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.