A Special Issue on Non-Bulk Generation
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By John Kelly and Brian Bunte
Nothing motivates innovators more than being told that something cannot be done. This is especially evident in the electricity supply and distribution utility sector. While some industry spokesmen issue dire warnings on the grid stability dangers – inherent in cases of high penetration by distributed renewable energy, other utilities are making the foundational changes necessary to embrace and thrive in the upcoming future. These foundational changes include aspects of system design, business economics, and the customer-supplier relationship. The advances in the German electricity system provide powerful insights into the changes that can both enable and encourage a sustainable transformation of the United States electricity supply and delivery system.
By Islam Safak Bayram and Ali Tajer
In a number of emerging and growing applications, the batteries of the plug-in vehicles (PEVs) when connected to the grid, homes, or buildings, can provide temporal “buffer” zones that can decouple the time when generation is available and when demand occurs. This buffering is achieved by storing energy during certain periods (e.g., off-peak hours) and feeding it back to the grid when needed. These applications are, collectively, referred to as vehicle-to-X (V2X) services, where X can represent the grid (G), a building (B), a home (H), or other PEVs (V). Developing and promoting widely such V2X applications has two major advantages: the first is that it can enhance the efficiency of grid operations and, second, it can facilitate the mainstream adoption of PEVs.
By Afshin Izadian
Conventional interconnected microgrids have the ability to compensate for the frequency disturbances in a central control unit. However, to realize this service they require full access to all system variables over communication links. With this in mind, it is made clear that the expansion of microgrids introduces an exploding amount of data communicated to the central control unit. This issue is augmented by steep damping factor (response time) variations, since common utilities consist of a diverse blend of slow (such as steam power plants) to fast dynamic (power electronics based) generating systems. Hence, there is a need for an intelligent design of the control unit.
By Daniel Akinyele, Joseph Petinrin, and Lanre Olatomiwa
Part of the UN’s sustainable development plans is to ensure that, by the year 2030, all communities around the world have access to modern energy services. However, in order to realize this goal, a multi-dimensional and practical framework is required that will address the social, technical, economic, environmental and policy concerns. Distributed renewable energy systems have been identified as a viable option for increasing the world’s electricity access rate. Therefore, this article presents the Social, Technical, Economic, Environmental and Policy (STEEP) model as a means for planning and analysing distributed energy technologies. Such a model provides a comprehensive perspective for better understanding of localised power generation for developing countries.