HOW ON-SITE ENERGY SOLUTIONS CAN HELP SAVE THE GRID
The traditional power grid is under tremendous pressure. In many places, infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Extreme weather and cybersecurity are constant concerns. These challenges threaten entire communities and businesses, from hospital networks to manufacturing plants and university systems. Technology now offers more solutions than early energy pioneers could’ve fathomed as they designed the central grid some 150 years ago. There are now more ways to support and complement the grid than ever before. It’s time to tap into these innovations.
Some utilities like our own Eversource and National Grid sometimes claim that adding additional variable energy, like renewables, without adding additional natural gas capacity is a recipe for grid unreliability. More than the possibility of brownouts mid-winter, however, is the threat of disruption due to storm events, whether tropical, nor’easter, or snowstorms. Florida Light & Power reportedly spent US$3 billion preparing for Hurricane Irma, and, yet, they still suffered major outages. To the end customer, it doesn’t matter if the outage results from a brownout, or because the utility has an unreliable distribution network.
Spatially distributed renewable energy, sometimes backed by storage, demand response and efficiency measures can solve these problems. ISO-NE reports that their forecast shows flat or lower demand, whether regular or peak, no congestion, and more solar.
New England has been plagued by a growing reliance on natural gas — a problem that was especially exposed during the 2014 polar vortex — but the region’s grid operator said slowing demand growth, with the helped of energy efficiency, is mitigating worries about meeting peak needs.
“The region has reached a turning point in addressing several key challenges to system reliability,” the grid operator said in its annual system planning document. “New England increasingly relies on natural-gas-fired generation, which can expose the region to significant energy supply, reliability, and price issues. … The integration into the New England system of energy efficiency and variable energy resources, including wind and PV, also help address fuel-certainty issues” …
Without new solar and energy efficiency, ISO New England said annual and peak demand would both be rising, at 1% and 1.3% annually, respectively.
(From Utility Dive.)
From Siemens. Like our EV charger: