maintain and ensure system stability and reliability.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 22, 2021

No Oswald, energy storage isn't necessary. Its contribution to the grid (like solar) is insignificant - a drop in the bucket. I realize enthusiasts believe it might one day store solar energy for use at times when the sun isn't shining, but providing electricity at those times is a job is already being filled by natural gas for a price that is orders of magnitude cheaper.

In California, battery storage is being installed by utilities because their profit is a percentage of Return-On-Equity (ROE), so the more generation assets they build, the more money they make. Though it doesn't help the grid or the environment at all, it rewards utilities at a tremendous cost to electricity customers. I realize this reality runs contrary to a narrative that's popular in the renewables community, but a reality it is.

Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP's picture
Oswald Smiley, PE,CPP on Sep 22, 2021

Thanks Bob.

 

My experiences so far is two fold. Energy storage is in fact necessary depending on your environment and location around the world.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Sep 20, 2021

I think we can do it if we work together. So far the utilities don't want to work with consumers. With the new Megawatt batteries and great 24/7 hydro combined with Solar for the biggest daytime use and Wind along with Geo-Thermal it should be not problem.  

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