One of the biggest surprises of EPRI's seven-year Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative was the positive impact volt-var control had on participants' distribution systems -- from integrating renewable energy to impacts on energy and demand, to gains in efficiency and planning.
The goal of the Communication and Control Testbed is to introduce the flexibility of real-time analytics and control into the legacy grid process -- which relies on a central-station architecture not designed to interconnect distributed and renewable power sources such as roof-top solar and wind turbines -- to increase efficiencies and ensure that power is generated more accurately and reliably to match demand.
The microgrid will be an energy-efficient DC microgrid that connects rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays on a 380-volt DC bus to form a DC building grid. The project could potentially allow commercial buildings to become zero-net-energy.
ComEd has helped introduce legislation into the Illinois General Assembly that will help build the smart grid infrastructure in the state.
Andres Carvallo and John Cooper have published the second edition of The Advanced Smart Grid: Edge Power Driving Sustainability, placing more emphasis on practical guidance and providing a specific focus on the disruptive impact of distributed energy resources (DER).
Making power grids more resilient has become a primary focus for governments and utilities across the nation. A handful of states on the Eastern seaboard are moving forward with state investments to bolster resilience, but so far, they report mixed results. The states now offering incentives and program support for community resilience microgrids include Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Although most utilities view microgrids as a threat, a small but growing number view utility distribution microgrids (UDM, a microgrid they own and operate) as the next logical extension of their efforts to deploy smart grid technology.
The regulatory landscape for the energy industry is changing dramatically. State by state, and most prominently in New York with their Reforming the Energy Vision (NY REV) initiative, public utility commissions are grappling with a movement toward distributed energy models that revolve around consumer choice, two-way communication, the integration of renewables and improved energy efficiency. The details vary from state to state, but the underlying challenge is the same: Utilities must shift the way they deliver power and meet the needs of their customers.
Raytheon Company, NREL, and other partners have completed a test of an off-grid microgrid system that utilizes stored and high penetration renewable energy, which will be fielded at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar later this year.
The fact that cities need better strategies and investment plans to protect them from power outages in the face of severe weather events is nothing new, but two new reports from Clean Energy Group present new technologies these cities could turn to for protection.