Spending on infrastructure to deliver electricity to American homes and businesses has kept rising over the past 10 years. Utilities representing about 70% of total U.S. electric load spent about $21 billion on capital additions in 2016. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) says investment in transmission infrastructure has kept rising in 2017 and will soon reach a peak at approximately $22.5 billion.
Challenged with the rising contribution of inherently intermittent wind and solar power supply, network operators are investing billions in stabilising their power grids. To anticipate supply/demand patterns and avoid overloaded grids, GreenCom Networks has developed an “Open-innovation Lab” with live data from end-customers. The system links electric cars, PV systems, heat pumps and other energy equipment in Germany and France.
Greensmith Energy, a part of Wärtsilä group, has completed two grid-scale energy storage systems in Texas. Called ‘Texas Waves’, the two 9.9-MW short-duration storage facilities are fed by E.ON’s 249-MW Pyron and the 197-MW Inadale wind farms, both near Roscoe, delivering energy on short notice to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Arenko Group, a leading energy storage systems operator, has selected GE to deliver a 41-MW battery – one of the largest in the UK – to supply power on demand to approximately 100,000 homes. The grid-scale energy storage is designed to enhance efficiency of power transmission, balance renewable energy supply and help reduce customers’ energy bills. To be sited at a strategic location in the Midlands, the battery storage will commence operations in 2018.
Maritime Link, an ABB-built 500-megawatt power link between Canada and the US, has passed a key milestone in testing. The high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector allows for renewable energy, generated in Newfoundland and Labrador to be transmitted to the North American grid in Nova Scotia.
Jan 31 – Ener-Core’s first two 1.75-MW power oxidizers, integrated with Dresser-Rand KG2-3G gas turbines have achieved electrical synchronization with the power grid at the Pacific Ethanol bio-refinery in Stockton, California. The oxidizers are replacing the traditional gas-fired combustion chamber within CHP gas turbines, allowing industry customers to convert their low-quality waste gases directly into clean power, heat and steam.
Facing disruptions on multiple fronts, Europe’s energy companies can harness artificial intelligence to adapt to smaller-scale, distributed electricity generation by active energy “prosumers.” The age of utilities simply selling kilowatt-hours is coming to an end. To remain “relevant,” Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary recommends power providers to become platforms, offering services to improve peoples' lives, as well as helping to regulate supply.
Speed and scope of implementing both grid and off-grid solutions is not fast enough to allow the world’s state leaders reach their common goal of reaching universal electricity access by 2030. To not miss their target, countries need to find innovative ways of integrating decentralized power sources, renewables and scale up demand-side management. Staying optimistic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) deems global electrification by 2030 to be “within reach.”
Action in terms of demand-side response is essential to ensure a smooth and timely clean energy transition. Globally, the theoretical potential of demand-side response today is nearly 4,000 TWh per year, or more than 15% of total electricity demand, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
More than three months after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory on September 20, over 1.5 million Puerto Ricans remain without stable electricity supply. Hard-pressed to revamp the island’s power grid, the island’s energy commission has now proposed to emphazise new wind and solar power projects, next to fast-ramp gas peaking plants.