In our bid to de-carbonise the energy sector, one hundred and forty-plus years after the innovation of harnessed electricity, sustainability is now an overarching factor in the energy arena. There’s a need to explore new opportunities for most energy suppliers who hope to remain relevant in the future of the energy market.
The Italian energy sphere is mostly constrained by its lack of large geography. Still, it makes up for this with the concurrent expansion of its renewables integration into its generation mix used to create infrastructure to support sustainable energy. It has a net carbon neutrality target it wishes to meet by 2050.
The capacity of Italy’s renewables sector is estimated to reach at least 60GW by 2030, rising from its current 36GW at a 4.5% compound annual growth, exclusive of hydropower. This ability to circumvent obvious constraints has attracted different actors with growing interest in the energy sustainability field. Investments are seeing huge rises; for example, in June 2020, the 7 Seas Med floating wind project valued at €750m began.
Although Italy is making great strides towards sustainability within its energy sector, there is still a lot to be achieved. The International Energy Agency reports that more than 45% of the energy supply in Italy still comes from oil and coal, while importations cover up for further energy demands.
Suppliers have seen this opportunity and are making the best of these potentials by filling the supply gap.
Understanding the Role of Sustainable Energy Suppliers In Italy.
The supply chain of the Italian electricity system makes provision for four elements in the energy market; production, transmission, distribution and sales. Energy companies can work in any of these areas or all these areas, allowing customers to choose their preferred supplier.
Electricity production or generation happens at big power plants which have to be connected to the national transmission network. In Italy, the Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) is responsible for regulating renewable energy production.
Terna handles the transmission of electricity in Italy. According to Terna, they “occupy the fundamental segment of transmission with a role of Transmission System Operator (TSO) and Independent System Operator (ISO) in a monopoly regime and on the basis of a government concession”.
Various suppliers act as middlemen, buying energy in the wholesale market and selling it to customers. At the same time, there are other suppliers who produce their own forms of energy, such as EnviTec Biogas AG. The market is very competitive.
What pushes these energy suppliers to become ‘sustainable’ is the type of energy in the demand and supply cycle. Let’s explain, suppliers can’t control the exact amount of power customers use, but they can heavily influence the type of power bought by customers.
So, a sustainable energy supplier is so-called because they concentrate on purchasing or producing and selling sustainable energy like biogas, hydropower, solar photovoltaics, etc. This happens when the suppliers match the type and amount of electricity bought by customers to the exact type and amount they buy from the wholesale market or produce themselves.
Now, suppose the electricity the suppliers buy/produce is 100% sustainable. In that case, the electricity the customers will buy and use will also be 100% sustainable, thus influencing the metamorphosis of the energy market within Italy.
The major player in the Italian electricity generation market used to be Enel, which held 28% of the market share in 2011. There was a mandatory sale law for competition regulation which allowed Enel’s share to decline from 49% to the current percentage between 2003 and 2011. This also allowed smaller operators to enter the market and increase their shares exponentially. These competitors are Edison, Eni, E. ON and others.
Distribution is carried out by a handful of operators via concessions from the government, with Enel still having a majority hold of 86% through its distributary network operator DNO.
The Italian electricity market has a high consumption rate requiring dependence on energy imports and higher prices. To solve this, Italy has come up with a regulatory framework in its National Energy Strategy. It includes the liberalisation of supply, distribution, trading of electricity and unbundling of transmission activities.
Within Europe, Italy is one of the primary markets for investors because it provides an ideal climate for technological development as far as the energy sector is concerned. Saipem recently signed a renewable energy deal with Agnes and Qint’X to co-develop a floating solar PV technology with an offshore wind capacity of 450MW in the Italian Adriatic Sea.
The Italian Power Play
In Europe, Italy is one country with a very intriguing habit of setting and beating its own targets on renewable energy. It has entered into several technological collaborations to push further energy advances, such as that with the UAE aptly named InnovitalyUAE. Also, partnerships with Areva to invest in nuclear energy, which is considered clean energy, and its private investments with the solar-power multinational Sonnedix to promote renewable energy sector expansion.
This distinct European country wants to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by 80 – 95% relative to its 1995 levels by 2050, hoping to use more sustainable energy within its borders. This gives these sustainable energy suppliers the upper hand in dictating the Italian energy market prices altogether.
Additionally, Italy depends on a lot of net energy import with high energy prices, which bodes well for energy suppliers. In 2012, 82% of the national energy demand was met by net imports while national production from gas, oil and renewables stood at a mere 4.3%, 3.5% and 11.1%, respectively.
However, Italy is one of the countries with the lowest energy intensity levels, meaning final energy use has been declining in recent years with improvements in electricity generation. They also have promising technological advancements evident in one of the world’s most efficient combined-cycle gas turbines parks.
Sustainable energy suppliers are at the top of the food chain in the Italian energy sector because Italy now relies immensely on sustainable energy to meet its set targets. This pushes customers, consumers and prosumers alike to focus on sustainability in energy production and use. The incentives also offered are a good motivator to continuously tow this line.
In France, the electricity-generating mix is made up of five essential sources: coal, natural gas, petroleum and other liquid fuels, nuclear power and renewable sources.
Renewable resources are the fastest-growing electricity generation source increasing by 2.9% per year. Hydropower is the predominant renewable source leading the global trend, and it accounted for 62,08% of the renewable energy production in France for 2015.
Interesting Facts About Renewable Energy in France.
Despite having such a considerable percentage of its electrical energy come from hydropower, the French power system is dominated by stable nuclear power generation.
In the 1970s and 80s, the government of France decided to build thirty-four 900 MWe nuclear reactors while the rest of the world was recuperating from two oil crises. The success of these nuclear programs and their subsequent additions removed France from a constant reliance on fossil fuels. As of 2000, France’s nuclear energy represented 75% of its electricity production, meeting national and export needs.
However, nuclear waste is a foreboding partner of nuclear energy. So, diversification became paramount. France got to see a bit of this diversity in their power mix during the coronavirus-related lockdowns by introducing more stable renewable energy sources. In spring, some days would manage up to 35% of total electricity production just from renewables.
The French Ministry of Ecological Transition has said that with support and rapid development, renewable energy sources are becoming more competitive. Prices of solar photovoltaic energy have fallen by 40% within the past five years, while the prices of onshore wind power have fallen to half of that percentage within its range of three years.
Renewable Energy Policies In France
Since the days of heavy dependence on nuclear power, the second-largest economy in the European Union has been focused on a certain form of self-reliance and development. The government has now decided to cut down the usage of nuclear reactors and fill those gaps with renewable energy sources, ensuring a sustainable energy transition for all.
The development of renewable energy was extensively promoted via public support until recently. With the government’s involvement on a larger scale, production costs are expected to fall further, facilitating lower costs for renewable energy generation.
President Emmanuel Macron plans to fall in line with the Paris agreements, Energy Transition for Green Growth and biodiversity laws.
Here are the objectives of EN MARCHE (The Environmental Program):
- Significant reduction of fossil fuels through the closure of coal-based plants in 5 years, ban on shale gas explorations and integration of ecological cost in the price of carbon by a carbon tax increase of up to €100/tCO2 in 2030
- Acceleration of changes towards carbon-free energy production by financing renewable energy, favouring private investments, focusing on research and development and implementing the energy transition law with the objective of 32% RES in 2030
- Introducing a new economic model of recycling
- Supporting the transitions through job creation and protection of biodiversity
The Energy Transition Law (ETL) has its policies entrenched in increasing the use of renewable energy through
- Creating means to possibly allow citizens and local authorities to receive funding for renewable energy projects
- Introduce the widespread use of single permits for wind energy, biogas and hydroelectricity
- Mandate obligatory power purchase prices to finance renewable electricity that is self-generated by private individuals and businesses
- Bring to fruition the objective of financing 1500 Methanation projects in France alone
- Introducing 35 million smart meters (smart grid technology)
Under the ETL, the Multiannual Energy Plan (MEP/PPE) sets a general orientation for the energy policy in France from 2019 to 2023 and 2024 to 2028. This general policy includes projections and plans for renewable electricity, hydropower, onshore wind, offshore wind, photovoltaic solar, methanation (waste and biogas), firewood, marine, geothermal and solar thermal.
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects In France
The France Energy Ministry, in the first week of April 2020 awarded 1.7 GW of renewable projects to private developers through a national-level auction. The wind turbine is supposed to power 750 MW of that 1.7 GW while different solar technologies will power the rest. Through several procurement rounds, well over 288 projects were approved, potentially supplying 2.6 TWh of electricity every year to the French grid realistically.
According to Platts Renewables Tracker, France has 17 GW of onshore wind and 10 GW of solar capacity already installed and expected to generate up to 34% yearly.
The energy company – Total has received over 135 MW of solar projects from France with its future largest ground-mounted solar plant in Valenciennes with a capacity of 50 MWp. It is the largest project awarded in the call for tenders and Total Quadran’s biggest solar plant to date. It will supply green energy to more than 30,000 people when it comes online in 2022.
The largest PV power plant of the Greater Paris Region with 25 MWp was also tendered to Total. This one will generate green electricity for nearly 17,000 people when it comes on stream by 2022.
The French government hopes to increase the support for renewables by 25% by injecting €6 billion into renewables energy spending in 2021, targeting further diversification of the country’s energy mix, and by 2028 double installed renewable electricity capacity to up to 113 GW. Onshore wind will generate up to 34.7 GW, offshore wind – 6.2 GW, solar – 44 GW and hydropower 26.7 GW.
By 2035, 14 nuclear reactors will be closed; two found in eastern France at Electricite de France SA’s Fessenheim plant have already been shuttered.
Hydroelectricity is currently the primary source of France’s renewable electricity, but wind power is slowly catching up. Projections show wind power will overtake hydroelectricity in France by 2030 with 43,89% of the total energy mix.
France aims to reduce its energy consumption by 14% by 2028 and increase installed RE power generation to 74 GW in 2023. This will bring the net addition within the ten years upheld by MEP/PPE to about 50 MW – 60 MW.
The French government has outlined and streamlined their strategy to a smooth energy transition, along with most of the EU states, setting targets for a better energy generation outlook that will fit their unique economy.
The idea of simulation models has been attributed to how innovations have avoided pitfalls in the technology sector.
Simulations are imitations of a particular process or situation. In technology, simulation has a more streamlined definition that centres on creating a computer model of a proposed design for study and analysis. This step in creating technology-based products saves costs and helps in evaluating performance capabilities and product reliability. Experts can also give projections and predictions that will help with the innovative and business side of technology production.
Understanding Grid Simulation and Varying Models
If it was just a physical grid simulation, an alternating current power supply that is capable of emulating dynamic grid conditions is used to test the reliability of equipment connected to the grid. But smart grid energy simulation not only relies on the physical aspects but also combines all areas of the grid, including the electrical power, the communication technologies between all electrical network components, IT and intelligence systems, and the control centre. So, we have the hardware and software components all working in tandem to deliver the best energy results with renewables in tow.
General quantitative and qualitative simulations revolve around three ideas: event simulation, discrete event simulation, and Monte Carlo simulation. In smart grid energy simulation, the focus centres on the discrete event simulation model.
Discrete Energy Simulation
The discrete event simulation (DES) model is an approach used to model real-world systems that can be broken down into logical dynamic processes. The results may create new events that observers should take into account in a future time. The simulation makes a simple sense of information given to it and gives projections that can come in handy in future situations.
DES is used because the grid interacts with the hardware and software of energy grids and humans, including grid operators and consumers. This creates a loop of events in relation to changing time. It is then very important for simulations to occur with all aspects taken into account.
Simulations cannot give holistic results without the human factor. Despite DES being the simulation model that is generally relied on, another type that gives better results when used in conjunction with DES is an agent-based simulation (ABS).
This simulation takes it up a notch by simulating the simultaneous operations and interactions of multiple agents to recreate and predict the appearance of complex phenomena. These are computer models that are highly intuitive and attempt to capture individuals’ behaviour within society.
For smart grids to perform at the best level, analysts realise that putting both simulation types together to predict real-world user behaviour helps immensely when it has to do with calculating the impact of consumer behaviour and energy use. Accuracy is important since energy use and user behaviour tie closely to how consumers feel with changing conditions like weather.
Another popular simulation model is the In-loop model that helps keep up with innovative technology speed and maintain the highest quality services within smart grid energy solutions. Model-based simulations help to meet costs, quality and time constraints.
These in-loop model simulations can be physical or virtual prototypes or a combination of the two, adjusted to give results that are as close as possible to real-world behaviours.
Some In-loop model applications used in smart grids include:
- Hardware in the loop, according to ni.com, is a “technique where real signals from several components are connected to a test system that simulates reality, tricking the components into thinking it is in the assembled product”. This way, the simulation results are as close to reality as possible, and they only have to do with the hardware.
- Software in the loop “represents the integration of compiled production source code into a mathematical model simulation, providing engineers with a practical, virtual simulation environment for the development and testing of detailed control strategies for large and complex systems”. The major difference here is that this simulation deals with software alone.
- Model in the loop combines both of these designs for a full test of hardware and software designs to ensure the systems can give the best results.
Strengths and Opportunities in Smart Grid Energy Simulations
When reviewing strengths and opportunities in technological innovations, considerations of the future is always at the forefront, and the same goes for smart grid simulations. A major question and opportunity identified by analysts is the expected reliability of today’s smart grids in transitioning to future needs. Can they handle more complexities as efficiently as the grids we have today?
How much effect will prosumers have on the future grid systems?
In conventional grid systems, consumers are mostly passive; however, with smart grids, there’s a need for two-way information exchange, since consumers are producing energy now through DERs and can control flexible devices.
Consumers and suppliers are expected to make the grid operate in a more transparent, interactive, and efficient way, giving way to prosumers. These prosumers will be a major dictator in the future of smart grid energy as well as simulation models.
The opportunity to formally educate everyday people on these new technologies will be massive, especially with the consistent rise of a tech-dominated society. This should inspire a link between information and personal lives as far as their participation in the smart energy transition. Finally, smart grid energy simulations can supplement expert decision making and projections, allowing better-informed decisions within the energy sector. Renewables are known to be unreliable, but with simulations systems that have high prediction accuracies, grid managers can take proper measures to keep their smart grid systems efficient and reliable.
In Europe, some countries stand out for renewable energy conversation, and Italy is one of the top players. For 2018 and 2020, respectively, Italy beat its renewable energy targets. The total energy produced by hydroelectric, solar, wind, bioenergy and geothermal power in Italy for 2018 reached 17.8% of final gross consumption, going past the 17% target set for 2020.
There was a 7.7% of consumption in the transport sector for individual sectors, 33.9% in electricity production and 19.2% in heat consumption from renewable energy sources within Italy in 2018. Overall, with that amount of electricity consumption, Italy greatly exceeded the National Action Plan’s target on renewable energy sources, also known as the PAN, for the years 2018 (24.6%) and 2020 (26.4%).
Italy is ranked among the top ten in Europe as part of the list of countries leading electricity production from renewable energy sources. The national impact on the European Union’s total is about 10.7%. The ambitious target for 2030 set by Italy’s National Energy and Climate Plan accounts for 30% consumption with renewable energy sources. So this makes it necessary for Italy to promote and install its renewable energy plans in the future.
Italy’s Renewable Energy Journey, How Far They’ve Come.
The fastest-growing source of renewable energy in Italy is photovoltaic solar energy (PV). Data from 2018, the last full year of available data, shows that photovoltaic systems and installations produced over 22 TWh of energy.
Material from the IEA’s papers on the Global PV Markets also details the impact PV has on the Italian energy sector; accordingly, photovoltaic energy produced by Italy in 2020 was 7.5% of total electricity generation.
With its $6million renewable energy incentives program and a 20.8GW total PV installed capacity as of 2019, more power plants are encouraged to enrol for the specifically packaged incentives. Italy’s strategy for 2021 – 2030 is spelt out in its Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC). It addresses decarbonisation, energy efficiency, self-consumption and distributed generation, energy security and consumption electrification. This strategy aims to bring the part of renewable energy of the final gross consumption rate to 30% by 2030.
Policies Promoting The Growth Of Renewable Energy In Italy
After beating its own 17% set target for renewables shares six years ahead of schedule, Italy has set about creating policies and guidelines to streamline the renewable energy sector for maximum profit all around. It is working under the EU Energy Roadmap 2050 of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent from 1990 levels using its National Energy Strategy 10-year road map.
The National Energy Strategy seeks to increase competitiveness, sustainability and security in the Italian national energy sector through schemes and incentives specifically tailored to the Italian market. The schemes or policies responsible for renewable energy – electricity in Italy are controlled by Gestore dei Servizi Energetic (GSE – the Manager of Electricity Services).
Some of the policies are:
- Electricity generated from renewable energy sources is promoted through VAT- and real estate tax deductions.
- Electricity generated from renewable energy sources fed into the grid can be sold on the free market or to the GSE on a guaranteed minimum price colloquially termed “ritiro dedicato.”
- Net-metering, also known as “scambio sul posto”, provides a convenient compensation to prosumers for the electricity fed into the grid.
- Priority access must be given to renewable energy plants by grid operators.
- Priority dispatch of electricity from renewable sources is also an obligation.
- Grid operators can expand the grid if necessary and requested by plant operators.
As for renewable energy in the heating sector, there are a few policies available as well:
- District heating and cooling networks are managed at local levels
- Development of the installations needed for renewable energy sources in heating (RES-H) is supported by price-based mechanisms
- There is a tax regulation mechanism in place to promote using renewable energy sources for heating
Other general policies that concern renewable energy sources in Italy include:
- Certificates of installed energy plants are obligatory
- All new or refurbished buildings must integrate RES, with an extra 10% to the obligation level for public buildings
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects In Italy.
There are many completed renewable energy projects within Italy, while others are still in the planning stages. However, available data for 2020 is all but non-existent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with 2021 giving us a new lease on life, some projects should soon begin to see daylight, such as that of Eni.
One of Europe’s largest oil company that has decided to diversify into renewables has received authorisation for a few renewable energy projects in Italy. The State Hydrocarbons Authority, also known as Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi or ENI for short, is building a 4.5 MW photovoltaic plant in Trecate to power their production site.
A subsidiary of ENI, called ENI New Energy, acquired three wind projects with a total capacity of 35 MW in the Puglia region of Italy. These will be the first wind projects undertaken by ENI in Italy, and it’s expected to produce approximately 81 GWh annually, avoiding around 33,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Construction is to begin in the third quarter of 2021.
When it comes to electricity generation, the National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC) expects power generated by renewables to increase by 65% by 2030 compared to its current total.
Renewables are also scheduled to cover more than 55% of national electricity consumption, estimated at 337 TWh in 2030.
The plan is to concentrate on two renewables, wind energy and photovoltaic energy, with both renewables reaching more than twice the amount of installed power in 2030 than what is currently attainable. This means the increase in total installed power from renewables would go up to 75%.
Italy is not taking any pauses in its race to become the only contender for renewable energy innovations in Europe. It has beat its set targets twice in a row and continues to set higher standards for its sustainability. Hive Power is optimistic about the tremendous progress that can be made in Italy’s renewable energy journey with the inclusion of AI-powered smart grid technologies to promote more innovative solutions.
We have talked about the smart grid in our previous blog posts and its relation to energy storage, grid stability, and future power needs. It is undeniable that smart grid technology is changing the power sector; how these technologies are correctly applied matters, especially in achieving sustainability goals for a better future.
Six Smart Grid Technology Applications Leading the Change.
Conventional grid technologies perform a simple function, the transmission of electrical power generated at a central power plant. This happens with voltage transformers that increase and decrease voltage levels gradually while delivering energy to the end-users. Smart grids, however, perform all the conventional functions with the added ability or advantage of monitoring all the activities remotely for better and quicker responses and performance.
We will discuss six key applications for Smart Grid technology in this blog post. They are advanced metering infrastructure, demand response, electric vehicles, wide-area situational awareness; distributed energy resources and storage; and distribution grid management.
1. Advanced Metering Infrastructure
This is also known as AMI. It’s simply applying technologies like smart meters to help with the two-way flow of information between customers and utility agencies. This information revolves around consumption time, amount and appropriate pricing. It enables smart grids to have a wide range of functions compared to conventional grid technologies.
These functions include but are not limited to:
- Remote consumption control
- Time-based pricing
- Consumption forecast
- Fault and outage detection
- Remote connection and disconnection of users
- Theft detection and loss measurements
- Effective cash collection and debt management
Having these functions means gaining better control over power efficiency and quality in smart grids across the globe. Still, there are a few drawbacks that worry consumers and utility agencies alike, such as privacy and confidentiality issues and cybersecurity issues relating to unauthorised access to the AMI devices.
2. Demand Response
Demand response (DR) programs are recent and emerging applications for demand‐side management (DSM). Examples are applications that improve grids’ reliability by providing services such as frequency control, spinning reserves and operating reserves, and applications that help reduce wholesale energy prices and their volatility.
The development of energy regulatory commissions with open wholesale markets and policy support has enabled demand response applications in grid technology. There are two categories of demand response programs from the customer perspective:
- Price‐based DR where customers adjust their electricity consumption in response to the time-variant prices created by their utility agencies to maximise their electricity usage and save on bills
- Incentive‐based DR where benefits are increased by promoting an incentive to influence customer behaviours to change their demand consumptions
DR provides the opportunity for consumers to reduce or shift their electricity usage during peak periods through the programs mentioned above, giving them a huge role in the operation of electric grids with the hopes of balancing supply and demand needs.
3. Electric Vehicles (EVs)
This may seem like a misplaced application for smart grids, but with the obvious electrification of the transport industry, EVs are a preferred solution to global warming issues. In terms of smart grid technologies, plug-in electric vehicles’ introduction comes with myriad challenges and opportunities to sustain power systems. If EVs are added to the grids as regular loads, then there will be no allowance for flexibility of load variables, which will endanger the grid as a whole.
However, these challenges can be managed successfully with controlled approaches, especially when charging is shifted to low‐load hours. EVs can also promote Smart grid sustainability by operating as distributed storage resources (V2G) that contribute to ancillary services such as frequency regulation, peak‐shaving power for the system or the integration of fluctuating renewable resources.
4. Wide-Area Situational Awareness
This refers to the implementation of a set of technologies designed to improve the monitoring of the power system across large geographic areas — effectively providing grid operators with a broad and dynamic picture of the functioning of the grid.
WASA systems provide operators and engineers with the right information at the right time for efficient operation and analysis of the power system, according to SELinc. The ultimate goal here remains the same: to understand and optimise the smart grid’s reliability through its performance and anticipate where necessary changes need to occur before problems abound.
Smart grids use phasor measurement units as sensors for collecting data over large geographical areas making phasor measurement sensors the bane of wide-area measurement systems. They can be relied upon to relay situational awareness over large interconnected areas through:
- Real-time monitoring
- Prediction of future disturbances
5. Distributed Energy Resources and Storage
Distributed energy resources are also known as DER and are part of Distributed generation; they refer to energy sources or generation units that are smaller and located on the consumer side of the electricity generation meter.
Energy is generated from sources (mostly renewable) near the point of use rather than from a centralised system. Some examples are rooftop solar photovoltaic units and wind generating units.
While DER storage involves systems that store distributed energy for later use. This is done with two components; DC-charged batteries and bi-directional inverters. It helps in balancing energy generation, demand and supply. Some other key features are:
- Peak shaving
- Load shifting
- Voltage regulation
- Renewable integration
- Back-up power
6. Distribution Grid Management
A distribution grid includes all the equipment needed for energy distribution, such as wires, poles, transformers etc. The management of the distribution grid in smart grids has to do with having a system “capable of collecting, organising, displaying and analysing real-time or near real-time electric distribution system information” as needed.
This system can also allow grid operators to plan and place complex tasks to increase efficiency, meet targets, prevent failures and optimise energy flow. It can also work hand in hand with other systems to create a combined outlook of distributed operations.
Smart grid technologies are created to be smart, with the capabilities of predetermining faults that can then be prevented, cut costs where possible, and deliver the best value to consumers when needed.
The future has always been some proverbial time or place that we look forward to, but the truth is the future is ever-present. It is what we make of it daily, essentially summing up our lives. We have moved from using sticks and stones to the era of the industrial revolution to the technological advancements of the 21st century, paving the way for improvements in electric vehicles technologies. Being ready for the future is not a question of when but a question of, for what?
Understanding The Basics Of EVs
EVs (Electric Vehicles) can also be called plug-in vehicles. They come in several makes, models and different capabilities that hope to accommodate different drivers’ needs. The major distinguishing feature of an EV compared to other vehicles is that it can be plugged to charge from an off-board electric power source.
There are two basic types of EVs with distinguishing specifications; they are:
- All-electric vehicles (AEVs) are powered by one or more electric engines with a range of 80 – 100 miles in regular models and up to 250 miles in some luxury models. They don’t produce fossil fuel emissions because they do not use petroleum-based fuels. They charge from the electric grid and store the energy in batteries within the vehicle.
- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) use both an electric motor and combustion engine. They can be charged from an electric grid. They also store their electric energy in available batteries while retaining the ability to switch to a fuel-based combustion engine when needed, especially for long-distance journeys. Some PHEVs are also called extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs).
Both types of vehicles recharge from the electric grid and use a form of charging called regenerative braking. This type of charging is gotten from the energy that is mostly lost while braking. Under the AEVs umbrella, there are the Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs).
Five Global Projections On Electric Vehicles.
Global projections on Electric Vehicles have varied from country to country, sector to sector and manufacturer to manufacturer, but a few similarities dominate the top spots. GlobalData’s latest analysis estimates EVs will account for 11.7% of light vehicle production by 2030 – up by 1.9% compared to 2019’s 10-year forecast.
Most global populations have felt the effects of greenhouse gases, so any innovation that seems to move us in a direction opposing our planet’s gradual decay is welcome. EVs are one of those innovations that have piqued our interest as well as making an impact on the global economic markets. With that said, let us go over the five most remarkable global projections for EVs to date.
1. Increase in the production of Electric Vehicles
Despite EVs playing a minor role in the car manufacturing sector for years. Analysts in 2020 projected that EVs should hit 6.7% of production by 2024 before hitting 7.8% in 2021 as opposed to their 2019 estimates of a 4.4% production rate within four years, rising to 4.9% by 2024.
This change in projections results from growing interest and wide coverage of EVs globally. More and more people are aware of EV production, the shift in needs and the desire to participate in this movement. Simultaneously, manufacturing companies are making huge efforts to put their new electrified or hybrid models on display, betting heavily on EVs’ arrival into the mainstream.
2. EVs will lead the CASE megatrends before any other trend within the automotive industry
According to analysts, the CASE megatrends – connected cars, autonomous vehicles, shared mobility services and electrification – are the leaders of the automotive industry. Compared to the rest, EVs maintain the trend with the highest potential, leading with actual figures and returns on investment. The rest still seem like science fiction.
3. Electrification of heavy-duty trucks, air and sea transport:
Charging solutions, including heavy-duty batteries with the ability to cater to the aviation, shipping and trucking industries, are the way forward for global electrification. The sale of heavy-duty trucks worldwide hit about 6000 units in 2019, with more room for expansion. The development and standardisation of high power chargers are taking off, providing expansion of these vehicles’ range of operations.
Legislation in countries like Europe, China, and the USA mandates the electrification of shipping operations at ports, gradually making it a commonality. Electric taxiing – the electrification of ground operations in aviation – offers the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and the cost of operations for airlines.
4. EVs will increase electricity demand, reducing reliance on oil
This will effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 0.6 million barrels of oil products per day were avoided in 2019, thanks to Electric Vehicles. According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, “in 2019, the electricity generation to supply the global electric vehicle fleet emitted 51 Mt CO2-eq, about half the amount that would have been emitted from an equivalent fleet of internal combustion engine vehicles, corresponding to 53 Mt CO2- eq of avoided emissions.” With this, it is easy to see how EVs can turn the climate change debate around, with help from other sectors, of course.
5. Expansion of EV charging systems
For now, most charging is done at home for the elite EV owners, but analysts project that an impressive expansion is on the horizon. In 2019 people privately owned about 6.5 million chargers; light-duty vehicle slow chargers in homes, apartment buildings and workplaces created convenience for those that chose to own EVs. The number of publicly accessible chargers globally increased by 60%, a rate higher than EV stock growth. With the expansion of this market, it is only obvious that ownership of EVs will also increase.
The future, as they say, is now, and it seems EVs have a stranglehold on it. Projections remain optimistic about the growth of the Electric Vehicle industry, and so do we at Hive Power, with the best technological systems ready to help you grab your future by their steady horns.
The driving force of human existence has been to find solutions. As innovations become a reality, we have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of putting them to everyday use.
It is important to understand Grid stability, especially when used alongside the term “renewable energy sources”. Conventional power grids are difficult to run with resources other than fossil fuels, and they are also cost-intensive.
Understanding Grid Stability
It’s simple; there needs to be a balance in production and consumption within an electrical grid. For there to be stability, the energy generated must be equal to the energy consumed. So, “unreliable” energy sources don’t fare well with conventional grids.
If a power grid will remain stable, it needs to respond to volatility in voltage and frequency disturbances. For example, if more power is generated than it’s consumed or more energy consumed from the grid than generated, complete adjustments are necessary within an acceptable timeframe so that the frequency disturbances and power outages get balanced. Equilibrium is what is most important.
Let’s Bring Renewable Energy Into The Picture.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report, the renewable energy sector’s growth is set to skyrocket by a whopping 50% between 2019 and 2024. With solar photovoltaic energy leading the way, closely followed by wind and hydropower projects – which are gaining traction with speedy rollouts, the fastest observed in four years. This growth is happening because of the reduced costs of renewable energy technologies, global set targets and decarbonisation policies, and the increasingly high electricity demand.
Despite the popular knowledge that renewables are a new form of technology, facts show that they have been around for a while. Fossil fuels were only preferred because of their storage capacities and reliability compared to weather fluctuations in renewable sources.
When there is a lack of a specific renewable energy source, there is always a need to balance that lack. For example, if a drought occurs in an area that relies on hydroelectric power, there’ll be a significant disruption in electric energy production, storage, and consumption.
Relying on renewable energy sources brings its share of challenges that need definitive solutions. These solutions can be storage options, handling fluctuations and specifications for particular RE sources; (for example, solar power solutions would differ, if not slightly, from solutions for thermal energy sources or hydropower, wind farms, and the rest).
What Are The Grid Stability Problems With Renewable Energy Sources?
- Overloading of existing transmission lines, which can lead to thermal overloads.
- Disruption of the grid’s threshold frequency and voltage limits.
These are usually caused by increased demand for renewable energy generation that the conventional grid infrastructure cannot handle; and the decentralised energy production gathering momentum in the increasing renewable-energy-friendly world.
In recent years, an increasing number of renewable energy generating assets are sprouting in locations where the grids were not designed to handle such load capacities or volatility, leading to serious instability.
At first, renewable energy penetration into the power grids was minimal. Connection or disconnection could happen at will, but with larger penetrations nowadays, this is nearly impossible. They create bottlenecks and imbalance in some key areas with the supply of reactive power.
Voltage levels in a grid network are influenced by reactive power. While the frequency can be stable across the grid network, voltages are determined by the recurrent real and reactive power supply and demand. If the grid network does not have enough reactive power injected at the right locations, the transmission system’s voltage levels will exceed planned operational limits.
How They Can Be Solved.
To ensure a stable and reliable grid, redistribution or ‘re-dispatch’ is necessary within the networks. The n – 1 criterion allows for this to happen. The n – 1 criterion effectively means that despite congestion that does occur, a particular line’s failure must not lead to the whole system’s failure; the current must always have an alternative route giving way for current-relief on the network. A system can tolerate the failure of only one component within itself.
Grid managers always have to be on top of this growing problem of increased injections of renewables to the grid networks and tally these increases with their corresponding costs.
- Installing a huge number of reactive power compensation plants and building HVDC transmission lines from the generation centres to the load centres
- The use of conventional load flow controllers (however, these prove to be too slow when compared to the rate at which renewable energy use is growing)
- A dynamic load flow management system (which seems to be the best option) found in a unified power flow controller that can be fast-reacting. This solution should keep power lines within the n – 1 criterion balanced by managing both series and parallel compensation, which would keep the electricity on and flowing at optimum.
Working renewables into conventional grid systems is necessary. Using any or all of these solutions can guarantee better working grids compatible with growing needs. Much more, as a grid operator, you must take advantage of smart grid management solutions, like Hive Power, with modules that deliver the following:
- Analytics for the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
- Analytics for optimal grid management
- Energy data forecasting for loads and production
- Preventive analysis of future grid violations
- Generic visualisation/monitoring tools.
Fossil fuels have served their purpose wholly since their discovery, providing energy that has surpassed initial expectations. Still, over the years, with more innovations springing up around the world due to technological development, it has become apparent that the source of our all-important energy and its continued use is detrimental to the environment we so desperately need for continued existence. So we have turned to renewable energy.
This form of energy has a less negative environmental impact, is more sustainable, allows for the creation of a much-needed increase in employment. RE sources also help sovereign nations utilise their natural environment and resources to generate the power they need and acquire a self-sustaining income.
This post is a case study of one of these sovereign nations at the forefront of renewable energy innovations; Switzerland.
Interesting Facts About Energy in Switzerland
Although Switzerland has seen a significant surge in renewable energies such as ambient heat, biomass, wind power and solar power since 2005, their main energy sources hinge on oil, natural gas, nuclear power and hydropower.
- 50.6% of Switzerland’s energy comes from petroleum and fuel sources, making them the main sources, electricity follows with a bit above half of that percentage with 25%, then gas with 13.5% and finally wood at 4.4%
- Hydropower plants are the primary sources of electricity, nuclear power generates about 33.5%, and thermal power plants (that do not use renewable energy) generate 2.3%
- Many Swiss citizens have strong opposition to nuclear power, and they have derailed several nuclear power plant projects. An example is the case of Canton of Aargau (Kaiseraugst) when in 1975, public protests led to the abandonment of a nuclear power plant project.
- Presently, Switzerland has set goals for an energy transition. In the Energy Strategy 2050, one of its most ambitious aims is to phase-out nuclear power use.
- 59.9% of Switzerland’s total domestic electricity production comes from its 638 hydroelectric power plants.
- The largest dam in Switzerland is The 285-metre-high Grande-Dixence dam (canton of Valais) is the third-highest gravity dam in the world and the largest dam in Switzerland.
- As of 2015, the per capita electricity consumption in Switzerland was 7,033 kWh putting it higher than the 2014 rate for France, which stood at 6,233 kWh, Germany at 6,225 kWh and the Netherlands at 6,108 kWh. However, it maintained a lower rate than Norway, which stayed at 21,091 kWh, Finland at 14,477 kWh, Sweden at 12,597 kWh, Belgium at 7,225kWh and Austria at 7,081 kWh.
(Source: Discover Switzerland)
Growth Of Switzerland’s Renewable Energy Policies
The Energy Strategy 2050 emphasises ‘increased energy savings (energy efficiency), the expansion of hydropower and new renewable energies, and, if necessary, on fossil-fuel-based electricity production.’
The system Kostendeckende Einspeisevergütung (KEV), which is the feed-in tariff (FIT) and its predecessor, the Mehrkostenfinanzierung (MKF), as well as specified targets, are the key instigators for market demand in renewable energy. Even though the budget made available has been rather limited compared to market demand.
The institutional framework in Switzerland, which supports renewable energy, has developed to grow continually without major hitches. With support from the SwissEnergy programme, this process has brought together myriad stakeholders, promoted innovative ideas, providing pertinent information, pushed market deployments and supported collaboration across different sectors.
As soon as KEV was introduced, an objective for sharing renewable energy within the national energy mix by 2030 was also introduced, providing a concrete signal for renewable energy sector investors. Within the Swiss Energy Act was included the target of an annual additional renewable electricity generation of 5400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2030, of which 2000 GWh are to come via hydropower. These long-term targets build upon an important element in the overall framework for RES.
The government implemented a set of measures due to The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Action Plans of 2008 to improve renewable energy technologies’ market conditions. These measures included:
- Financial support for the replacement of existing heating systems with renewable energy, for example, heat pumps and biomass through global budgets distributed to the cantons dedicated to supporting measures
- Revision of the building standard for new buildings
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects in Switzerland and Expert Projections
The world’s first high-altitude floating solar power plant is currently operating in the Swiss Alps. According to experts in the field, this technology could become a major part of the photovoltaic industry worldwide. Photovoltaic energy is produced by turning sunlight into electricity, and in 2013 Guillaume Fuchs got the idea to spearhead this high-altitude floating solar power plant in an alpine environment.
According to SwissInfo.ch, “The solar plant at Lac des Toules consists of 1,400 panels, laid on 36 floating structures made of aluminium and polyethene plastic anchored to the bottom of the lake. Current production exceeds 800,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, which is the equivalent of consumption for about 220 households”. Constructing a photovoltaic power plant in a human-made lake at very high altitudes means that the weather conditions are harsher and more intense with a thinner atmosphere and extreme UV rays. More electricity is generated thanks to the two-sided panels that capture the sun rays above and the reflected sun rays from the water’s surface.
Experts believe that floating photovoltaic stations such as this one are the future of solar energy because there is less need for unwarranted land use. There will also be a reduction in the competition between agriculturists, construction companies and the renewable energy sector regarding land. The water placement also leads to increased yield capabilities because it cools the panels as they sit effortlessly, extending their lifespan altogether.
Per year, nuclear power plants in Switzerland produce about 25 TWh of electricity. For the government to replace that amount of power, approximately 25,000 football fields would need to be covered with photovoltaic panels to cater to consumer needs, hence the need for more innovation.
We, at Hive Power, believe that the use of innovations plays a huge role in driving the renewable energy sector and technologies. Our Smart Grid Analytics solution offers industry participants the capacity to manage electric energy and electric grids, using data-driven AI-powered solutions, efficiently.
Let’s start with a defining statement for microgrid systems; they are self-sufficient energy systems that cater to energy needs for a small geographical area, they can have one or more kinds of energy sources such as solar panels, heat sources or wind turbines and even contain an energy storage solution, for example, batteries.
Their primary purpose is to produce sustainable power for an allocated area. These areas can be hospitals, campuses, business centres and small neighbourhoods. Microgrid systems are discussed in association with renewable energy, mainly because that is the type of energy being developed in recent years. They happen to do better than large scale grids that cater to larger populations from fossil fuel sources and are becoming increasingly accepted.
Microgrids work in an interconnected way, providing energy to buildings in the form of electricity, cooling and heating through software and digital control systems. Its major characteristics include:
- being local, which means it provides its services to nearby customers
- being independent, which means it can be disconnected from its central grid yet still function at 100%, this comes in handy in times of central outages and lastly
- being intelligent, which is a result of advanced software and management systems.
With the efficiency of microgrids, there is a pertinent need to measure their energy demand and supply, which is where Demand-Side Management comes in.
What is Demand-Side Management (DSM)?
Demand-Side Management can be explained as the “group of actions designed to efficiently manage a site’s energy consumption to cut costs incurred for the supply of electrical energy, from grid charges and general system charges, including taxes” according to Enel X. These actions are necessary for optimising energy use and saving costs on electricity charges by understanding the overall consumption costs, the amount of time this consumption occurs, and the supply and connection parameters.
Demand-Side Management is enshrined in the instability of grid systems around the world since renewable energy sources are highly penetrable including the decentralisation of their production, these cause innumerable disruptions on the microgrids and grid management services, a balance is therefore needed.
The demand and supply balance is a significant worry; the amount of energy created and fed into the grids has to match the consumption habits. Grid managers can now create energy management systems to offer grid services that are paid for, which in turn increase the costs for the electrical system.
In-depth on-site analysis has to be carried out on individual microgrid sites to properly engage in Demand-Side Management to ascertain the generation and consumption habits of customers.
All the measures used under Demand-Side Management are implemented on the generation side of the energy meter to modify consumption patterns and enable efficiency in using and managing energy loads. The measures don’t only involve energy efficiency but also something else called Demand Response (DR).
Demand Response is a technique that microgrid managers use to balance out sudden surges or plummets in consumers’ consumption of energy. DSM program participation, for now, can be voluntary or mandatory for consumers, for those that decide to volunteer, there are attractive incentives to encourage more participation. Some regulations have been introduced by most energy (electricity specifically) regulators that have encouraged the integration of Demand-Side Management at their facilities, an attempt at a level playing field for DSM.
What are the Advantages of DSM?
As referenced earlier, the major advantage of Demand-Side Management is saving and reducing unnecessary energy losses. These are the direct benefits. The indirect benefits include reducing the frequency of blackouts and the mitigation of emergencies that have to do with the energy systems.
To understand the advantages and disadvantages of DSM, it is imperative to compare it to other alternatives (Supply-Side Alternatives) such as energy generated via renewable energy, the power generated via fossil fuels, load shedding and peak power plants. It is imperative to note that Supply-Side Management deals with energy management on the other side of the meter regarding supply, the polar opposite of DSM.
|Energy via Renewable Sources||
|Energy via Fossil fuels||
|Peak Power Plants||
Advantages and disadvantages of DSM, in comparison to other alternatives. Source: Science direct
Here is a comparison of DSM’s advantages from the consumers’ perspective (customers and society) and power utilities. Source: Science Direct
|Reduced cost of operations||Energy bills are reduced due to energy-efficient equipment.||Greenhouse gasses reduction because fossil fuel power plant constructions aren’t needed|
|Reduced expenses on building power plants, costs of transmission and distribution||Power cuts are reduced, and the power supply is more reliable and stable.||Power distribution is equitable due to less disruption of power|
|Operations run efficiently||Customer satisfaction and reduced maintenance costs for energy-efficient appliances||The promotion and development of sustainable energy and efficiency in the conversion of renewable energy sources|
Demand-Side Management with Microgrids allows grid managers to observe how both systems perform in the transformation of conventional microgrids to those that run on renewable energy and how the Management of demand-side can help with the instability of renewable energy sources; how they can work with renewable energy storage systems and how they can be improved on for efficient utilisation and consumption by customers. Our Community Manager module is integrated with blockchain technology that can enable you to utilise DMS effectively and efficiently.