Late last week, smart grid member companies from the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) met with U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) to discuss a comprehensive energy approach that supports domestic production of both renewable and fossil fuel resources to help the country achieve energy independence.
Virtual power plants (VPP)--which combine independent resources into a network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of DER-based services, bringing distributed generation (DG) and demand response (DR) together to provide a synergistic sharing of grid resources-- are expected to play an increasingly important role in the future of the power sector, according to Navigant Research.
To accommodate further growth, PG&E is piloting new voltage control technology as a smart grid pilot project to help manage the two-way flow of energy onto the grid. Yet another smart grid pilot will assess the costs and benefits of using energy storage to reduce grid costs and facilitate the growth of renewable generation. Finally, PG&E's Demand Response Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Pilot program is evaluating the feasibility of utilizing PEV batteries-- both when they are in the vehicle and when they are removed-- to provide grid stabilization services.
The energy partnership between National Grid and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is designed to develop integrated solutions that will drive economic growth in the Buffalo Niagara region and position all partners as global energy leaders and represents a first of its kind energy innovation between a global utility and a community-engaged medical and technology park.
North America continues to move the market forward with commercial and demonstration grid-scale energy storage projects while Western Europe-- Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom in particular-- is leading the market with utility-scale advanced battery and power-to-gas installations and announcements, Navigant reports.
Utilities are making some very interesting moves, particularly in the distributed energy resources space. Most of this activity is occurring via utilities' unregulated subsidiaries, but there are also interesting developments on the regulated side.
HVDC allows power transmission through cables over longer distances and higher capacities compared to AC transmission, but the immature nature of offshore HVDC technologies can cause uncertainties and increased risk exposure for stakeholders and can make projects complicated and costly.
Consumers in the U.K. with solar photovoltaic (PV) technology are often too focused on the financial benefits of selling the electricity they generate back to the grid when they could be using more of it themselves, according to a study by the University of Durham, as part of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) project.
Collaborating with a group of science and technology partners, including Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Denver, ComEd is taking a lead role in positioning interconnected microgrids as viable energy systems that help address ongoing challenges of national energy security, sustainability, and resiliency, as well as positioning Chicago as a hub for energy sustainability and independence.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is seeking between 500 and 800 MW of new, local resources to help replace the power previously provided by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), as well as to address the retirement of older, coastal power plants that use once-through-cooling technology.