By Mehrdad Boloorchi
The basic purpose of the smart grid, as an evolving concept, is to regulate the behavior and the actions of the consumers connected to it. Smart meter is the main tool that is supposed to enable the consumers to individually control and manage their consumption patterns, and is supposed to result in efficient use of electric energy and other resources. This change is expected to improve the power plant load factors, therefore reducing the carbon footprint, as well as improving the available transfer capability of the transmission system.
Further evolvement of the smart grid concept is to establish high speed interactions between the power system operators, the generation owners, the transmission owners, the distribution owners, and the consumers via embedding the intelligent electronic devices and utilizing two-way communication systems. The necessity for this development is in order to increase the penetration of alternative energy supply sources in both the distribution and the transmission systems and the requirement for the efficient management of the grid. To fulfill this step, requires to improve the security of the grid.
At this stage, in fact, it requires the implementation of the interconnected smart grids to operate effectively. Therefore, it is required to be regulated as well. Thoughtful implementation of this step can help enhance the electricity retail markets as well.
Effective operation of the interconnected smart grids, however, requires the standardization of some specific aspects of the smart grids that need to be defined thoroughly. This task seems to be a hard process, because of the evolving nature of the smart grids.
Implementation of the interconnected smart grids, therefore, is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of power system by improving the power plants’ load factor, enhance the management of the power system with high penetration of alternative energy sources, and boost the electricity retail markets. Obviously, the smart grids shall be able to support new types of demand such as battery energy storage systems, during their charging.
Despite of the several cases of smart grid developments within the last few years; there is not sufficient data to support that smart grids are providing all the above services to the generator, the transmission and the distribution system owners, the power system operators, the consumers and the retailers. Additional measures seem to be required and additional methods are to be developed to assess how smart grids are meeting up with their promising goals.
Developing a detailed mathematical model of the interconnected smart grids and simulating all of the above scenarios, may be a useful approach to demonstrate their capabilities.
The definition of the required regulations and the timely development of the required standards seem to be instrumental for the development of the interconnected smart grids.
Mehrdad Boloorchi is currently the discipline leader of the power group in Stantec Consulting Ltd. He is an engineering leader with a career-long record of promotion, stakeholder satisfaction, team building, and strategic insight. Mehrdad has extensive experience in power systems expansion planning, power systems studies and engineering, and design of power and process plant projects. He is an expert in power system analysis and has a broad knowledge of the behavior of electrical power systems and apparatus during both normal and abnormal operation conditions. He is also an expert in protection and control systems engineering and design for electrical systems and apparatus. He graduated from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran with a degree in electrical engineering.