Manual Harnessing Variable Renewables: A Guide to the Balancing Challenge

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  1. External Documents
  2. Harnessing Variable Renewables: Where is the Beef? | Energy Central
  3. Author Profile
  4. Ebb and Flow of Wind and Solar Power Are Surmountable: Report

Renewables generation will double between and , the Energy Information Administration projects. Meanwhile, customers are adding behind-the-meter resources such as solar and storage. And myriad of software-enabled systems is allowing two-way power flows, turning consumers into producers.

Global distributed energy resource DER capacity is projected to grow from The changes are pushing the need for more flexible resources on the electrical grid. While grid designers build transmission and distribution systems to handle the changing nature of loads, the injection of variable renewable generating resources into the grid creates new challenges for utilities and system operators.

In response, utilities are deploying a variety of operational and technical solutions to help manage the influx of intermittent and distributed energy resources. The solutions include improved weather forecasting, flexible generation, storage, intra- and inter-regional load balancing and faster scheduling and dispatch. Additionally, the growth of smart-grid enabled devices such as networked thermostats, water heaters, HVAC systems, electric vehicles, stationary batteries and industrial loads provides utilities with numerous opportunities to control demand while maintaining power quality.

All this added flexibility is great. But utilities need to manage this flexibility somehow. This is where the concept of flexibility management comes into play. Electricity Generation From Selected Fuels Generation from natural gas has already bypassed coal and nuclear and renewables are not far behind.

Source: U. Resources that can ramp down during off-peak hours and ramp up during on-peak hours provide operational flexibility. These include flexible hydro, natural gas-fired combined-cycle and combustion turbine units and large, centralized battery storage. But perhaps the most interesting and important new source of operational flexibility comes from utilizing data and the software systems that do something meaningful with this data.

External Documents

This concept is being called the energy internet by some in the industry. Hosting both energy and data flows, the energy internet opens up data from millions of interconnected DERs and sensors, which new software applications then harness to deliver flexibility to energy providers. These software solutions allow utilities to balance supply and demand in a real-time, granular fashion, in order to maximize the value of the new distributed, dynamic and digital energy network and to meet their environmental mandates.

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This delicate balancing act is a requirement for greater deployment of renewable generation, both large scale and behind the meter, in order to consider these resources as firm assets, which the utility can count upon when needed. The introduction of software into the business of load balancing is undisputed as the future of energy distribution.

Harnessing Variable Renewables: Where is the Beef? | Energy Central

The problem facing grid operators, however, is how to choose from among an array of potential options. Many of the options are point solutions, dealing with a limited number of use cases, asset types or customer categories. The truth is, nobody knows which hardware or software technologies will succeed and which ones will fizzle out.

But point solutions make utilities bet on which technologies will win in the future. Universally adaptable software platforms, on the other hand, take an open approach, meaning that on top of being able to predict, optimize and control all types of DER assets in real time and at scale, they also allow for a constant evolution of their hardware network. Same with batteries and all other types of Internet of Things devices that end up grid connected. Regardless of the technology of the day, a universally open platform allows for the ultimate amount of flexibility.

Additionally, as one type of hardware is added for one software customer, those integrations become available to all, creating a network effect that benefits all customers. With flexibility management software, utilities can manage and optimize the following resources in real time, across the entire connected energy network:.

Flexibility management software leverages artificial intelligence and big data to balance supply and demand in real time, increase the productivity of every energy asset and deliver new energy services and value to customers.

Author Profile

Balancing Across Time and Space. Balancing loads and resources requires decisions to be made across the dimensions of time and space. Utilities and grid operators must simultaneously work at the macro and micro levels when it comes to the spatial dimension—from kilovolt transmission lines down to neighborhood distribution feeders. And they must work in a variety of time increments, from seasonal, to day-ahead, on down to hours, minutes, seconds and real-time dispatch decisions.

A flexibility management platform allows utilities to integrate DERs across spatial and temporal ranges. As illustrated in the graphic on DER integration, an integrated flexibility management application can treat flexibility use cases and asset categories in all four quadrants of a time-location graph:. As variable renewable energy increases its penetration of the grid, utilities need greater flexibility to balance loads and resources.

This focus is complemented by a discussion of the existing technology, policy, and economic barriers that hinder energy storage deployment. Specific actions that can be taken to remove these obstacles are identified for key energy system stakeholder groups.

The focus of this document is on energy storage projects that are reaching the threshold size of MW. Any electricity storage connected at the distribution level and medium-sized electricity storage connected at the transmission level is thus excluded from the scope of this document. This document was requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy ITRE and aims to identify the energy network infrastructures needed to cope with the increasing share of renewable energies.

The analysis covers a timeframe up to taking into account different existing projections of renewable energy development. Published infrastructure development priorities as well as methodologies including notably infrastructure cost benefit analyses are critically assessed.

Ebb and Flow of Wind and Solar Power Are Surmountable: Report

It furthermore analyses the relationship between the promotion of renewable energy generation and related infrastructure on the one hand, and other energy policy goals and existing legislation at EU level on the other. Obstacles to grid-roll out are identified and policy recommendations are proposed. Written for decision makers, this guide sheds light on managing power systems with large shares of variable renewables. It presents a new, step-by-step approach developed by the IEA to assess the flexibility of power systems, which identifies the already present resources that could help meet the twin challenges of variability and uncertainty. External Documents. This report presents the very first overview of research, development and demonstration projects on energy storage in Europe.