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Smart Grid a key Enabler for Renewable Energies

September 21, 2020

In an effort to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective to keep the global temperature increase  below 2°C this century, more and more countries are shifting towards sustainable electricity.

This shift is also possible thanks to the recent price drop of the technologies used for renewable energy production. BNEF reports that the cost of energy globally for onshore wind and utility-scale solar is now $44 and $50/MWh (on a levelized basis), compared to $100 and $300/MWh ten years ago. This is the result of battery storage experiencing a global price drop among all technologies, crucial to address the variability of wind and solar power.

The global awareness around the consumption and production of energy drives the renewable market. By 2025, the renewable market is forecast to reach 2.15 trillion U.S. dollars (Statista).

Although green energy sources can meet the market demand, the challenges reside in the inconsistency of  infrastructure operations. As solar and wind energy tends to fluctuate, consumers  need to compromise.Wind farms, for instance, often produce a surplus of energy at night when consumer demand is low. To conserve and better manage the surplus of energy, the renewable energy industry relies on smart grid technology.

A ‘smart grid’ includes a variety of operation and energy measures which function as an energy network.   This network is composed of transmission lines, transformers, and renewable energy resources. The EU defines smart grid as: “an electricity network that can cost efficiently integrate the behaviour and actions of all users connected to it – generators, consumers and those that do both – in order to ensure economically efficient, sustainable power system with low losses and high levels of quality and security of supply and safety.”

Smart grids rely on smart meters,an IoT application that combines a digital electricity meter and a two-way communication component  to measure real time  power production and consumption. While the data on network can be processed in real time, thanks to 5G adoption, big data enables energy suppliers to analyse performance and customer behaviour to optimize their energy consumption.

Smart grid technology is already demonstrating its essential role in fostering renewable energy. In the first half of 2020, renewable electricity usage exceeded fossil fuel consumption for the first time ever, generating 40% of the EU-27’s electricity, whereas fossil fuels generated 34%.

As a rapidly evolving technology, smart grids offer a tangible chance to reduce the impact of climate change by managing renewable energy sources .

Smart Grids will play a key role in the shift from conventional and inefficient power systems to intelligent,  sustainable energy consumption.

Suggestion: has been further supported by the recent

Rather than compromise, are we saying that consumers will need to become increasingly reliant on technology?

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