The sun doesn’t shine all the time, nor does the wind blow with consistency. Technologies that harvest energy from those renewable sources thus require an effective storage mechanism. At NIWeek, Carlos Coe, chief executive officer of Xtreme Power, reported on grid-level energy storage projects during a smart grid panel discussion.
Earlier this year, Xtreme Power, developer and manufacturer of the Dynamic Power Resource large-scale energy storage and power systems, commissioned a 15MW system at wind energy provider First Wind’s 30MW Kahuku Wind project on Hawaii’s Oahu island. “The project marks Xtreme Power’s largest commercial DPR currently in operation and is the largest battery energy storage system integrated on a wind farm in North America,” said Coe.
Alison Silverstein, project director at the North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI), elaborated at the NIWeek panel on the role of synchrophasors, which are precise grid measurements available from phasor measurement units (PMUs). “Phasor technology offers great benefit for integrating renewable and intermittent resources, [supporting] automated controls for transmission and demand response, increasing transmission system throughput, and improving system modeling and planning,” Silverstein said.
PMU measurements are taken at high speed (typically 30 observations per second, compared with one observation every 4 seconds using conventional technology). Each measurement is time-stamped according to a common time reference. Time stamping allows synchrophasors from different utilities to be time-aligned (or synchronized) and combined, providing a precise and comprehensive view of the entire interconnection. “Synchrophasors enable a better indication of grid stress and can be used to trigger corrective actions to maintain reliability,” said Silverstein.
NASPI is a collaborative effort among the DOE; North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC); and North American electric utilities, vendors, consultants, federal and private researchers, and academics. NASPI activities are funded by DOE and NERC.
This month, the US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology and the European Union’s Smart Grid Coordination Group jointly announced their intention to work together on smart grid standards development, emphasizing common goals and areas of focus. The collaboration is meant to ensure that smart grid standards on both continents have as much in common as possible, so that devices and systems that interact with the grids can be designed in similar fashion.
Toward a smarter transmission grid
The following tech enablers are required for deployment of a smart electric transmission grid:
- Integrated communications across the grid
- Advanced methods of control
- Devices that sense, meter, and measure electric power parameters
- Analytical software and hardware to aid decision-making
The next generation of the electrical grid will need to take full advantage of innovative materials, nanotechnology, superconducting technologies, advanced computing, parallel processing, and fast simulation. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is at work on a suite of sensor technologies to address transmission applications.
At the heart of the emerging smart grid, according to EPRI, will be a network of communication devices that will more precisely monitor grid parameters and provide a path toward an “aware” network capable of “self-diagnostics.”
The challenge is to plan and coordinate the steps that will safely, reliably, and securely move the industry toward that goal.
This story was originally posted by EE Times.