DER's increasing penetration into the grid entails a wealth of benefits and opportunities for the power system and its participants. They offer consumers with potential lower costs, higher reliability of service, excellent quality of power, greater energy efficiency, and sustainable energy.
FREMONT, CA: In the latest years, Renewable Energy Sources (RES) have experienced massive development, enabling privatization, the utilities and energy industry unbundling and boosting with economic incentives and energy policy initiatives. In addition to the positive transformation induced by Distributed Energy Resources (Ders) and renewables, energy systems are on the verge of entering the digital age, as evidenced by the substantial smart meter deployment. But, the DERs of today are doing much more than just generating energy!
DERs have become advanced management instruments for complicated combinations of energy resources, as microgrids show, and can provide a variety of new advantages in terms of cost, environment, and system efficiency. What more does this development has to offer digital intelligence-based management? A couple of decades ago, the demand response was a relatively new tool to curtail peak demand on an overtaxed power system. And now, the path to smart DER technologies has began. Here are a few commercially available DER technologies as well as those that are yet to boom.
Microturbine is among the newest distributed generation technologies used in stationary applications for generating energy. They are a sort of combustion turbine that produces a relatively small scale of both heat and electricity. Microturbines are anticipated to capture a substantial share of the distributed generation market due to their small size, comparatively low capital costs, anticipated low operating and maintenance expenses, and automatic electronic control. Furthermore, microturbines give an effective and tidy solution for directing markets for mechanical drives such as compression and air conditioning. Manufacturers of microturbines aim for a future price of less than $650/kW.
DER developers and producers are seeking methods to combine techniques to enhance distributed generation equipment's performance and effectiveness. Hybrid systems are a comparable idea to DER integration and aggregation, but for the generation of bulk systems. Hybrid systems deliver plant efficiency and flexibility enhancements but also involve much more advanced controls and enhanced sensor systems to provide timely and reliable critical process data. In many instances, to manage extreme operational circumstances, this will involve the progress of sensor technology.
Like aircraft propeller blades, wind turbines transform into the moving air and power an electrical generator supplying electrical current. Instead of making wind using electricity, wind turbines use the wind to create electricity like a fan. The wind turns the blades, spinning a shaft, connecting to a generator and producing electricity.
Fuel cell energy systems are clean, and extremely effective on-site electrical generators that convert fuel into energy using an electrochemical process — not combustion. Besides offering power, they can supply water and space heating or absorption cooling with a thermal energy source. In comparison to conventional energy service, fuel cells have been shown to decrease energy service expenses by 20-40 percent. For many years, fuel cells have been used in the space program to provide astronauts and industrial applications with electricity and drinking water.
The Stirling Cycle is a closed cycle, which implies retaining and isolating the inner working fluid from the external energy source. Skyrocketing demand for distributed generation systems, combined with the potential benefits of Stirling cycle-based motors, has triggered renewed business interest in Stirling engines. While microturbines and fuel cells have gained the bulk of media interest in the future of distributed generation, Stirling technology has a promising tale to tell. High effectiveness, low emissions, and fuel flexibility are among the main advantages attributed to Stirling engines.
Combustion turbines which are gas turbines, burn gas or liquid fuel; warm gasses expand against the blades of a rotating shaft, resulting in a high-speed rotary motion driving an electric generator. While it may take a couple more minutes to get up to velocity compared to reciprocating motors, gas turbines are well suited for peak and load-following applications and larger-sized base-load operations. Installed expenses are slightly greater than reciprocating motors, and maintenance costs are significantly smaller.
Evolution of Microgrids
The next step was to use and handle more than one generation of resource for maximum financial flexibility. An early microgrid, used a CHP plant could either function separately or connect to the grid. A second generation form, often a fossil fuel backup generator, combined the CHP plant with another variation. In the microgrid generation combination, solar photovoltaics and sometimes wind turbines started to appear later. This trend deepened with a decrease in the cost of renewable energy, combined with organizations' drive to attain sustainability objectives.
Photovoltaic cells are thin layers of a semiconductor (generally crystalline silicon) that directly converts sunlight to DC electricity. These "solar cells" are made up of panels varying from a few watts to about 100 W. The panels are modular and can be configured to fit nearly any load requirement into bigger arrays. Noise and emissions are non-existent, and maintenance is minimal as no moving parts are available.
Electric energy storage can create a significant difference in the functionality of the power scheme, often referred to as the "holy grail" of power system systems. The Integrated Grid provides a way to integrate distributed electrical energy storage efficiently. Reliability and flexibility can be increased by incorporating distributed energy storage into utility planning and activities.
Virtual Power Plant
Increasingly distributed energy sources with powerful randomness and tiny capability will be incorporated into a big power grid with the growth of the Energy Internet. Virtual power plants can achieve the integration of distributed energy sources as well as centralized leadership and unified coordination of demand-response and distributed energy storage. Fortunately, blockchain can provide virtual power generation transaction with an accessible and transparent system platform. For virtual power plants and virtual power generation resources, a blockchain-based data platform, and a blockchain-based transaction platform allow for two-way choice.
DERs are anticipated to play a major part in the future supply of electricity. We have photovoltaic systems, tiny wind turbines, and other micro structures using renewable power sources and micro-CHP plants among the techniques for distributed electricity generation. The future Smart Grids, like Micro-Grids and Smart Users, must be based on small-scale leadership schemes. These Smart Users will be fitted with mixed cooling and heating systems coupled with electrical and thermal energy storage devices to enable not only high energy efficiency but also flexibility in their leadership. This will lead to the installation of more compact structures near the consumers of energy demand, where space accessibility generally plays the main role. DERs will enable housing and company clients to architecture their energy ecosystem over time.