Integrating Renewable Energy to Existing Utility Infrastructure Requires Smart Real-Time Energy Management Solution
The use of renewable energy is not new. More than 150 years ago, wood, which is one form of biomass, supplied up to 90 percent of our energy needs. As the use of coal, petroleum, and natural gas expanded, the world became less reliant on wood as an energy source. Today, we are looking again at clean renewable resources such as wind, solar thermal, photovoltaic and geothermal to help meet our growing energy needs. However, without energy storage device technology catching up with advances in renewable energy solutions, one energy problem will spawn another. While an ideal way to save energy on your favorite portable device, “Just-In-Time” (JIT) Energy produced and delivered by the power grid has to be used right away and no large scale storage devices exist to utilize this energy under emergency conditions. By adding distributed renewable energy sources, the problem of JIT energy will be compounded by the addition of “Unpredictable Energy”, such as wind and solar. Without a means to predict, control, and manage these sources we will begin placing additional burden on the already aging electric infrastructure.
In order for the mixture of conventional and green energy to succeed, i.e. “Plug-N-Play” convenience, utilities are going to need a proactive and smart energy management solution that would effectively manage distributed generation while maintaining reliability and stability of the electrical system.
Any renewable energy management system will require some degree of Merlin’s magic to be able to predict the behavior of renewable sources such as wind and solar. It would then use this prediction to estimate power injection into the utility and communicate it to the utility such that existing power management techniques, such as generation control, would be able to continue managing the overall power grid.
Such a renewable energy management system would also be able to model energy storage devices in extensive detail in order to effectively maintain level power injection into the utility. This will alleviate some of the burden from power management systems as they constantly try to manage supply and demand in the power grid.