Saturday, March 31, 2012

Echelon implements Microgrid in India and South Africa

Microgrid, which is also known as distributed generation, is part of the overall Smart Grid technologies. It generates energy primarily using renewable sources like Solar, Wind, Biogas, and Fuel cells. The generated energy is supplied to the local area and may or may not be connected to the main grid depending on its Geo-location. It has all the function of the larger grid, generation, transmission, and distribution, but supplies energy to only limited area, hence it is called micro-grid. Nonetheless, it has variety of advantages over the larger grid;  power loss over the transmission and distribution is very low as the generation is located closer to the consumption area, capital cost is low, can be implemented without any changes to local geography or demographic. Additionally, it reduces carbon emission and thus supports sustainable livelihood.

Echelon, which is one of the leading Smart Grid technology company,  has deployed two microgirds one in India and another in South Africa. According to Echelon press release, "The model micro grid deployments are at Palm Meadows in Hyderabad, India, and Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa. Palm Meadows is an 86-acre integrated gated community with 335 homes and residential services. Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg is a retail building with more than 240 stores. Such micro grids are likely to be a best practice in emerging countries grappling with intermittent power supply, and are also applicable in environmentally conscious countries that are aggressively incorporating renewable and intermittent energy sources into the distribution network."

"Smart micro grid an ideal way to integrate local generation at the community level and allow for customer participation in the electricity enterprise," said Michael Anderson, senior vice president of Worldwide Markets for Echelon. "Micro grids sit at the edge of the smart grid and provide real-time analysis, decision making and control. The Palm Meadows and Clearwater Mall deployments are great examples of how Echelon's commitment to leading the worldwide transformation of the electricity grid into an energy control network can foster market innovation. The concepts demonstrated in India and South Africa can be replicated worldwide to improve power reliability and to integrate energy efficiency solutions as well as renewable generation."

The Microgrid market is set to grow 164%  between 2011 and 2017 with installed capacity increasing from 620 MW to 1.6 GW according to cleantech market intelligence firm Pike Research. There is growing interest across the world especially among educational, research, commercial, healthcare, and industrial campuses. The campus Microgrid market will reach upto $777 million by year 2017. 

Palm Meadows, India

The Palm Meadows community ties into the grid at a dedicated substation and sources energy in bulk from the utility. The community also runs diesel generators and will incorporate solar generation in the future. Residences within the community are equipped with Echelon smart meters that connect into data concentrators at distribution transformers and feed near real-time usage information to Echelon's Networked Energy Systems (NES) system software. Echelon partner Grene Robotics' Skynet management application automatically turns on local generation if utility-delivered power is inadequate. The Skynet software interfaces with the NES system software and creates a bill for the customer that reflects the customers' actual use of lower cost grid power and more expensive locally generated power. Customers have the option of reducing usage at times when the more expensive energy is being supplied. The Palm Meadows micro grid is providing reliable service even during frequent utility grid outages and enabling the customer to make intelligent trade-offs between comfort and cost. 

"When you flip that light switch, turn your television on, or boot up your computer, you expect power," said Kiran Penmatcha, CEO of Grene Robotics. "Like a national power grid, the Palm Meadows micro grid manages generation, distribution, and the regulation of the flow of electricity to its households. We are pleased to have helped implement a proven, open and multi-application energy control infrastructure that enables Palm Meadows to become distributors of energy within their community. Today, the community is evaluating the integration of solar generated electricity for the future. Tomorrow, the community may look to add other applications, such as outdoor lighting control on the same infrastructure."


Bogdan Tomoiaga said...

Interesting indeed. What about a Pareto based approach? ... like in this paper:

Hillary Anderson said...

Great blog post and really helpful Midnightinfo ,GATE 2018

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