The largest country in Northern Europe, Sweden, is famous for many things, from the beautiful sceneries, historical sites, food, and liberal culture. Remarkably is the environmental consciousness that runs through most of its citizens and residents. The clean streets and green sites say a lot about how well the Swedish know the value of natural resources, and this is evident in their adoption of renewable energy on a large scale.
Renewable energy in Sweden has developed over time, majorly from hydropower and bioenergy. This growth can be linked to the availability of moving water and biomass from its 63% forest cover. The topography also encourages the use of hydropower. In addition, there are 3600 wind turbines scattered all around Sweden capable of powering 30,000 homes. Wind power constitutes 17% of the renewable energy used in Sweden.
As of 2019, the supply of power in Sweden was primarily from hydropower plants in the northern region of Sweden and nuclear power plants in the southern. Southern Sweden is busier and requires more power than their nuclear power plants can provide, so the northern region generates more power for the south.
The Growth of Renewable Energy in Sweden.
Sweden has been making significant efforts to invest in renewable energy and utilize it for day-to-day activities. Currently, up to 54.6% of the energy used in Sweden is from renewable energy sources. In 2016, the world’s first electrified road was opened in Sweden, they also use waste, biomass, solar power, wind power, and hydropower more than most countries.
Sweden was the first country to meet its renewable energy targets set by the European Union (EU) for 2020. This was achieved eight years ahead of time due to the continuous input to renewable energy and efforts to sustain it. The government of Sweden seeks to make the country climate neutral by 2045 and hopes to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040. While hydropower (45%) and nuclear power plants (30%) take the lead (more than 75%) in the generation of renewable energy-based power, wind turbines come in third, before bioenergy and solar power.
Bioenergy sources have a significant growth in Sweden. They sometimes run out of biowaste and have to import to meet their needs. Power generated from biowaste is usually used for heating, which is a very significant need in Sweden. Up to 93% of residential and 83% of commercial buildings get their heat generated from biofuel and waste through the district heating sector.
Who/What is driving the growth of renewable energy in Sweden? Many factors are associated with the demand for power by industries, supportive policies, and the quick adoption of renewable energy technologies. The industrial sector of Sweden is a large one, needing a lot of power supply continuously. With the availability and development of renewable energy, the Swedish government can do a lot to meet the targets ahead.
Policies Aiding The Growth Of Renewable Energy In Sweden
The high carbon taxes and cheap energy prices are helping the growth of renewable energy in Sweden. However, climate change has been a great concern as many industries in Sweden are capable of carbon emissions. The carbon tax has been an excellent way to address the issues of emissions in Sweden and give incentives and opportunities for renewable energy alternatives. It is levied on all forms of fossil fuel relative to their carbon content.
Also, the Swedish Energy Agency, which has existed since 1998, was recently commissioned to find strategies to include more solar power in the mix to make the 100% renewable energy target for 2040. Furthermore, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Energy Agency have been developing national strategies to build sustainable wind power.
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects in Sweden
Renewable projects continue to spring up in Sweden. An example is a partnership between Uniper Engineering and Fortum eNext in three projects relating to Nordic hydro and physical trading optimization, hydrogen, and wind and solar development. They plan to complete it in 2025 and have gone past planning the coming together to offer services to utilities and energy-intensive companies.
Vattenfall, a government-owned company, also announced in 2019 to upgrade the hydropower plants and increase their capacity to 600 megawatts by 2023. It is very significant to Sweden’s goals for renewable energy, and the output is almost equivalent to that of 100 wind turbines. Currently, up to 20 power plants have been upgraded, and 450MW more have been generated already.
More so, in Ludivika city, 48 apartments have been linked as prosumers forming an energy community. Each has solar photovoltaics, thermal energy storage devices, and heat pumps to constantly use and produce renewable energy. In addition, despite being more of a collection of 1970 houses, they have smart meters which function effectively for an efficient power supply.
Experts’ Predictions on Renewable Energy in Sweden
With the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 and the trends of events, forecasts predict a CAGR of 2% in the Swedish renewable energy market by 2025. This prediction is due to policies and initiatives that are in support of renewable energy. Also, hydropower is likely to dominate the market as more upgrades are being planned and organized. However, experts also feel that the maintenance of renewable energy systems would limit the market.
There may have been concerns on how Sweden would handle the fluctuations in power from renewable energy, but these concerns are now being addressed. Sweden is known for its fast adaptation to technologies, and this has helped them grow. So far, the risks associated with diving into new technologies have been properly managed and implemented in the proper management of renewable energy systems.
Smart grids fuse energy development with technological advancements. Using sensors, IoT, and other computing devices, there is a provision for two-way communication between consumers and utility providers in a smart grid. As an artificially intelligent system, a huge amount of data comes from various sources, e.g. smart meters. All the unstructured data gathered from these sources can only be valuable with smart grid analytics.
Smart grid analytics are systematic computational analyses of the data produced in the grids. With these analytics, one can get a more precise interpretation, communication, and identification of data trends or meaningful patterns from the data that comes in. Thus, it is essential to improve grid operations and predict the next course of action.
A Brief History
From the 1990s, attempts at electronic metering, control and monitoring evolved into smart grids. From automated meter readings in the 1980s to Advanced Metering Infrastructures in the 1990s, attempts have been made to go beyond measuring power usage to maximizing the information.
The concepts of analytics can be traced back to the 19th century with Frederick Winslow Taylor’s time management exercises and Henry Ford’s measurements of assembly lines’ speeds. It would interest you to know that predictive analytics (which is now of high importance in smart grids) started in the 1940s. However, it did not attract any attention until the 1960s, when decision support systems became popular. By 2005, businesses applied analytics to make iterative explorations on past activities and make decisions to plan the future.
Applying analytics to smart grid data is what birthed smart grid analytics. The problem of big data (as Roger Magoulas called it in 2005) has always existed as long as the internet. Around early 2012, big data in smart grid systems initiated collaboration between smart grid integration companies and data analytics start-ups.
As grids became smarter, grid data analytics also developed, using available technologies such as machine learning techniques. Computing techniques like statistics, machine learning (under artificial intelligence), and data analytics are now being applied in various facets, and the power sector is not left out. As we will see, smart grid analytics gives relevant information that helps set the course of upcoming activities for the effective distribution of power.
Three Things You Should Know About The Current Trends In Smart Grid Analytics
For one, the smart grids analytics market in Europe was projected in 2019 to grow at the compounded rate of 11-12.7% by 2025. This growth is based on how advanced grid technologies are embraced on a broader scale. However, I have observed these trends;
1. There is currently rapid growth in investment in smart grids projects and, subsequently, smart grids analytics.
Many countries in the European Union have invested in smart grids projects and are recording successes. Of the projects, up to 59% are demonstration projects, 32% are for deployment, while 9% are research and development projects. A significant highlight is the smart meter roll-out in Italy that takes up to 71% of these projects aforementioned.
Smart meters are installed in all of these projects, and to get relevant information from the data, smart grids analytics have to be employed. These projects result from increased interest and initiatives channelled to the ongoing energy transformation and sustainability goals.
2. Smart grid analytics work with real-time data even with the increased speed and variety of requirements.
This easy adaptation is because they are entirely computerized and are built on the blocks of advanced technologies. Smart grid analytics can now generate information from high-speed data of various forms needed for the grids’ operation and prior knowledge of what to put in as resources.
3. Digital technologies and cloud computing would continue to improve and allow for more data computation.
Digital data, which highest storage used to be terabytes, is now accessible on larger scales like exabytes and zettabytes. Manual methods and previous ways of analyzing this data are becoming redundant. Also, with the inclusion of renewable energy in the conventional grids, the adaptation of intelligent systems is increasing, and the need for grid data analytics will follow this trend.
Challenges Of Smart Grid Analytics
Despite the enormous advantages and improved technologies, there are still a few challenges. Some include:
- Cost implications – the initial costs of setting up smart grids make many grid operators sceptical about using smart grid analytics. For the grid as well, it usually includes the costs of sensors and other components in making it effective. The analytics themselves are part of what makes the smart grid a modern electric system. However, it is worth the investment to foster a low-carbon economy and a greener world.
- Security concerns – the fact that smart grids allow for two-way communication is a concern as the data is prone to cyber-attacks. Despite this, cybersecurity has continued to improve and is developing better solutions using codes and encrypted data.
- Customer demand – the demand needed for effective use of smart grid analytics is higher than what exists now. Not enough grid operators have adopted analytics, and the low-scale usage is not optimal. More large-scale energy supplying and distributing firms need to embrace the new technologies at this time.
I must re-emphasize that smart grid analytics is crucial to improving smart grids’ efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. And Hive Power provides a SaaS platform with intelligent grid analysis and a flexibility management solution called the Flexibility Orchestrator to help the renewable energy industry key players improve their activities and offer services more desirably.
The use of smart grid analytics benefits both the consumers and the suppliers of power because it improves energy management, allows for more efficient power transmission, and lowers the cost of operation and management of energy. In addition, with the use of analytics, demand would match supply more because of improved decision making.
With the recent push to integrate renewable energy into the existing energy infrastructures, it is becoming clear that there is a need to adjust its operation mode. This need is apparent because most renewable energy sources depend on the weather and are not easy to predict or plan with. Moreover, the power generated from such sources as wind energy and solar energy is highly stochastic. This situation calls for the application of advanced technologies for renewable energy forecasting and scheduling.
Renewable energy forecasting helps foresee what changes are expected in the amount of energy that will be generated in the future. This prior knowledge is informative for energy suppliers to plan the input they put into generating systems. Renewable energy scheduling also works side-by-side with forecasting because it is mainly determined by the predictions made by the energy forecasting models.
How renewable energy forecasting and scheduling work
Recent advancements in artificial intelligence have improved the job of weather forecasting (done by meteorologists) through machine learning. As a result, grid operators can leverage machine learning techniques to determine the amount of renewable energy that will be used and purchased by consumers at a particular time.
Machine learning (which is used for renewable energy forecasting) works because a software system learns patterns from recent data and develops an improved analysis for the future. In order to achieve this, a forecasting model is designed to fit a particular situation over several days. In addition, the data collected must be valid, accurate, reliable, consistent, and complete to be effective.
What You Should Know About Renewable Energy Forecasting And Scheduling
Here are five important things about renewable energy forecasting and scheduling you should know;
1. Renewable energy forecasting is built around short-term forecasting
Forecasting can be done with different horizons: short, medium, and long-term. Short-term forecasting involves forecasting from a few minutes to a few days ahead. It is used for day-to-day activities, and this time frame applies to renewable energy prediction.
The lead times in short-term forecasting are such that the changes in weather over a short period can be analyzed and used to predict the data to be used the next time. Renewable energy forecasting and scheduling require updated and recent data as frequently as possible, and short-term forecasting achieves that. The amazing part of it all is that there would be little or no human interruption with the presence of technology. Such way, errors would be significantly minimized.
2. Decentralized computing plays a prominent role in renewable energy scheduling.
Decentralized computing involves the allocation of both software and hardware to various points of duty. It is not like centralized computing, where all activities stem from a particular place. This form of computing (decentralized computing) is necessary for renewable energy scheduling because of the nature of locations in renewable energy generation and consumption.
For example, in an energy community, several houses may produce power at a time, and some utilities need power. The allotment of power to different places can be done effectively with decentralized computing technologies like the blockchain. It is effective because control has to happen independently from various locations when forecasting predictions require an adjustment.
3. Smart grids allow for renewable energy forecasting and scheduling.
Smart grids are electrical distribution points that are not like the conventional grid. The difference is that they contain many operation and control systems, advanced metering systems, intelligent circuit breakers and boards, and most importantly, renewable energy sources fit in well. Their operations are more efficient and can be readily evaluated because of the availability of needed information at the click of the finger. It is in such a system that renewable energy forecasting and scheduling can thrive.
Advanced forecasting models can be introduced and used to plan how the plants would run, whether solar photovoltaics or wind turbines. The ease in integration occurs because the smart grid already has smart IoT devices for thermal sensing, smart meters, phasor management networks, and the likes.
4. Grids with renewable energy attain stability easier with forecasting models in place.
Grid stability is of utmost importance for the sake of the life span of grids. Grid operators cannot consistently have variations in input and output in the grid happen repeatedly. With accurate renewable energy forecasting models, proper preparation and scheduling would be done, and there would be less frequent stability problems. Renewable energy forecasting and scheduling cut back most excesses when it comes to grid management.
5. The weather is a significant factor in renewable energy forecasting and scheduling.
Renewable energy forecasts are usually a combination of accurate weather predictions and the availability of plants and systems. The weather is a great factor, as the weather changes cause significant changes in the renewable power generated. For example, the variable speed of the wind is proportional to the amount of power generated by wind turbines. In the same way, the intensity of sun rays and the positioning of clouds play a big role in the fluctuations when it comes to solar power.
What makes renewable energy forecasting and scheduling interesting is that it studies the highly influencing factors of effective power generation. This kind of study is immediately applied, rather than just being carried out for nothing. It turns out that analyzing the weather, as Meteomatics does, has a vital role in the forecasting done by Hive Power’s Forecaster.
Renewable Energy Forecasting and Scheduling Solution – Hive Power
Hive Power’s Forecaster is one of our Flexibility Operator’s modules that performs short-term forecasting in a very accurate manner. It simply considers various factors involved in renewable energy-based power generation and uses them in forecasting. Its machine learning models make predictions on the amount of energy that would be used and generated in the future, based on previous data. This data is real-time data which is very helpful because it is used as soon as it is delivered.
Renewable energy forecasting and scheduling are essential for the effectiveness of renewable energy systems. With more observations in the needs of a renewable energy system, new technologies keep springing up, and it fosters development. Therefore, it is crucial to embrace these technologies as they come, especially when they are practical and efficient like this (in renewable energy forecasting and scheduling).
The Netherlands (also known as Holland in some languages, English inclusive) is known for its windmills and tulips. Its capital, Amsterdam, is a place to reckon. However, other things that make the Netherlands popular are heavily reliant on energy. As the second-largest exporter of food and beer, there are many energy-consuming set-ups. Also, there is the need to keep factories and homes up and running.
The energy sector in the Netherlands bases majorly on natural gas and oil. As of 2018, the contributions to energy generation were: 42% from natural gas, 37% from petrol, 11% from coal, 5% from biomass, and the remaining 5% shared among solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and nuclear sources. The reliability of these sources over time seems to make them seem supposedly sustainable. However, global warming, earthquakes while producing natural gas, and climate change are still of great concern.
How far the Netherlands have come in Renewable Energy
One limiting factor to the progress in adopting renewable energy in the Netherlands is the topography. The Netherlands in its entirety is not below sea level, but a significant part of it is. This geographical situation is not welcoming to the use of hydropower.
Also, many government subsidies to invest in renewable energy existing in other countries like Denmark and Germany are not in the Netherlands. The start-up cost for renewable energy projects is high, so not many Dutch people are encouraged to go into it.
However, the status of renewable energy generation and usage in the Netherlands has recorded some progress. The amount of energy produced from renewable energy sources in the Netherlands increased from 6.6% in 2017 to 7.38% in 2018 and 8.6% in 2019. Nevertheless, the targets are still far off.
Policies Affecting the Growth of RE in the Netherlands
The law in the Netherlands has expressed concern over the light level of greenhouse gas emissions in the country. The Climate Act aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands by 49% by 2030 and 95% by 2050. For this to be met, some projects are ongoing, majorly for offshore wind turbine applications. Also, the Dutch government policy on renewable energy includes a plan to close the only nuclear power plant in the Netherlands by 2024.
Lately, countries in Europe have started to work towards meeting the goals for renewable energy development. The Renewable Energy Directive in the European Union was formerly to the end that by 2020, the final energy consumption of countries in the EU would be up to 20% renewable. However, can we confidently say the same motivation pushes the Netherlands?
The target by the European Union in 2018 was to have up to 32% of total energy from renewable sources in all its member state countries by 2030. Unfortunately, the Netherlands has not attained its share. In 2017, the Netherlands produced 6.6% of its total energy from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind turbines. The target at that time was 14%, so the Netherlands failed to meet it.
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects in the Netherlands
Even though the Netherlands is not on track for its renewable energy goals, it has started making plans to eliminate natural gas production and consumption. These plans favour the development of renewable energy. The most popular projects in the Netherlands are the offshore wind turbine projects, before solar projects. We will discuss some examples below.
- The first large-scale wind farm in the Netherlands is being revamped. Egmond aan Zee offshore wind farm is the wind farm in question. Commissioned 15 years ago (2006), it started with only a capacity of 108 MW as a demonstration project and was the first large-scale wind farm project in the Netherlands. BlackRock Real Assets closed a 4.8 billion dollars investment fund for renewable power early this year, and some of it has sponsored other projects. A part of the fund, as well, would be used to refurbish this wind farm of NoordzeeWind (owned by Shell). Once completed, it has the potential to boost the use of renewable power in the Netherlands.
- Borssele 1 and 2 is Ørsted’s first offshore wind farm in the Netherlands and is located on the Dutch North Sea. It has a capacity of 752 MW and is, therefore, the largest wind farm in the Netherlands. A highlight of this project is that its completion was in 2020, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CEO of Ørsted, it is an achievement. This project has enough power for 1 million Dutch homes.
- The collaboration between Kronos Solar Projects and Greencells in the Netherlands is currently beginning to expand. The partnership has started a new 14 MW solar project at Voorst in the second quarter of this year (2021). Greencells has been actively working in the Netherlands since 2018. The company has completed up to 332 MW projects individually and with other collaborators. Kronos Solar Projects are also renowned for its investments in solar projects up to 290 MW in more than one country.
Experts’ Projections on RE in the Netherlands
The experts have it that the total share of renewable energy that was 8.7% in 2019 would eventually increase to 25% in 2030. In the same way, experts expect that the 18% share of renewable electricity in 2019 would have increased to 75% by 2030. However, the expectation for the renewable share of energy used for heating should move only from 7% in 2019 to 13% in 2030.
Also, the growth in the renewable energy market has to take a good turn. This is because the prices of renewable energy are steadily decreasing. This decrease is likely to keep the renewable energy market sustained even without the government’s input. For example, biomass used to take up to 60.7% of the renewable energy usage in the Netherlands. However, recent investments and projects by Vattenfall, Siemens, and the likes in wind energy projects should turn things around.
As the Netherlands has shown an increasing dependence on natural gas, it shows that the country needs more and more energy sources. The Netherlands used to be a reliable exporter of natural gas decades ago but has become an importer. As developments begin to increase, the pollution of the atmosphere with emissions is also increasing. Therefore, the Climate Agreement Policies need to be looked into further.
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology is a means to a greater end for the world of sustainable energy. Even though V2G is not yet prevalent, the structures necessary for communication between grids and electric vehicles have already started growing with advanced technology. It is essential to note that communication protocols that serve as guidelines in their various applications have to be flexible enough to accommodate change constantly.
Communication protocols guide the interactions between two digitally connected entities. In this case, electric vehicles and grids are the entities. Without standards, there is always a gap and disorderliness. Such chaos is not needed in the exchange of data and the facilitation of communication in the application of V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) technology. The IEC 15118 protocol steps in to solve this problem.
V2G technology can only be implemented swiftly and much more if the points of interaction between the two elements, the vehicle, and the grid, recognize each other. You would agree with me that adaptability makes any product or technology, like the advent of electric vehicle usage, more feasible and desirable. The IEC 15118 protocol is one of the other communication protocols but paves the way for a smooth transition in vehicle-grid integration.
The Focus of V2G Communication Protocols
Many concerns come up when it comes to any kind of data exchange. There is a need for the details (like the specifications & unique identity) of a vehicle to be communicated in V2G. Asides from the fact that details may easily be tracked and need a high level of security, the flexibility of the interactions between EVs, charging systems, and grids are highly required for V2G to thrive.
The IEC 15118 started in 2009 for the Vehicle-to-grid Communication Interface to promote autonomous usage. Interestingly, this protocol is still under development, yet it already gives a platform that allows for a broader scope. As V2G communication is needed to be in place for automatic billing and access to the internet, the IEC 15118 protocol gives a form of global compatibility that applies just as well.
IEC 15118 Protocol: What you should know
Of the two main kinds of community protocols (the front-end protocol and the back-end protocol), I would spotlight the IEC 15118 protocol (which is a front-end protocol. That is as a result of its relevance in V2G technology and its application. Also known as the ISO 15118 protocol, it is one of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for electric vehicles (including trucks). It has some interesting sides to it, as I would explain below.
1. More Advanced Communication with IEC 15118
Compared to a similar protocol, like the IEC 61851, the IEC 15118 communication protocol is more advanced. For example, ISO 15118 gives the requirements for charging load management, billing and metering. It thus promotes bi-directional digital communication, which is the basis for V2G communication.
IEC 61851 can only do basic signalling, like indicating readiness for charging and connection status. However, IEC 15118 is applicable for high-level communication, which is an advancement. This places it at the core of EV charging and even V2G interactions. This way, there is better communication and information transfer between the Electric Vehicle and the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE).
2. Versatile Application of IEC 15118 to Wired and Wireless Charging
In its implementation for charging electric vehicles, you can apply IEC 15118 to both wired (AC and DC) and wireless charging. Since V2G applies to various kinds of electric vehicles, this protocol suits it appropriately.
With the current update on part 8 of the IEC 15118 protocol, you would notice an improvement that would allow for wireless connection. Part 8, which is the Physical layer and data link layer requirements for wireless communication, informs the protocol’s versatility.
3. Security via Digital Certification in IEC 1158
The communication between vehicles and grids (via V2G) with the IEC 15118 protocol is more secure. This is a result of the use of digital certificates. In addition, public key infrastructures issue and manage digital certificates. These certificates link people, systems, and keys.
Like passcodes (but more complex), encrypted data is used in IEC 15118 to keep information safe. This way, the limit of insecurities in V2G communication is eliminated. Even digital signatures can be created and used as and when due. If, at any time, for any reason, a digital certificate is no longer trusted, the public key can be reversed. Also, these security features have time limits and make it harder to cheat on the system.
4. Automated Authorization
Using IEC 15118, there is no need to do any other thing at the point of shedding excess power from an electric vehicle to the grid asides from doing the necessary plugging. The automated system allows the system to authenticate the identity of the two sides in communication. It uses different authentication schemes like the Plug and Charge technology, enabling the vehicle to authenticate and identify itself on behalf of the driver.
The use of RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) can be aptly applied in the use of IEC 15118 as a means of external identification. Low power radio waves are used in this application to identify the vehicle and automatically carry out authentication.
5. Standard Nature of the IEC 15118 Protocol
ISO/IEC 15118 is a protocol that forms part of the Combined Charging System (CCS) – a group of standards for hardware and software in charging systems. The CCS agrees to use this to enhance charging that can be operated with various specifications.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also recognizes the IEC 15118 protocol for V2G communication. Being an international body made of different national standards organizations that set standards, the ISO is globally recognized.
With Hive Power’s Flexibility Manager Module, anywhere V2G would be implemented, charging and discharging can be coordinated easily. This is done by maximizing devices that can be remotely controlled under this module. The Hive platform also provides a means of improving the accuracy of energy data and enhancing smart grids.
Generally, the interoperability and openness of IEC 15118 make it fit in as a V2G communication protocol well. Yet, it is not at the level it should be in the market. Moreover, due to the nature of the V2G technology as one which is still under development, the entire structure needs to keep improving to aid more advanced communication between the digitally communicating elements.
The introduction of demand-side response meets the preferences of the consumer of energy and helps the energy supply systems to remain balanced. Even though business owners and large-scale commercial corporations were the first to take advantage of this development for the sake of profits, it has moved in its application. Consumer demand-side response is now a point of interest as Demand-side response has its advantages to both a residential consumer and a business owner.
Through demand-side response, the use of power is flexible; as the consumer, you can adjust your energy demand according to your needs. When the United States Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007 defined the term demand response, it described it as all activities related to reducing peak demand through smart pricing and metering, as well as enabling technologies. The whole idea of consumer demand-side response benefits the grid by keeping it stable.
The term Demand-side response was known as Demand-side management (DSM) after the energy crisis in 1979. Various governments wanted to effectively manage demand through different programs because of the issues that arose with energy (fossil fuel then) production. These developments happened both in 1973 and 1979. However, the only thing that is helping Demand-side management thrive now is the availability of communication tools and more technology.
How Consumer Demand-Side Response Works
A distribution grid is responsible for the conveyance of power finally to the end-users. There is a frequency at which power comes into the grid; without renewable energy sources, this frequency is easy to keep stable. You don’t need a high level of control since the power is generated using fossil-based energy sources such as natural gas and coal according to the quantity.
However, including renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy, the input rate is unpredictable. Therefore, the grid operators need the consumers’ cooperation to regulate the power flow to the grid for a reward. Based on requirements and current state, the consumer reduces his power usage and avoids wastage whenever notified.
For a large-scale business or an industrial setting, the demand-side response is very significant because the amount of valuable power that could be wasted is high. Despite their relatively small power capacity, residential consumers can also be participants in demand-side response. With the introduction of advanced technologies, operators can coordinate the demand-side response without much human input. These technologies would account for all little grits of power that accumulate to significant power.
Smart-grid applications provide real-time data to producers and consumers that help them participate in the demand-side response. They aid the effective communication between consumers and producers of electricity on how much is needed and when needed. Consumers can fix their thresholds, then adjust their usage to maximize the prices.
Applicability of Consumer Demand-Side Response
In domestic areas, homes usually have loads that use electric power. They could be:
- Base loads, which are fixed and non-adjustable to meet basic needs such as lighting and the likes.
- Schedulable loads, which are used at some points in time, usually once a day.
- Flexible loads, like water heaters and air conditioning units, are only used when needed.
A consumer can apply the demand-side response to the control of flexible loads in their house. Since they are not used all through the day, they act as virtual batteries. This power gets channelled elsewhere when they are not in use. So, for example, when the weather does not encourage the residents of a house to use the water heating system, they can decline the power supply meant for that purpose.
Technologies Aiding Consumer Demand-Side Response
Certain technologies have been developed and would continue to emerge to achieve the goals of consumer demand-side response. Simply put, they are used for various functions and carry out specific roles to balance the grids.
- Current regulators such as fuses, limiters, and breakers are necessary to moderate the current flowing in or out of a system at a time.
- Distributed intelligent load controllers use artificial intelligence techniques to regulate and manage electricity load in a building.
- Meters – conventional and prepaid meters – are used traditionally to monitor power consumption rate, usage, and units for the sake of payment according to usage.
- Improved metering systems with centralized communication provide two-way communication, inform the consumer of how much power has been used, and help them make decisions. These decisions border around how much power to pay for and use.
The Hive Platform Flexibility Manager Module has an intelligent system used for effective consumer demand-side response. As a result, consumers do not have to be concerned with the activities involved in shifting loads because advanced devices with this technology carry them out.
What the Future Holds for Consumer Demand-Side Response
The advantages businesses get while performing the demand-side responses are more than the disadvantages. Homes can also be a part of this without having to use conventional methods. Smart technologies will continue to get developed and improved till almost all homes become partakers in demand-side response.
The same way advanced metering infrastructures are taking over the metering systems, more people would be able to participate in demand-side response when the available technologies are adopted on a large scale by the grid operators. With advanced grids becoming more used soon, it would aid demand-side response. That way, we can eliminate power outages, and renewable energy would be more appreciated.
Engaging consumers of electricity will only be possible with appropriate communication between them and the suppliers of power. Consumers can make their preferences virtually when necessary or at the initial stages of installation. Also, due to the flexibility introduced in the recent technologies, they can make changes at any point in time.
The trend of energy usage from various energy sources in Spain tells that a revolution is growing. Merely looking at how development has moved in Spain, we see clearly that the increased consumption of energy has called for increased power generation over the years. In 2011, only 249.7TWh of 276.8TWh of the energy produced in Spain was consumed, and it was still a large amount.
Spain is currently populated by 47.1 million people, and each citizen relies on energy for their activities. Spain is the sixth-largest energy consumer in Europe and mostly has to import fuel. This is a result of the lack of abundant petroleum resources.
Generally, fossil fuel, wind, solar, nuclear, and hydroelectric energy sources are actively utilized in Spain. However, Spain is one of the countries that has started working actively to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Right from the early 2000s, Spain has been making efforts to focus more on renewable energy. While this is major because of the adverse effects of fossil fuels on the environment, it has also brought advancements in energy management and proper utilization.
The Growth of Renewable Energy in Spain.
To date, Spain keeps making progress in the production and use of renewable energy. For a country that used to import a lot of coal and release subsidies for the cause, the new changes have a great impact on the economy. Some highlights in the trend of events relating to renewable energy in Spain are listed below.
- The global recession in 2008 significantly reduced the power generation rate in Spain by 11%, yet the market keeps bouncing back.
- Significant progress has been made in the generation of power from renewable energy. On barely comparing 2016 and last year, we see the difference is clear. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, renewable energy generation in 2020 was 43.6% of gross electricity generation, which is an improvement from the 39% produced in 2016. In the newsletter by the Spanish grid operator – Red Electrica de Espana – it was recorded that this was the highest recorded so far.
- Wind energy has become a major part of the renewable energy sector, but solar photovoltaics are still coming up, despite the vastness of solar resources. Last year (2020), the reduction in overall power demand did not stop renewable energy sources from flourishing.
The Challenges Facing Renewable Energy Policies in Spain
Spain had set a target in 2014 to be met for renewable energy by 2020: 42.6% of total electricity generated. Moreover, in 2018, the goal has been increased to 70% by 2030. Consequently, the renewable energy regulations in Spain also say that emissions must be reduced by 20%.
Even with all of these bright sides, a major challenge to the effective use and implementation of renewable energy in Spain is the lack of resources, successive change in governments, and so much reliance on government as regards renewable energy. As governments change, policies have changed.
Despite the situation, the European Union approved a support scheme earlier this year to support energy-intensive companies in Spain. This scheme, which is set to run till December 2022, is a great investment. Their government would carry out more projects, and renewable energy will be of great benefit to the energy status of Spain. This was done under EU state aid, and it is truly of great help.
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects and Initiatives in Spain.
These projects reflect a deep commitment to development and sustainability. Solar and wind power generation have the highest percentage of renewable energy in Spain. Some examples of projects and initiatives on each (solar and wind power) are highlighted below.
1. Total Solar Project in Spain
Total Energies is planning to thrive on the promising solar market in Spain. Total is currently planning to enter the solar market via partnerships. Two partners have agreed on the two gigawatts (2GW) solar projects – Powertis and Solarbay Renewable Energy. This project would make a great impact on the renewable energy sector of Spain.
The partnership between Total Solar International and Powertis is a 65%-35% one that would need Powertis to bring a pipeline of 800MW. This project started last year. Also, Total is obtaining all 1.2GW portfolio of projects by Solarbay. The projects are all to end by the latest 2023.
2. Wind Power Generation by Various Companies – Enel Green Power’s Wind Farm
Certain suppliers of wind energy in Spain (Gamesa Eólica, Alstom Wind, Acciona Energy, Iberdrolla, MTorres, and the rest) are still going strong in their operations. As of 2015, Spain became the fifth biggest wind power producer in the world. Producing up to 48,118 GWh of power from wind turbines that year, which formed 19% of the total power generated.
Enel Green Power is currently building a wind farm in Spain with an investment of €181 million ($220 million). This project would feature 43 wind turbines and can generate up to 471GWh of clean energy. The project aims to meet one of the major goals of renewable energy development – reducing carbon emissions. Consequently, when this project comes fully up by next year as we expect, it will offset up to 385,505 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is a big one for the progress of renewable energy in Spain.
For a study period of 2020-2026, experts have it that the CAGR of the renewable energy market in Spain would be more than 6%. This is a result of encouraging government policies and the need to reduce climate-damaging emissions.
Solar power installations are projected to be up to 30GW by 2030. This would be significant in moving renewable energy in Spain forward. Also, the market of offshore wind power has remained untapped and would give opportunities in the next ten years.
Optimistically, another projection for Spain is the tendency to outdo the predictions for renewable energy additions. Argus’ monitoring of proposed wind projects envisions a higher level of wind power generation in a few years.
Spain has come a long way and can fight through its challenges for the sake of improving renewable energy. From the generation of power to utilization, the energy stakeholders in Spain need to maximize available resources and smart grid technologies to meet up with the bright future catching up with the rest of the world.
Electric vehicles come with a lot of advantages. Emission-free, efficient, and optionally rechargeable, as well as being an amazing transportation means. V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) technology allows plug-in electric vehicles to interact with power grids and supply the grids with excess energy in batteries. The idea of Vehicle-to-grid has existed since the beginning of the twenty-first century, precisely in 1997. The future of V2G technology ties its probability with that of the use of electric vehicles.
I was surprised to find that experts worldwide have scepticism about how feasible V2G technology would be in the future. However, technology is never exactly accepted by all and sundry at the point of inception. The future of V2G technology is still bright as the development of smart grids technologies and the production of PEVs (Plug-in Electrical Vehicles) would tend to stimulate it.
Like science, it would thrive when it works according to the hypothesis and proves itself when it is accepted. I still see the trend of V2G technology taking over the world of plug-in electric vehicles.
Growth and Trends in V2G Technology
In a book by Dr Lance Noel and three others (Vehicle-to-grid, a sociotechnical transition beyond electrical mobility), they highlighted the usefulness of V2G in the electric vehicle industry as one which has the potential of moving the industry forward. This is due to their point of view that V2G technology is an excellent motivation for the EV (Electrical Vehicles) market. I cannot as well agree less. The V2G technology market is growing at a fast pace.
Currently, precedence research tells that the global vehicle-to-grid technology market would have attained up to $17.27 billion by 2027. This was predicted from the high rate of growth of EV charging stations all around the world. In 2019, Europe had the largest share of revenue in the Vehicle-to-grid market with about 36% share.
As many companies are investing more in research and development, I have also observed that the growth rate in EVSEs – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment revenue has increased globally to up to 80%. I relate with the positive predictions of the future of V2G technology from these trends. They give a better platform for the connection between grids and electric vehicles.
Recent Developments in V2G Technology
Coming down the time train from various industrial ages, it is evident that the current age – artificial intelligence age – speaks of a smart age. The concept of smart cities integrates smart homes, smart vehicles, smart grids, and all smart devices in one. Various attempts have been made to develop the technologies that aid the approaching of smart cities. A major key player among these technologies is the electric vehicle. For continuity, V2G technology has continually been researched and is hoped to come closer to reality.
Some remarkable developments in V2G technology I have observed in the past five years include:
- Development of smart grids for electricity and load management – This allows for regulations that would aid apt control in the charging and discharging of electric batteries. EV owners can push the power from the batteries back to the grid and vice versa (in the normal charging situation – G2V, Grid-to-Vehicle). Electric utilities already maximize power by using smart grids, which is a step toward promoting V2G technology.
- Development of batteries and charging systems with the bidirectional operation – In September 2020, Tesla unveiled a new EV battery design that allows for adaptation to the V2G technology. However, it was given that the production of new batteries will start around 2022 and 2023.
Despite speculations about when it would start being applied, this development gives a picture of readiness for change. These new batteries cost about 56% less than the former batteries and store up to 380 Wh/kg. The capacity increases, and the cost decreases. The use of stationary storage facilities poses threats and has its advantages. Yet, we should explore the concept of mobile power storage by virtue of the V2G technology. I believe we can all do more rather than box ourselves with the norm.
Applications in the Future of V2G Technology
The application of V2G technology is major to power grids. This can then be applied in the regular diverse applications. Consequently, the best way to maximize V2G technology is by utilizing it alongside smart grids.
We can apply V2G technology to power homes as well. It can serve as a service that is more consumer-controlled. The same way it is connected to public grids or community grids, your EV can be channelled to provide the power needed from time to time in your homes.
A solar-powered car can provide power to your home when the battery is full or the grid during high demand using the V2G technology. Its application in this area is even essential. This is because temporary storage and proper control of excess power are necessary to avoid fluctuations. What better use than to channel the stored energy to grids where it is needed. The same goes for cars with rechargeable batteries and those with inbuilt generators. V2G technology makes power distribution and production better.
The Next Ten Years – Engineering Advancements to Come in the Future of V2G Technology
A two-sided energy flow idea gives a picture of what the future holds for V2G technology – flow between energy generation and distribution corporations and consumers. V2G technology is on the verge of becoming more widely accepted as electric vehicles are rapidly increasing worldwide. Electric vehicles recorded a 40% increase in yearly sales in 2019 and have continued to grow. To combat the issue of peak demand, you can expect V2G technology to be developed practically and increasingly adopted before 2030.
As technology continues to advance, I expect that batteries will get charged faster, leading to more demand from the grids. As a result, there would be a greater need to balance grid systems, and V2G technology can address most of the problems.
The world would need renewable energy and power sources more than before due to apparent reasons – climate change effects and gas emissions from fossil-fuel-generated power, consequently impacting the grids and their management. V2G technology would contribute to intervening aptly to avert consequences, and I look forward to its full utilization.
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.