Interoperability is much talked about but has been less practiced. Apparently frustrated by the difficulty of integrating a set of disparate systems, Duke Energy took matters into their own hands and has taken the lead in developing the Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB) as an open architecture to allow distributed energy resources and existing grid equipment to interact with each other. [Duke Energy Microgrid Proves Interoperability] The goal is to build out an optimally operating grid with distributed intelligence and resources. With the support of 25 willing vendors – under the name Coalition of the Willing – interoperability of the framework has been demonstrated in a microgrid reference implementation, opening the way for its further development and ultimately commercialization.
Demand side response is playing an increasingly important role in managing demand and thereby optimizing the use of generation resources. Indeed, in the UK National Grid expects to meet up to half of its grid balancing requirements from the demand side by 2020. Towards this goal Open Energi, targetting big industry, is installing its demand technology on bitumen tanks and pumps at 29 sites, which should deliver around 2MW of flexible capacity to National Grid. [UK’s Big Industry Plays a More Active Role on the Grid]
The energy transformation is bringing a lot of new challenges to utilities. Complex and wide ranging, it demands skills that may not be present in the company. Above all it requires a holistic approach, in which every aspect of the business is analyzed to assess the most viable and appropriate solutions, S&C Electric Company’s Steve Stapleton told us in an interview. [Holistic Analysis Creating a Viable Business Case for Utilities]
Future investment requirements for the energy sector appear with regularity and this time the focus is on the ‘fast growing economies’, with Bain & Company predicting these countries will need to double their investments in electricity from about US$240 billion annually to US$495 billion annually during the period to 2040. This corresponds to US$13 trillion in total and an outspending of OECD countries by 2-to-1. [Capital Imports To Bypass Fossil Fuel Imports] Private capital will be essential to meet these figures but to unlock that, these economies will first need to improve the policy and regulatory conditions for power sector investment.
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