Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Distributed Energy

 

Aug 3, 2017

DERs include all kinds of hardware that the utility may not necessarily own directly—solar panels, natural gas-fired microturbines, stationary batteries, and alternative cooling. Demand-response schemes, where a grid operator shifts electricity consumer use (usually through incentives) away from high-demand times, are also considered DERs.

Planning for DERs makes grid management trickier than it was when a company simply built a huge new plant and connected a power line to it. Without a lot of data, it’s hard to know what kinds of energy resources will have the most impact economically and environmentally and what will be most cost-effective for utilities. But a trio of researchers from Stanford University is attempting to make this planning easier for utilities and policy makers to solve. 

The program, called “ReMatch,” uses smart grid data to match groups of consumers with different kinds of distributed resources based on the customers' energy use and the ability to construct resources in that area (like solar panels, batteries, and so on). If a business district uses a lot of power around mid-day, for example, it might be worthwhile to offer incentives for that area to install solar panels. If a row of restaurants is open until 9pm, perhaps offering those businesses a solar-plus-battery option would be more cost-effective.

The modeling program can also break down customer energy use by the hour. The software can, for example, pick out customers who use a lot of solar in the morning and customers who use a lot of solar in the afternoon. The utility can then use that information to balance the enrollment of each kind of customer, thereby evening out the demands on the grid.

The researchers applied ReMatch to a 10,000-customer sample in California, using real hourly data gleaned from smart meters. The model found that constructing DER infrastructure in a targeted way reduced the Levelized Cost of Electricity (that is, the present value of the resource over its lifetime costs) by nearly 50 percent. This was, the paper states, due to a dramatic reduction in operating costs incurred by the utility.

By offering detailed data on intermittency, customer demand, and operating costs, utilities can take a targeted approach to incentivizing DER infrastructure, which will help them meet renewables goals and reduce costs associated with indiscriminate buildout. “[O]ur results suggest that in order for DER infrastructure to become a reality we must design smart and targeted policies, programs, and incentives that facilitate the balancing of consumer type enrollment in DER plans and programs with the existing grid,” the researchers concluded. “Under such smart policies, the optimal mix of consumers could be selected to become part of emerging utility models of organized ‘prosumer’ community groups to preserve the cost effectiveness of model-derived DER infrastructure plans.”

Written by Megan Geuss - 7/18/2017

Originally published in 

Nature Energy, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nenergy.2017.112  (About DOIs).

 Electrician Forum Brought to You by Schneider Electric             

The Electrician Forum is a monthly column that provides valuable information to electricians and electrical contractors on current industry trends and concerns. 

Schneider ElectricSponsored by Schneider Electric

In this issue: 

Quite simply put if you feel that job site costing and quote development are a lot of work, you are right! To properly assess a job and estimate the required work time, product costs and various other expenses can take more time than is often feasible for a small company. You need to be spending your time completing projects, which can become difficult if you are spending your hours doing cost analysis. We learned this first hand in last month’s edition of the Electrician Forum when Steve Beeby of Beehive Electric discussed the balance required to own and operate an electrical contracting company.

read more...

Watch a portion of the interview conducted by Electrical Industry Canada with Steve Beeby of Beehive Electric

 

Fluke Hammon Healy

As our population grows and consumers continue to rely on technology for both essentials and comfort, the need for power quality has become vital. Fluke is a leader in this field, offering power quality training seminars, as well as employing power quality specialists with years of industry experience.

This month’s personal profile is a double feature of two of Fluke’s senior power quality specialists, Hilton Hammond and Frank Healy.

Hilton Hammond has been with Fluke since 1995, and in 2013 moved into his current position as Power Quality Business Unit Manager. He has a deep and thorough knowledge of power quality and related electrical instrumentation. 

Frank Healy, Power Quality Product Marketing Manager at Fluke since 2006, has been in the industry for well over three decades. He globally manages Fluke’s power quality products, including measuring instruments and precision power analyzers.

Read More



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