17 October 2017 2017 01:00 PM GMT

Grids Integration, Energy Networks Boosted By Distributed Generation Growth

What is Distributed Generation? Distributed, or embedded, generation is that which is connected to distribution networks in the UK, with the vast majority being renewable generation.  At the end of 2016, there was around 29 GW of generating capacity connected to distribution networks, more than double the amount which existed just four years earlier. Distributed generation installation is getting wide attention in the restructured electricity regime, where there is a larger uncertainty in demand and supply.

Since the turn of the century, renewable energy has continued to develop at ever increasing rates, with remarkable growth seen since the start of this decade.  Around a quarter of all electricity produced annually now comes from renewable generation sources.

Investment in the renewables revolution has happened due to many factors: government policy support, innovation, technological progress and cost reductions across the industry.

The technologies adopted in Distributed Generation involve small gas turbines, micro-turbines, fuel cells, wind and solar energy, biomass, small hydropower, etc. Distributed Generation is either isolated and supplying the local loads, or integrated, supplying energy to the remaining electric system.

Distributed generation takes place on two levels: local and end-point level. Local level distribution generation usually comprise renewable energy technologies that are site specific. Local level distribution generation tends to be smaller and less centralised than conventional plants. At the end-point level, distribution generation can work as isolated islands of electric energy production or they can operate as small contributors to the power grid.

The rating of distribution generation can range from a few kilowatts up to 100 MW. Some distribution generation technologies can produce electrical energy almost as efficiently as large central power plants at a compatible price with less environmental impacts.

With this continued increase and the need to integrate renewable energy sources comes the need for a smarter and more flexible power system, the emphasis in the industry being on the migration towards a smart, decentralised system. This smart grid vision defines the distribution network of the future, with new technology, automation, communications, policies and market structure all combining to improve network capacity, reliability, efficiency and overall sustainability.

The turn of the year saw the launch of the Open Networks Project which aims to lay the foundations of a smart energy grid in the UK.  The UK’s electricity network operators, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the energy regulator Ofgem and many other key stakeholders will collaborate on this project to enable the UK’s energy networks to move from their traditional role and to act as smart platforms that enable a whole range of new energy technologies that generate, consume and manage electricity to function together.

A major component of a flexible power system will be the capability to store energy.  Whilst this has traditionally been done using large-scale, centralised pumped hydro schemes, emphasis has shifted to other technologies with the primary focus currently on battery energy storage. Storage provides a larger market for local balancing, increased penetration of distributed generation and the capability to provide ancillary services to the network.

With the aforementioned changes in network structure, there also comes the need for change in the companies who control them.  The planned transition from Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to Distribution Systems Operators (DSOs) is currently a hot topic in the industry.

Whilst DNOs currently control and maintain the distribution networks, under the DSO model the operator will have a role in actively managing local electricity generation and use, securely operating and developing an active distribution system comprising networks, demand, generation and other flexible distributed energy resources. This will enable competitive access to markets and optimal use of distributed resources on distribution networks.

For energy industry professionals wishing to get up to speed on distributed generation, the IET’s annual established (since 2003) comprehensive course on distributed generation is available for either individuals or teams and takes place on 7-9 November in Glasgow, Scotland.

February 5th 2018
EV, Renewables See CO2 Emissions Plateau By 2030, But Far From 2 Degree Pathway

Major shifts in the global energy landscape, particularly related to electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy sources, mean that MEI expects global CO₂emissions to plateau by 2030. However, increased global energy demand means emissions will remain at more than double the level required for a 2 degrees Celsius warming pathway. Ole Rolser, Associate Partner and Solution Leader at MEI, comments: “Despite the significant momentum around EVs and renewable energy sources taking an increasing share of the power market, to realise the 2 degrees pathway scenario, we’d have to see much broader, much more disruptive change than what we’re seeing now.”

February 5th 2018
BASF Turn Hazardous Waste Into Clean Energy At World’s Largest Chemical Complex

Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has announced that BASF has opened a state-of-the-art control room equipped with Honeywell Experion® technology at its waste incineration complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The plant’s six incinerators process hazardous waste that cannot be reused or recycled and convert it into steam and electrical power. The clean, reusable energy is channelled back into BASF’s production processes, helping the company save resources and reduce emissions. “Thanks to excellent cooperation with Honeywell, our 60-year-old plant now has one of the most modern control rooms in the world,” said Dr Karin Flore, head of waste incineration, BASF.

February 5th 2018
European Parliament Gives A Resounding Vote In Favour Of Clean Energy In Europe

European lawmakers have called for a renewable energy target of 35% for 2030 – rather than the 27% which the European Commission proposed in 2016. The MEPs have now backed measures substantially raising the European Union’s clean-energy ambitions. By 2030, more than one-third of energy consumed in the EU should be from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. The measures are intended to help cut carbon dioxide emissions. The EU is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States, releasing about 10% of global emissions. 


 

   

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