Integrating renewables without ruining the economics of grid expansion (DistribuTECH 2014)

Published: Thu 23 Jan 2014
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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Utilities around the world are working hard to integrate substantial new renewable resources onto existing power grids. However, renewable integration poses challenges to distribution grids, such as fluctuating power production, unbalanced peak loads and low demand times. Furthermore, most grids are not designed to easily accommodate power generated by customers or third parties. These issues can pose risks to expected returns on major utility investments.

In Wachtendonk, Germany, the municipal utility of Krefeld on the Lower Rhine has partnered with Siemens to develop next-generation smart grid technology. Such projects can ensure that when smart grids are rolled out on a large scale, they'll be sufficiently reliable to support the demands of power generation as well as consumption.

"Due to German government subsidies, the degree of solar and wind installations have reached a point where they might displace a conventional power plant. But this shift to renewables is causing major problems on various grid sections," said Bruno Opitsch, Senior Key Expert for Distribution/Feeder Automation, Siemens Smart Grid. "It can cause overload situations and power quality problems, and also cause grid extension projects to have an unacceptable return on investment."

At DistribuTECH 2014, Opitsch will discuss Siemens' studies of the Wachtendonk project, as well as the new grid section around Straelen, Germany. These projects are already showing benefits, and are on track to achieve a 20-30% ROI. They also are expected to reduce utility penalties for outages or brownouts, affirm that grid automation can be handled easily, and reduce maintenance requirements.

AT DISTRIBUTECH: Tuesday Jan. 28, 3-4:30 pm. Opitsch will discuss the German project in his talk, Network Studies at Wachtendonk: Eyes in the Power Grid, which will be part of this session: Distributed Energy Resource Integration in Electric Distribution Grids.

More about Siemens at DistribuTECH 2014.

Read more at Smart Grid Watch Blog!