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A Greek SME company that offers software engineering services has developed an innovative intelligent management system that provides grid operators with the optimum operation scenario using renewable energy sources. The company is seeking to collaborate with distribution system operators (DSOs) and system integrators that work with DSOs under technical cooperation agreements and commercial agreements respectively.
Fossil fuels and centralised energy generation are giving way to clean and renewable decentralised energy generation. This transition however poses challenges to grid operators. The renewables penetration reveals high voltage and overload impact. Another fact is that the renewable generation is intermittent thus affecting grid reliability. Additionally, isolated grids (geographical islands) suffer from high energy production costs - even 5 times higher than in an integrated network - as they mainly use expensive diesel generators.
Grid operators need a new generation of digital management systems that demonstrate convergence of technologies, interoperability and real-time reliable services orchestration that will eventually lead to true artificial intelligence (AI) operations. Distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) are an emerging product category and surveys show that many utilities are planning to procure such systems within short time.
The solution provides grid operators with the optimum operation scenario under the presence of renewable sources, storage, electric vehicles, etc. This is achieved with accurate forecasting of the grid status and real-time scheduling of the distributed generation. Distributed energy resource (DER) control is achieved with a dedicated communication gateway that controls the offering by using cloud computing capabilities.
With this intelligent management, technical energy losses are reduced by 8%. Additionally, more renewable energy is supported on a given line segment or distribution feeder (by 50%). Isolated grids gain from generation cost reduction (by 20%) and further renewable energy sources (RES) penetration (by 30%) that ultimately renders fossil-fuel based generation, only a back-up solution.
The Greek company is looking for DSOs for evaluating the system under a technical cooperation agreement. Or system integrators that work with DSOs under a commercial agreement with technical assistance.
DERMS are composed of hardware and software applications that enable utilities (through a real-time communications infrastructure) to reliably and safely operate the distribution system in the presence of high DER penetration.
The exploitation into power distribution grids is achieved by providing to its users (grid operators) a hybrid and compact Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) with additional features eg. supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) inclusion, having as major target RES penetration and integration. Initial application grounds will be isolated grids.
The solution will be offered at a monthly recurring fee, with no need for the end user to purchase anything upfront. Moreover, its cloud based nature, will shift the burden of hardware maintenance from the utility to the cloud services provider. It will be reliable by providing high precision supply and demand forecasting and through the gateway, DER will be able to respond faster than one minute to grid operators for effective load control.
Ultimately, as the smart-grid evolves to various connectivity and automation phases, reaching a new state with ubiquitous connectivity, sensing, cloud-based AI, edge computing and automation, the It sophistication aims to rise to the level of true AI which can power autonomous operations, including the maintenance and asset management.
Key differentiation points of this offer are:
a) exploitation of a space-grade simulation engine (used by the European Space Agency for spacecraft operations) for investigation of massive parallel grid operational scenarios and
b) Product-as-a-Service approach, thus deferring utility's large capital expenses for platform procurement and operating expenses for IT administration.
It is underpinned on technology currently operational, at technology readiness level (TRL) 9. More specifically, the solution is based on an available backend simulator, as well as the integration of several available commercial and open source tools.
In parallel, the company has conducted research in collaboration with an academic partner, on power load prediction. The company through its current customer, has acquired the permission to access available historical data (on which the academic partner has performed the research) from the existing customer for a six year period, that have been used to fine tune generic models. Various methodologies have been used, such as autoregressive models, regression techniques which rely on the use of support vector machines or sparse representation, as well as fuzzy inference, fuzzy-neural models and artificial neural networks. The company will use these results to enhance AI and machine learning and incorporate them into their technology.
The end-users of the system are mainly the distribution system operators (DSOs) which operate medium and low voltage grids. The company wishes to collaborate under a technical cooperation agreement with DSOs that need a new generation of digital systems to manage DERs and want to evaluate such systems with provision of requirements and pilot operations. Isolated grids due to the flexibility offered in control of the DER operation set-point, offer excellent pilot cases.
Additionally system integrators that work with DSOs can act as partners under a commercial agreement with technical assistance for the implementation of the system.