Smart Grid Technologies-Australia
Smart Grid Technologies-Australia
The primary objective of this report will be to identify and expound on the existing and future Smart Grid Technologies in Australia and a comparison of the existing infrastructure as compared to the rest of the world. Technology assumes a critical role in the modern society as it enhances the quality of life by providing solutions to complex and simple problems experienced daily. Smart Grid Technologies in Australia as well as in other parts of the world provide effective solutions to electricity supply problems in the wake of depletion of natural resources, which can be termed as unsustainable.
Smart grid can be termed as a collection of technologies, which will provide effective and adequate means of alleviation of current and anticipated future electricity demands, which result in incidences of low carbon emissions. The term Smart Grid lacks a single definition, which makes it not limited to applications, systems, device, or idea (Iniewski 21). The primary objective of smart grids is to utilize communication and information technologies that develop a network of electricity distribution transmission in both consumer and industrial settings. In addition, the term smart grid may also refer to combinations of base pricing of combined technologies (Ekanayake 33).
It is understood that users play a critical role in automatic control usage and supposedly production of electricity, which gives rise to reduced costs and providing sustainable access to new technology. In essence, electricity grids have evolved over time in austral, in an environment that provides for efficient planning and management of resources to development of safe, reliable, and secure electricity supply. Grid planners and mangers have made the implicit assumption that generation of electricity will be in a minimal number of locations and subsequently distributed to a large number of energy users, whereby the behaviour of both the power producers and users can be predicted with relative ease (Mak 23).
These long held assumptions are now being criticized, given that they are not sustainable in the long-term in relation to the long-term prospects in Australia’s energy sector. For a large part, the electricity networks in Australia are sufficient in fulfillment of their respective obligations towards provision of secure, safe, and reliable electricity to consumers irrespective of their energy needs. This can be attributed to a robust regulatory environment that provides an effective framework for operation. On the other hand, recent developments illustrate the presence of numerous challenges in terms of planning, management, and costs, which have increased significantly in terms of complexity and scale (Fox-Penner 38).
Such challenges being experienced in Australia include shifts in trends related to consumption and demand, marked by decline in growth. In addition, this also includes a significant increase in the demand for distributed generation of solar power, changes in the industry’s reliability standards, policy, and regulatory frameworks shifts. Subsequently, the electricity network operators in the country are under pressure to anticipate changes and deliver outcomes, which challenge their respective capabilities using existing infrastructure and systems. This is illustrative of the need for highly advanced decision-making strategies by the network providers in a reasonable manner that is consistent with global trends. Consequently, the extensive nature of able innovative information technology and communication systems is at the forefront of inducing modernization of electricity grids in countries such as Australia.
Smart grid technologies provide the opportunity for enhanced prediction of supply and demand of electricity in specific locations within the grid. In addition the also provide the players within the supply chain with the capacity for real-time analytics through continuous evaluations and monitoring of the status of the grid and other major assets. Furthermore, a smart grid provides a means of dynamic reconfigure the network to achieve high levels of efficiency in the utilization of resources such as labor and raw materials. Such technologies provide an opportunity for the producers and suppliers to engage with customers for practice management of demand in the different locations within a network. On the other hand, there is a barrier or difference between conventional grids and smart grids, which may be a challenge to identify. It is important to note that there are no specific traits, which mark with a high level of clarity, the transition of a given electricity, network from the conventional to smart grid. Grids have emerged as smart with time due to the acquisition of additional transactional, technical, and operational capabilities.
AUSTRALIA’S SMART GRID
Standards Australia provides the definition of a smart grid as, “an electricity system incorporating electricity and communications networks, which can intelligently integrate the actions of parties connected to it.” This affirms the understanding or assumption that smart grids have producers and users with minimal predictability and high levels of variability in terms of behavior. In the year 2010, the government of Australia invested an estimated AUD$100million towards improving the capacity of the Ausgrid consortium that includes entities such as GE Energy Australia; IBM Australia; Grid Net; City of Newcastle; CSIRO; the University of Sydney; TransGrid; Landis+Gyr; EnergyAustralia; Hunter Water; Sydney Water; Lake Macquarie City Council and the University of Newcastle.
Ausgrid and its various trial partners have brought funding for the development of the Smart Grid, Smart City program that is worth an approximately $490 million in both in-kind and cash support. The Smart Grid, Smart City program represents one of the largest commercial deployments targeted at development of a smart grid in the world. The Smart Grid, Smart City program was developed to fulfill the following objectives:
- To illustrate the viability of success of commercial scale projects which would be effective for business interests of applications and technologies present in smart grids
- Developing corporate and business awareness on the economic and environmental benefits accruable from using smart grids and the need to use buy-in from the customers and industry
- Collect robust data and information for decision-making in terms of extended adoption of the smart grid applications in the electricity industry in Australia
- Investigate the existing synergies with other basic infrastructure and resources such as water, gas and the National Broadband Network
- Enables real-time and informed participation by the public
Consumers play a role in enabling balance in demand and supply of electricity. In addition, they ensure the presence of reliability of the grid through modification of the manners of use and purchase of electricity for consumption.
- Accommodation of diverse generation and storage options
A smart grid has the capacity to accommodate large, small and centralized power with consideration of the customer located distributed energy forms or resources. In addition, integration of these resources such as renewable, small-scale combined power and heat, as well as energy storage is anticipated to enhance the capacity of the value chain from the suppliers, marketers and to the customers.
- Enables new markets, products and services
Appropriately designed and efficiently operated markets play a critical role in provision of new opportunities for consumers to identify service providers amongst those competing within the electricity market. A number of independent grid variables such as capacity, time, location, quality, and rate of change should be managed in an explicit manner. Markets assume a critical position in the management of these identified variables.
- Provision of quality power for diverse consumer needs
It is important to note that customers such as industries and domestic users may demand different types of electricity quality. A smart grid focuses on delivery of different grades or quality level as well as price of power. The costs associated with premium power quality have features that are provided explicitly within the electrical service contract. Various advanced control measures monitor the essential components, which in turn enables rapid diagnosis and development of solutions to counter activities that influence in a negative manner the quality of energy such as switching surges, lightning, faults, and harmonic sources.
- Optimization of utilization of assets, resources, and operational efficiency
Smart grids utilize advanced and recent technologies for the optimized utilization of assets and resources. For instance, optimal capacity can be achieved through dynamic ratings that provide assets to be used at high loads through continuous monitoring and evaluation of their respective capacities.
- Provides resilience to risk incidences such as natural disasters, attacks and disturbances to the system
An efficient system is marked by resilience in terms of capability of the system to react to the various unexpected events through isolation, while the rest of the systems remain in operation. These self-control approaches give rise to reduction in interruption of services to the consumers and provide the service providers with enhanced capacity for management of the various components of delivery infrastructure.
Figure 1: SMART GRID Platform Layers
|Advanced automation||Wide area control||AVVC||FDIR||Dynamic Ratings||Demand Response||Pricing & Feedback|
|Network state viability and actuation capability||Transmission Monitoring||Substation Monitoring||Distribution Monitoring||Distribution Control||Wind Area Measurement||Smart Meter Infrastructure|
|Common platform||IT infrastructure||Communications Infrastructure||Security Architecture||Operational Model||Design Standards|
Figure 2: Capabilities
|Active Volt-VAr Control||AVVC||Automated voltage regulation and reactive power controls are used in measurement and sustaining the acceptable voltage levels and nay high power factor at the various points within the distribution network, with the presence of varied load conditions|
|Fault Detection, Isolation and Restoration||FDIR||This includes the capability of the network to utilize information technologies to discover, detect location, and subsequently isolate faults. This enables deployment of resources in a consistent manner that ensures restoration of power supply. This is usually enabled by use of algorithms and controllable switches.|
|Substation and Feeder Monitoring||SFM||Enhanced communication systems between back end and substations can be used as a means of enabling strategic management of resources through continuous monitoring.|
|Wide Area Measurement||WAM||Utilization of PMUs as a means of monitoring the stability and parameters of high voltage networks.|
The electricity industry has been focused primarily on adjustments in supply with the aim of meeting the anticipated growth in demand for electricity. The focus on supply needs giving rise to a significant segment of the installed generation capacity as well as network infrastructure being focused on catering to increase in demand and uncertainities within the system. Furthermore, the extensive coverage of distribution and transmission lines in Australia illustrates the presence of numerous challenges such as fault and loss detections, isolation, and subsequent restoration of services to the consumers. Australia has an abundance of coal, which has been used to cater to increase in demand for electricity. This has enabled the country to maintain low costs. It is important to note that the reliance on coal-generated power in Australia provides the country with one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions.
The smart grid technologies are anticipated to cater to a variety of emergent needs in the economy. In addition, this is anticipated to contribute towards delivery of various societal benefits, which take place in four perspectives namely:
- Smart grid technologies are anticipated to deliver direct financial impacts in terms of operating and capital costs savings for the energy producers in the country. This is also evident through a decline in power bills for the consumers due to enhanced decision-making capabilities
- Smart grid technologies play a critical role in enabling enhanced levels of reliability through reduction in incidences of injuries and outages to achieve optimal levels of power quality
- Improved environmental responsibility can be achieved through smart grid technologies. In addition, the customers are able to make informed decisions by adapting to new technologies in a carbon-constrained market, such as the use of renewable energy and focusing on energy efficiency in using electricity.
- Smart grid technologies also enable customer empowerment through higher levels of transparency and decision-making capabilities through enhanced access to critical information.
It is important to note that despite smart grids gaining prominence around the world, they are yet to illustrate the optimal potential and associated benefits when adopted on a large-scale level. Consequently, the numerous aspects of smart grid adoption are not proven with adequacy such as:
- The maturity levels of the component technologies
- Business case details
- Supporting the country’s standards frameworks
- Clarity on the associated costs and benefits for the stakeholders and diverse players within the value chain
Research indicates that electricity is the fastest growing commodity in terms of the total energy demands in the global economy, with consumption anticipated to increase by more than 150% between the years 2007 and 2050 noted by ETP 2010. Growth in the demand for electricity is anticipated to vary significantly across regions around the world given that the OECD member countries usually experience relatively higher increases as compared to developing and emerging markets. In the OECD countries, where relatively modest economic growth rates are because of high levels of demand, smart grid technologies will provide numerous benefits through the reduction in distribution and transmission losses. Additionally, this is also expected to enable optimized efficiency levels of operational efficiency on existing infrastructure.
Essentially, smart grid technologies offer opportunities for enhanced prediction and reliability in estimation supply and demand of electricity levels in specific locations within the grid. In addition the also provide the players within the supply chain with the capacity for real-time analytics through continuous evaluations and monitoring of the status of the grid and other major assets. Furthermore, a smart grid provides a means of dynamic reconfigure the network to achieve high levels of efficiency in the utilization of resources such as labor and raw materials. Such technologies provide an opportunity for the producers and suppliers to engage with customers for practice management of demand in the different locations within a network. On the other hand, there is a barrier or difference between conventional grids and smart grids, which may be a challenge to identify. It is important to note that there are no specific traits, which mark with a high level of clarity, the transition of a given electricity, network from the conventional to smart grid. Grids have emerged as smart with time due to the acquisition of additional transactional, technical, and operational capabilities.
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