Transformation of the utility industry, high penetration of renewables, and the implementation of a Smarter Grid have been widely addressed by leading utilities, industry market leaders and academia. So what could CDE offer that is differentiated and has the potential for high impact?
A few examples, shown below, confirm that current utility models and practices cannot easily be extended into a distributed paradigm, and that new approaches need to be developed.
- Data from sensors and AMI meters show high voltage volatility that cannot be explained by current planning based models used by utilities to manage and operate their networks
- Fast dynamic control at the grid edge (e.g. PV inverters) creates volatility and instability that cannot be mitigated by available tools, and limits the ability for high PV penetration
- Deluge of data from distributed sensors and assets cannot be managed using centralized data archiving and access, and cannot be the basis for real-time system control
- The cost, latency and reliability of the communications layer for a massively distributed asset base is a major impediment to achieving the objectives of a distributed control architecture
- Full rated power electronics based control solutions are too expensive, and often do not match the life, reliability, service and loss attributes of other grid assets.
CDE’s distributed approach, where distributed sensors, grid-edge power electronics controllers, electrical networks, communications, data management, reliability and security are all looked at in sufficient detail (including normal, transient and fault scenarios in fully coupled grid environments), with no over-simplifications, to fully understand all the interactions between the various layers at the system level. This is juxtaposed with current utility practices, costs, regulations and policy. Analysis, simulations, test-beds and field data with analytics are used to validate the developed solutions under a realistic context. Industry/utility partners provide guidance on the questions being asked and the approaches used. Finally, CDE maintains a strong emphasis on technology transfer to industry and entrepreneurship.