Friday, February 10, 2012

Andres Carvallo's Top 10 Smart Grid Trends for 2012

As you will read in my new book “The Advanced Smart Grid” –  – you will get to understand the beginning, evolution, and current journey of grid automation.  Additionally, you will get to discover the coming future to a utility near you soon.  In this post I am sharing my top 10 smart grid trends and the pages in the book the touch first on each trend.  These trends are already on their way at different levels of inception and maturity.  They will become more evident in 2012 and most will be in full force by 2015.

1) Advanced Grid Infrastructure (AGI) – (page 63) –
AGI follows Advanced Metering Infrastructure (a.k.a AMI), with real-time system information and control to integrate advanced metering with Distribution Automation functionality such as control of capacitor banks, switches, transformers, feeders, distribution/substation management, as well as Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resources system integration and management (e.g., inverters, solar PV, Electric Vehicles, Energy Storage, and Smart Appliances).

2) Deliberate Design and Planning – (page 90) –
Advanced Smart Grid architecture design starts with customer use cases, followed by process innovation, application selection, data flow design, and infrastructure design.  Advanced Smart Grid architectures will emerge as a mandate requirement and best practice across the globe.

3) Smart Grid Architecture Framework (SGAF) – (page 197) –
An SGAF is a set of standards, best practices, rules, and methodologies to build a Smart Grid Architecture.  Smart Grid Architectures will need to answer the how to questions of better grid reliability, safety, interoperability and security in a more smart device and distributed generation rich world where residential and commercial customers also evolve from passive customers to proactive prosumers (i.e. producers and consumers at the same time).

4) Smart Grid Optimization Engine (SGOE) – (page 200) –
Like a utility network modeling tool, the SGOE enables dynamic, predictive balancing of Volt/VAR levels with real-time data inputs from multiple devices.  The main differences reside in the SGOE is built for massive scalability and interoperability of devices from many vendors, using multiple networking technologies, and collecting huge amounts of data to feed customer, operational, reporting, and regulatory needs and services offered by utilities and/or new energy service providers.

5) Predictive Volt/VAR Control (PVVC) – (page 193) –
The ability to anticipate the ratio between power (Volts) and reactive power (VARs) on the grid to maintain grid balance will become a bigger need to monitor, control, and manage as distributed resources emerge on the edge of the grid.  Line loses today average 2% to 3% of the energy consumed.  This is an important new efficiency strategy to pursue that helps reduce our ever growing fuel expenses.

6) Dynamic Modulation – (page 192) –
A new strategy for fine tuning the distribution grid and the edge resources within it in real time will emerge.  Dynamic Modulation will enable utilities to better manage grid frequency and voltage levels with sensors for better demand management, load management, quality of service, and enhanced reliability.

7) Energy Municipal Utility District (eMUD) – (page 213) –
eMUDs will emerge in a similar fashion than water MUDs became a viable business model.  Distributed Energy Resource advances such as Distributed Generation (e.g. solar PV), Community Energy Storage, and aggregated Demand Response,  will become the basis for eMUDs to emerge and provide new local energy options for residential and commercial customers with or without connection to the utility grid.  I expect electric utilities to be proactive in supporting this trendsby offering new services for a monthly fee such as back-up power, Volt/VAR modulation, etc.

8) Resource Islanding – (page 190) –
This new strategy will become a dynamic mechanism to manage the voluntary or involuntary off-grid functioning of a premise, community, or local area that has the capability to provide power for itself, or export power back to the grid.  Resource Islanding will be required for managing dynamic Distributed Energy Resources on the distribution grid.

9) Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading (P2PET) – (page 212) –
P2PET will enable wheeling of power from the edge when Distributed Generation (e.g. solar PV), energy storage, and Demand Response are integrated within the Advanced Smart Grid and the utility adopts a Distribution Systems Operator (DSO) role for formally coordinated distributed resources within its service territory.

10) Energy Roaming – (page 208) –
Accounting transactions within a utility service territory to allow you to charge your electricity back to your master account regardless of where you charge will be the first incarnation of energy roaming.  Once utilities enable the systems to manage such programs the next phase will start to happen as well.  In this second phase, utilities will offer intra-utility energy roaming by enabling their back offices for Electric Vehicle charging that decouple energy service from the commodity energy sale, making the service open to be provided by third parties will emerge as a new viable business model.  The proliferation of deregulated and competitive retailers will start to transform energy services across the globe.

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