Experts suggest hybrid, micro power grids to avoid blackouts

Emphasise need for adopting renewable energy, change in regulatory framework

Zafar Bhutta May 24, 2018
California is meeting 50% of energy needs through renewable sources and targeted to reach 100% by 2020, Novosel said

SINGAPORE: While advocating consumption of renewable energy, experts have emphasised the need for changes in regulatory framework and installing state-of-the-art power grids with hybrid transmission and distribution connection to avoid blackouts.

“We need robust, hybrid and micro grids for reliability and market reach,” said Dr Damir Novosel, President of Quanta Technology, a utility infrastructure consulting company based in the US, in his keynote address at the international conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT Asia 2018), sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

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“The industry and regulator should be communicated that hybrid is the future,” he said.

Citing an example, Novosel said California was the best example for renewable energy where everyone had solar panels and suggested that storage system must be put in place during the installation of solar panels in order to avoid the impact of climate change.

He underlined the need for enhanced system stability by protecting a wide area and evaluating power swings, blocking and tripping. He called for adopting next-generation monitoring and control technology for precise grid measurements, using Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.

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At a time when population was growing, renewable energy provided a solution, Novosel said, adding California was meeting 50% of energy needs through renewable sources and targeted to reach 100% by 2020.

He termed the manufacturing of electric cars a big revolution as such vehicles had a huge potential in the wake of global warming because they were much cleaner for the environment and had lower emission levels.

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He also floated the idea of smart cities that could work with electric cars.

Speaking on the occasion, Dean Sharafi, a representative of the Power & Energy Society, pointed out that generators used to produce power earlier, but consumers had now become producers themselves by adopting renewable energy.

He also cited the example of California, saying everybody in the US state was connected with solar photovoltaic panels.

However, the system operator should maintain balance between electricity generation and demand to avoid blackouts, he said, adding Australia had recommended a strong system and transmission and distribution planning after facing blackouts.

David Bones, an electricity market specialist, emphasised the need for maintaining balance between power generation and demand. “If you lose balance, you will be in trouble,” he warned.

He was of the view that there were new challenges with the improvement in technology that required a change in regulation. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2018.

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