You searched for feed | Smart Energy International News & insights for smart metering, smart energy & grid professionals in the electricity, water & gas industries. Thu, 24 Aug 2023 08:23:47 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 You searched for feed | Smart Energy International 32 32 Power sector measures key for smart charging in emerging economies states IEA Thu, 17 Aug 2023 15:02:55 +0000 Although electric vehicles (EVs) are proliferating globally, power sector measures that can optimally enable smart charging are not yet fully present in emerging markets and developing economies, states the International Energy Agency (IEA).

This is according to the IEA’s Facilitating Decarbonisation in Emerging Economies Through Smart Charging report, which looks at how decarbonisation can be facilitated through smart charging.

According to the report, although there are several requirements for smart charging to take place, the power sector has a unique role that can’t be overlooked, namely in establishing the foundations of how EVs can be used as a resource.

The potential of smart charging on the power system lies largely in its potency as a flexible asset, states the report, enabling widespread renewable penetration and consumption management.

EV proliferation

According to the report, while most of the uptake of EVs is found in the US, Europe and China, EVs are also starting to penetrate markets in emerging economies.

Electric two- and three-wheelers are more common in Asia, with sales of electric three-wheelers constituting 46% of total three-wheeler sales in the fiscal year of 2022. Meanwhile, electric buses are gaining ground in Latin America, where most have reached cost parity with diesel buses.

These trends are likely to continue as these economies set more adoption targets for the end of the decade.

However, to accommodate the increasing uptake, the necessary charging infrastructure will be needed to coordinate the increasing electric load coming onto the grid.

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While the energy required by EVs is low compared with typical daily electricity consumption, the IEA states how ensuring enough grid capacity will be the more important parameter given the high-power requirements that the charging process can take.

Charging of two- and three-wheelers may not lead to significant increases in peak load until a high level of penetration, whereas charging of buses will raise peak load and often require dedicated transformers.

The role of smart charging

This, states the IEA, is where smart charging needs to be more widely adopted, as it provides an avenue of integrating the EV into the power system where the charging process can be adjusted to be in line with power system objectives.

Said objectives could be voltage regulation and reduction of local peak in the distribution grid, or frequency regulation and energy arbitrage in the bulk energy system.

Smart charging of EV fleets can provide a good source of power system flexibility, increasing the uptake of renewables while maintaining power system stability.

However, for smart charging to be coordinated optimally and support the system, it needs to be able to adjust in response to system signals.

States the report: “The faster the EVs can react, the more services it can provide. Such high levels of coordination can happen only through digitalisation.

“With the help of telecommunications and connectivity, smart charging service providers can exist to help serve as intermediaries to balance the needs of the EV users, charge point operators and power systems.”

Power system measures missing

According to the report, the main signals which can serve as rewards or sources of value for EV users and smart charging service providers are:

• Differentiated tariffs: Tariffs which vary rates based on time of day to incentivise the behaviour of EV users about when to charge their cars

• Procurement of local flexibility: Distribution grid operators enter into contracts with aggregators or charging service providers to manipulate the charging process to achieve local needs.

• Wholesale energy market access: Whereby vehicles can participate in changing the supply-demand curve to lower peak generation and increase renewables consumption.

• Ancillary services market access: Allowing aggregated EVs to respond to system services such as frequency response.

In advanced economies such as California, South Korea, the Netherlands and the UK, each of these power system measures is widespread or in progress, with the exception of procurement of local flexibility in South Korea.

However, for the studied emerging economies, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Maharashtra, Morocco, South Africa, Tamil Nadu, Thailand, Tunisia, Uttar Pradesh and Vietnam, the opposite is true.

Differentiated tariffs were found to be the most common measure, although not absent in Colombia and Morocco.

The only other measure found was that of ancillary services in South Africa and in progress in Chile.

Moving forward

According to the IEA’s findings, depending on the degree of EV integration desired by the economy in question, different technological and regulatory frameworks will need to be deployed for the sector to facilitate a fair and efficient smart charging process.

Specifically, they state, the following recommendations are made to establish a smart charging ecosystem:

  • Establish a framework for demand response in the power system, which could be implicit via tariff variation or explicit through direct bidding of demand in wholesale and balancing markets.
  • Ensure standardisation and interoperability; said standards could be set by tying them to charging infrastructure incentives, as a de facto standard based on public tenders, or legislated directly as a regulation
  • Establish minimum requirements for smart communication and control, thereby ensure future EV uptake will instill the ability to participate in smart charging
  • Ensure matching with clean electricity, whereby signals to charge could come either from the electricity market through wholesale prices, or from end-consumer electricity prices that reflect the best time to consume clean electricity
  • Reform the role of distribution operators from passive owners and providers of network capacity into active managers of an interconnected system that can help activate EVs’ full potential
Leveraging LwM2M for smart metering Thu, 24 Aug 2023 08:17:22 +0000 In an economy on the ropes, smart meters are no longer a luxury but a necessity. As of 2021, there were 111 million smart metering installations in the US, and this figure is only expected to rise as the need for precise and resourceful energy management increases.

Put simply, smart metering is key to managing energy, water and gas consumption effectively. And critically, Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) technology plays a pivotal role in making smart metering more efficient and responsive. Let’s explore how.

Understanding smart metering

Smart metering solutions provide valuable, real-time insights into resource consumption. In contrast, traditional metering systems suffer from a host of limitations. These include infrequent data collection, reliance on manual readings and limited visibility into real-time consumption. These systems also often fail to detect anomalies or leaks promptly, leading to wastage and higher user costs.

But how does LwM2M fit in here? LwM2M both facilitates and improves smart metering. It has the capability to enhance its efficiency and accuracy (if the LwM2M data model is in use) while boosting its real-time monitoring capabilities.

Through IoT device management, LwM2M ensures seamless smart metering connectivity, transforming how we monitor resource use.

LwM2M: Unveiling the technology

At the heart of today’s smart metering revolution is the Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) technology, designed for efficiency, scale and interoperability. Key features and advantages include:

  • Lightweight: Consumes less bandwidth and power, making it cost-effective and ideal for large-scale IoT deployments. With LwM2M, IoT-based smart metering systems can offer massive benefits without bloated hardware and data storage.
  • Efficient: Enhanced transmission rates enable swift and accurate data flow.
  • Remote management: IoT device management is seamless, offering real-time monitoring and control.

In smart metering, LwM2M has a capability to foster robust machine-to-machine communication. It may simplify data transmission, making it faster and more reliable, and amplifies remote management capabilities, transforming how we monitor and control infrastructure elements such as routers, gateways and last but not least smart meters.

LwM2M in energy consumption monitoring

LwM2M supercharges smart metering systems, boosting their capabilities in energy management:

  • Real-time data: LwM2M enables instantaneous data collection and analysis, offering immediate feedback to consumers. The result? Smarter, more efficient energy use.
  • Demand response programmes: LwM2M can integrate with these programmes, allowing utility providers to adjust power production based on real-time demand, reducing waste and improving service reliability.
  • Predictive maintenance: Leveraging LwM2M, IoT-based smart metering systems can predict maintenance needs, preventing malfunctions before they occur.

In essence, LwM2M transforms cellular IoT smart meters into proactive, precise instruments for energy monitoring and management, offering yet more benefits of smart metering.

LwM2M in water metering

LwM2M is a game changer in the field of smart water metering, driving accuracy and sustainability:

  • Accurate measurement: By enabling precise data collection, LwM2M ensures consumers are only charged for actual water usage.
  • Leak detection: The technology allows for early detection of leaks, preventing wastage and reducing utility bills.
  • Remote monitoring: With LwM2M, consumers have real-time insight into their water consumption, promoting conscious usage and sustainability.

Essentially, LwM2M empowers consumers with the data they need to make informed decisions, optimizing water use.

LwM2M in gas metering

Ultrasonic smart gas meter manufactured by Flonidan

LwM2M transforms the landscape of gas metering, heightening safety and efficiency:

  • Real-time monitoring: LwM2M enables live tracking and analysis of gas consumption, ensuring optimal usage and cost-efficiency.
  • Anomaly detection: The technology excels in spotting irregular gas usage, helping prevent wastage.
  • Leak prevention and safety: LwM2M enhances safety by promptly identifying potential gas leaks, helping to prevent accidents and property damage.

By integrating LwM2M into gas metering systems, users gain a more detailed, real-time understanding of their consumption habits. It’s a leap forward in gas safety and efficiency.

Final thoughts on LwM2M

LwM2M isn’t just a step forward in smart metering; it’s a leap. Revolutionizing energy, water, and gas management delivers real-time insights, enhanced safety and waste reduction. It’s not just about better resource management; it’s about smarter, more sustainable living. The future of smart metering is here, powered by LwM2M.

About AVSystem:

At AVSystem, we pride ourselves on being a trusted and reliable partner for IoT deployments. We understand that proper device management is crucial to the success of any IoT project, which is why we have built our reputation on providing best-in-class solutions to ensure that our clients achieve scalability, interoperability and security.


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Toscana Energia takes next step in gas network digitalisation Wed, 02 Aug 2023 07:33:00 +0000 Italgas subsidiary Toscana Energia is introducing the in-house developed Digital Advanced Network Automation (DANA) control system at its distribution plants.

The DANA system is being introduced first at the company’s San Casciano distribution plant, close to the city of Florence, before wider implementation across others.

DANA, a proprietary software that was developed within Italgas’s Digital Factory, is designed to provide operators with a real-time overview of the gas distribution system, in order to enable timely verification of the functioning of all the components and their direct remote management.

A cartographic system incorporated in the software also allows navigation of the individual segments of the network.

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Operational data collected from the field feeds into analytics and predictive maintenance algorithms, which allow operating anomalies to be identified and new approaches to the operation and maintenance of distribution assets to be introduced.

“The digital transformation of networks is the technical precondition that allows them to accommodate and manage renewable gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen, whose production is expected to develop strongly in the coming years,” Toscana Energia states in a statement.

Toscana Energia manages the gas distribution service in 101 municipalities in nine provinces in central and southwestern Tuscany, including Florence and Pisa, supplying over 752,000 residential and 43,000 commercial and industrial customers.

The digitalisation of the networks is a key focus of the company, and Italgas as a whole, and over 99% of residential customers are reported to have the latest generation smart gas meters.

The long term goal with DANA, which is planned to be extended to half of Toscana Energia’s plants within the year, is to provide remote management of the gas networks and plants for the delivery of green gas mixtures to the end customers safely and efficiently.

P2P energy trading could drive rooftop PV uptake in India – white paper Mon, 31 Jul 2023 05:26:35 +0000 Several P2P energy trading pilots in India have demonstrated its effectiveness as a “superior market model” for promoting the adoption of rooftop solar, the India Smart Grid Federation (ISGF) has reported.

In a new white paper prepared in partnership with the Indian Energy Exchange and Australian blockchain pioneer Powerledger, the ISGF states that neither net or gross metering tariffs nor subsidies have led to the expected uptake of solar capacity, mainly due to low feed-in tariffs and unattractive yearly returns from the current market model.

In comparison, peer-to-peer (P2P) trading offers a financially attractive model for both prosumers as well as consumers in the domestic and C&I segment.

In addition, the distribution companies benefit when net metering customers switch to P2P, while the government subsidies, which are presently disbursed to install rooftop solar, can be avoided.

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The white paper states that the significance of P2P energy trading in promoting rooftop solar has been recognised by the regulator of Uttar Pradesh, which has approved a new set of regulations to facilitate the seamless integration of rooftop solar with the grid.

This follows the implementation in 2020 of a blockchain-based P2P energy trading pilot in Uttar Pradesh by the ISGF and Powerledger, which has received overwhelming interest from multiple distribution companies across India keen to replicate similar projects in their respective regions.

Subsequently, other initiatives have been launched in Delhi and West Bengal among other states.

The white paper states that P2P and local energy markets create both the right market and price signals to boost the deployment of renewable energy assets, such as rooftop solar, to meet India’s national renewables targets of 2030 and beyond.

Some benefits highlighted that can be derived from P2P trading that have emerged from pilots in India include incentivising the deployment of rooftop solar, increasing the viability for net metering prosumers to switch to P2P and trade with C&I consumers and potentially offering higher revenue than gross metering to current subscribers.

Others are reducing the losses incurred by discoms through net metering, helping them to meet their renewable purchase obligation targets, reducing energy transfer on transmission corridors – and thereby deferring capex for the network – helping to remove subsidies for rooftop solar installations and addressing energy inequity by enabling consumers without rooftop solar to purchase green energy and be part of the renewable economy.

Moreover, the suitability of blockchain technology for both low-trust environments and high-information cost environments makes it ideal for the energy sector. With a secure and transparent record-keeping system supported by smart contracts, complex transactions can be automated, ensuring efficient and reliable energy transactions.

While most blockchain use cases are in finance, supply chain management, and identity management, it holds great promise for asset registries and energy trading platforms.

Technology Trending: Energy metaverse, flexible PV, edible batteries Mon, 31 Jul 2023 06:32:14 +0000 The progress and prospects of the energy metaverse, flexible solar panels coming to market and an edible rechargeable battery concept are in the week’s technology radar.

Energy metaverse – the building blocks securely in place

The metaverse may seem very conceptual to many at this stage but it is coming in the energy sector – and coming big, according to a new report from Guidehouse Insights, which estimates that over the next decade global investment in core technologies will grow from just over $6 billion in 2022 to nearly $80 billion in 2031 – a compound annual growth rate of no less than 33%.

Core energy metaverse technologies include digital twins, AI and machine learning, unmanned aerial systems and drones, extended reality and blockchain-based applications.

“When the energy metaverse is fully realised – admittedly more than a decade away – utilities and O&G concerns can envision a day when employee onboarding and training take place via XR in a metaverse-based training centre,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Guidehouse Insights.

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“Much like it was difficult in the early 1990s to imagine all the ways a smartphone or the internet would change how business is conducted, in 2023 it can be hard to see just how radically metaverse technology stands to change the operating dynamics of energy industry verticals.”

Potential examples cited by Guidehouse include utility storefronts in metaverse malls that could provide virtual customers with real-world benefits such as product comparisons and purchasing, energy use analysis and evaluation of a premises’ suitability for solar.

In-demand specialised experts in a field could work on a virtual offshore rig, advising onsite workers how to address a problem. And drones could conduct ongoing inspections of critical assets, feeding real-time data into digital twins equipped with advanced AI to predict and prevent wildfires or methane emissions.

Flexible solar panels coming to market

Solar panels only a few millimetres thick that are claimed integrable on all kinds of surfaces are about to become available from the Belgian startup EnFoil (derived from ‘Energy enabling foil’).

The panels, which are based on copper-indium-gallium-selenium technology, are the outcome of years of research by the Hasselt University and microelectronics research organisation imec within the Energyville collaboration, with EnFoil a spin-off from the two organisations.

Potential applications range from buildings to tents and swimming pool covers, with what is said a pliable but robust format manufacturable in all shapes and sizes and offering greater flexibility than the current mostly flat and predetermined size formats.

“As a result, the technology was mainly limited to exclusive construction projects or as an expensive extra option for the roof of your car. With Enfoil, we are changing this,” says Marc Meuris, CTO.

He adds that talks with industry to bring EnFoil’s solar films to market are “in full swing”, with the current focus mainly on the logistics sector, where the proposal is to integrate the materials on the roofs and sidewalls of trucks to power their sensors and track and trace systems.

An edible rechargeable battery

Children’s toys, gastrointestinal tract disease diagnosis and treatment and food quality monitoring are considered some potential areas where edible electronics would be of interest.

As a step towards this researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have created a first totally edible and rechargeable battery.

With inspiration from the biochemical redox reactions that happen in the body and materials consumed as part of the daily diet, the battery utilises riboflavin or vitamin B2 as anode and the plant pigment quercetin as cathode, along with activated charcoal to increase the electrical conductivity and a water-based electrolyte.

The separator was made from nori seaweed, the kind found in sushi.

Then, electrodes were encapsulated in beeswax from which two food-grade gold contacts – the foil used by pastry chefs – on a cellulose derived support come out.

The battery cell operates at 0.65V, a voltage low enough not to create problems in the human body when ingested, and can provide current of 48μA for 12 minutes or a few microamps for more than an hour – enough to supply power to small electronic devices, such as low power LEDs, for a limited time.

Ivan Ilic, who co-authored the study, said the edible battery is also very interesting for the energy storage community.

“Building safer batteries, without usage of toxic materials, is a challenge we face as battery demand soars. While our edible batteries won’t power electric cars, they are a proof that batteries can be made from safer materials than current Li-ion batteries. We believe they will inspire other scientists to build safer batteries for a truly sustainable future.”

‘We need to keep going hell-for-leather on renewables’ says Octopus Energy boss Fri, 28 Jul 2023 07:36:14 +0000 “It’s simple: if we’d moved to renewables sooner as a continent, the crisis wouldn’t be as bad now. And we can’t carry on like this, we have to escape from these colossal gas prices from the global markets,” said Greg Jackson, founder and CEO of UK’s Octopus Energy.

The critical role of renewable energy and the need to expedite projects were some of the issues emphasised in an exclusive interview with Greg Jackson, who has a clear passion for putting the consumer first.

Jackson also spoke to the increasingly important contribution of decentralised energy and digitalisation as fundamentals to their consumer-centric business model.

To read the full interview visit Enlit.World.

Germany’s sonnen announces 250MWh VPP as ‘Europe’s largest’ Fri, 18 Aug 2023 09:00:00 +0000 Germany-headquartered and Shell-owned sonnen has announced that its virtual power plant (VPP) has reached capacity of 250MWh, claimed to be the largest in Europe to date.

The VPP consists of tens of thousands of sonnenBatteries throughout Germany, states sonnen, which are intelligently controlled and can be used as large-scale storage.

The company hopes to reach the 1GWh mark in the coming years, providing a “decentralised buffer storage” that can be used to balance supply and demand on the electric grid, stated the company in a press release.

sonnen is calling the milestone a new standard “in the digital networking of private households and renewable energies”.

Previously the title of ‘Europe’s largest VPP’ was claimed by Elisa earlier this year in February, when the telecommunications company was awarded a grant by the Finnish government for development of a 150MWh VPP.

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The sonnenVPP is currently providing capacity, for example, to compensate for frequency fluctuations (primary control power) in the transmission grid or to participate in electricity trading on the exchange.

According to the company, the system can shift the time at which solar power is fed in so that it is compatible with the grid and, for example, the midday peak is stored by PV systems instead of adding to congestion.

Customers within the VPP also have access to services via intelligent electricity contracts such as sonnenFlat and receive a share of the proceeds.

“The energy transition must not get stuck in the power grids. With our virtual power plant, we have an instrument for intelligently integrating PV systems, e-cars or heat pumps into our power grids. Our power plant is already in people’s homes and doesn’t need any additional space,” stated Oliver Koch, CEO of sonnen.

After proof of concept within the transmission system, sonnen hopes to use the VPP to offer grid stabilisation services in the distribution grid, where bottlenecks from new PV systems, e-cars and heat pumps are already a concern.

Added Koch: “Currently, many processes in the power grids are not yet digitised or regulated accordingly, so that we are far from exploiting the potential of our technology. However, we are doing valuable pioneering work here, e.g. with our own smart meter rollout.”

Sonnen began a smart meter rollout for its customers in 2016 and in May this year announced an acceleration of rollout in Germany alongside Solandeo, a German energy equipment and solutions provider.

The acceleration is an extension of their collaboration and will see the installation of a further 10,000 intelligent metering systems (iMSys) to sonnenCommunity, an independent energy community.

Fully acquired by Shell in 2019, sonnen also operates virtual power plants in the USA, Australia and Italy. Earlier this year saw company join the VP3 alliance in the US, which hopes to develop and scale up VPP technology.

Smart grids and digitalisation – more effort needed says IEA Mon, 24 Jul 2023 05:58:41 +0000 More effort is needed on smart grids and digitalisation, the IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2023 update has reported.

Countries are increasingly preparing their infrastructure for digitalisation and several major economies have announced substantial new funding to modernise and digitalise their electricity grids.

However, further efforts by policymakers and industry will be necessary to realise the full potential of digitalisation to accelerate the clean energy transition, including the implementation of standards, policies and regulations that prioritise innovation and interoperability while addressing risks to cybersecurity and data privacy.

The IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress annually assesses recent developments for over 50 components of the energy system against its ‘net zero by 2050’ scenario trajectory for 2030.

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The report states that grid-related investment in digital technologies has grown by over 50% since 2015, and is expected to reach 19% of total grid investment in 2023.

There is an increasing focus on the distribution segment, which now represents more than 75% of the total digital spend. There has also been a substantial upswing in investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year.

However, overall investment in smart grids needs to more than double through 2030 – from around US$300 billion/year currently to almost US$600 billion/year – to get on track with the ‘net zero emissions’ scenario, especially in emerging markets and developing economies.

The number of smart power meters worldwide exceeded 1 billion in 2022, a tenfold increase since 2010. However, for the first time in a decade, investment slightly decreased, reflecting the plateauing deployment rate as many countries achieve close to full or full rollout.

Meanwhile, connected devices with automated controls and sensors are expected to reach 13 billion in 2023, up from fewer than 1 billion a decade ago. This number could reach more than 25 billion in 2030.

Similar trends are being seen in power grids, with around 320 million distribution sensors deployed globally.

Digitalisation progress

Notable progress in developing digitalisation in 2022 included the European Union with its action plan and the UK with its ‘digital spine’ feasibility study,

The European Commission expects about €584 billion (US$650 billion) of investments in the European electricity grid by 2030, of which €170 billion would be for digitalisation, including smart meters and other digital technologies.

Other examples of recent major grid investments are China with US$442 billion in the period 2021-205, Japan with US$155 billion and India with INR3.03 trillion (US$28 billion).

In North America, in 2022 the US announced the Grid Resilience Innovative Partnership programme with $10.5 billion in funding and Canada is investing US$100 million through its smart grid programme.

Among the needs looking ahead, the report states that further progress is needed on smart EV charging to tap into the major flexibility potential of the growing EV fleet.

At the end of 2022, there were 2.7 million public charging points worldwide, more than 900,000 of which were installed in 2022, an increase of about 55% on 2021 stock. However, only a fraction of these have smart charging capabilities.

If made grid interactive, other technologies such as heat pumps and air conditioners could also provide flexibility.

To get in step with the ‘net zero’ scenario, the global inventory of flexible assets needs to increase tenfold by 2030, which means that all sources of flexibility – including batteries and demand response – need to be leveraged.

Enabling digital technologies such as smart meters and distributed monitoring and control devices are essential to fully exploit the flexibility potential of the growing number of connected devices.

In addition to ramping up deployment of key digital technologies, existing data and digital assets need to be better utilised to provide benefits for consumers and the energy system.

In 2019, it was estimated that utilities were leveraging only around 2-4% of the data collected.

The report also points out the importance of international collaboration programmes for smart grids as a key enabler for their sustainable development, while also large scale interconnectors are highlighted as of vital importance for decarbonisation in certain regions such as the EU, sub-Saharan Africa and China.

Net zero in UK hinges on transmission grid upgrades – Aurora Energy Fri, 28 Jul 2023 11:55:00 +0000 According to British energy research company Aurora Energy Research, the UK electricity transmission grid is unequipped to accommodate the increased influx of renewable generation capacity, creating a ‘key stumbling block’ in the country’s race to net zero.

This is according to Aurora’s Down To The Wire: The Role Of Networks In Delivering The Energy Transition, a strategic insights report released to Aurora Energy Research subscribers.

Closing the curtailment gap

The report finds that the UK’s electricity transmission system has not expanded at the same pace as its renewable generation portfolio, necessitating curtailment to fill the gap between generation and grid capacity, so as to avoid grid malfunction.

Closing this gap, states Aurora, will be crucial for the UK’s net zero pathway; expanding renewable capacity alone will not suffice.

Their studies show that, if Britain were to install the needed 40GW of offshore wind power without adequate transmission system upgrades, power sector emissions from now to 2050 would surpass the total required to reach net zero by 55%.

By contrast, delivering all of the grid upgrades currently planned by energy market regulator Ofgem and TSO National Grid would cause power sector emissions in 2023-2050 to fall 9% below the same level required.

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Ashutosh Padelkar, GB research associate at Aurora Energy Research, commented on the UK net zero modelling: “Delivering the grid upgrades planned by Ofgem and National Grid would require nearly 10,000km of additional transmission lines: a very tall order.

“Long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies could provide a useful complementary solution to rising curtailment alongside grid expansion, but the lack of a route to market for these technologies is a barrier to investment.”

Costs will even out

Within their report, Aurora emphasises that costs should not deter action to expand the grid.

Delaying grid buildout, they state, would not reduce costs for consumers. And failing to deliver all the grid upgrades currently planned by Ofgem and National Grid would not cost any less than deploying the required infrastructure in time, their modelling shows.

The buildout envisaged by Ofgem and National Grid would cost an additional £49 billion ($62.7 billion) compared to Aurora’s inadequate upgrades’ scenario, but the increase would be offset by lower grid management costs due to reduced curtailment.

Total power system costs, ultimately borne by consumers, under both scenarios are roughly equal, whereas the “upgrades delivered” scenario costs just under 1% less.

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A not-so-straightforward conundrum

However, Aurora adds how deploying the necessary grid infrastructure to reach net zero will not be straightforward.

Specifically, planned transmission upgrades in the UK would cause cumulative steel demand for the transmission system to rise by 450% between 2025 and 2035.

Britain will also face strong competition globally to meet this demand—Aurora forecasts Germany and Spain each to deploy more than three times as much additional grid infrastructure by 2050 as Britain, for example, likely straining global supply chains.

Expansion projects in Britain also face the challenge of securing planning permission, with projects typically taking 6-8 years to obtain all of the required permits to begin construction. Growing backlash from local residents poses a key obstacle to streamlining the process.

Richard Howard, global research director for Aurora Energy Research, commented: “Great Britain has made great strides in building wind and solar projects over the past decade and has ambitious targets to deploy more renewable power generation.

“This is necessary but not sufficient to deliver our net zero targets: we also need to accelerate investment in grid capacity to link these projects to our cities and towns. Britain already faces a growing problem of having to turn off significant amounts of renewable power when the grid is constrained and this will increase sharply unless we deliver the required grid upgrades in time.”

Renewable power generation represents one of the UK’s “greatest successes in the race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050,” states Aurora in a release announcing the findings from their Down to the Wires report.

The country’s installed renewable power generation capacity was found to have more than tripled from 2012 to 2022, allowing renewable power plants to account for 41% of total electricity generation in 2022.

Xcel Energy proposes 100 mile transmission upgrade Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:08:00 +0000 Minnesota-based electric utility and natural gas delivery company Xcel Energy is proposing to upgrade nearly 100 miles of transmission line in Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.

The company says this would allow it to deliver more low-cost renewable energy to electric customers throughout the Upper Midwest.

The company filed a Certificate of Need application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to install a second circuit on two segments of the existing Brookings County-Hampton transmission line. The new second circuit will run between Brookings, South Dakota and Marshall, Minnesota. Xcel Energy is leading the permitting and construction efforts.

The transmission project will provide additional capacity to relieve congestion on the grid, allowing more low-cost wind power from southwest Minnesota and eastern South Dakota to reach customers throughout the region. Wind energy does not have any fuel costs and contributes to a diversified energy mix, which helps protect against rising fuel prices. Xcel says the project supports its vision of delivering 100% carbon-free electricity in Minnesota by 2040 to meet the state’s new clean energy standards.

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Most of the proposed project will not require changes to the existing transmission line route, which began operation in 2015 as part of the CapX2020 project, a joint project with several other utilities. At that time, the Public Utilities Commission and CapX2020 companies agreed there would likely be a need for new transmission in the future. As a result, the project team constructed the middle portion of the line between Lyon and Scott counties with two circuits and built the western and eastern segments as “double circuit capable.” This allowed the companies to meet customers’ energy needs at the time while anticipating growing energy demand in the future.

The new second circuit would be placed on existing transmission structures and run approximately 60 miles from the Brookings County substation near White, South Dakota to the Lyon County substation near Marshall, Minnesota. A second 39-mile segment would run between the Helena substation in Scott County, Minnesota, and the Hampton substation in Dakota County, Minnesota.

The Public Utilities Commission will review Xcel Energy’s proposal, a process that generally takes up to one year and includes opportunities for input from customers, landowners, and other key stakeholders. If the state approves the project, the company expects to start installing the new circuit in 2024 and finish the project in 2025.

The project is expected to include investment by Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Great River Energy, Missouri River Energy Services, and Otter Tail Power Company.

Originally published by Sean Wolfe for Power Grid.

UK energy regulator investigates domestic demand side response Thu, 24 Aug 2023 09:11:00 +0000 Ofgem has issued a call for input on how best to engage domestic consumers in demand side response (DSR) in the hopes of enabling the UK’s rising electricity consumption to better match its increasing number of intermittent renewable energy sources.

According to the regulator, domestic DSR, which entails consumers adjusting consumption in response to the needs of the energy system and being rewarded through reduced bills, is a key element in achieving Government plans to decarbonise.

New market reforms and regulations are being developed in the UK to manage the expanding domestic DSR market, underpinned by digitalisation and decentralisation, which enables better monitoring and response to grid activity.

However, for domestic DSR to work at scale, states Ofgem, it also needs large scale consumer participation. Ofgem is thus seeking input from energy sector stakeholders on how to facilitate the transition to consumers becoming flexible energy consumers.

Have you read:
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Australian smart buildings trial to test flexible demand response tech

Marzia Zafar, deputy director of digitalisation and innovation at Ofgem, said: “domestic demand side response is about optimising the way we consume energy, so it works best for a decarbonised energy system and consumers. The key to unlocking high consumer uptake is making it both attractive and easy to participate in.”

“It is not Ofgem’s role to specify what this domestic DSR journey should look like, but it is important that it is not left to chance.”

According to Ofgem, it’s anticipated that in the UK there will be many different ways for consumers to engage with Domestic DSR both manually and via automation.

The simplest and most common method of engagement, they add, is expected to be automated DSR, whereby consumers configure smart devices with default off-peak time settings, optimising consumption against time-of-use tariffs and choosing to have a third party manage their participation in flexibility markets.

Zafar added that “as the regulator, we are seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders including those working in industry, the providers of smart home and transport assets, consumer representatives and other parties’ interested in flexibility.

“This will help build a shared vision of what the emerging domestic DSR customer journey should look like and how to make that vision a reality.”

Ofgem’s inquiry comes in as energy demand in the country continues to grow with the proliferating number of clean tech assets, such as EVs and electric heating systems, coming online and adding stress to the UK’s electricity grid.

The call for input is now open and will close on Friday 29 September 2023.

Transgrid signs AU$100mn for 17,500km of high voltage conductors Wed, 16 Aug 2023 12:29:44 +0000 In preparing to deliver priority grid projects, Australia’s largest TSO Transgrid has finalised an AU$100 million ($64.7 million) contract with ZTT Australia to supply 17,500km of high voltage conductors – enough to stretch from Sydney to Dublin, claims the operator.

The high voltage conductors contract is part of the Powering Tomorrow Together programme run by Transgrid, bundling procurement for major projects HumeLink, VNI West and EnergyConnect.

The programme will enable Transgrid to purchase materials, such as substation equipment, earlier and at a lower cost, enabling limited resources to be used across multiple projects.

The orders are also supported by AU$385 million ($249 million) Australian Government underwriting as part of the Rewiring the Nation program.

Have you read:
Australian smart buildings trial to test flexible demand response tech
Transgrid to tender battery projects as Australia is named market leader

Commenting on the announcement in a release was Transgrid CEO Brett Redman: “We continue to build our global supply chain to secure the specialised kit needed to build the future clean energy grid and ensure competitive and efficient delivery of the Federal Government’s energy plans.

“We are also finalising a separate contract with another Australian company to supply other locally-produced conductor elements.”

Dean Farrar, ZTT Australia’s general manager, said the conductors will be manufactured in equipment manufacturer ZTT Group’s Hekou manufacturing campus and will be delivered to Australia in 2024 and 2025.

“We are honoured to be partnering with Transgrid for their current and future major projects. This contract builds on our ongoing commitment to support the Australian energy and telecommunications markets, now and into the future,” stated Farrar.

This year Transgrid also secured 15 shunt reactors and 25 single-phase transformers worth approximately AU$150 million ($97 million), with arrival planned for late 2024.

According to Transgrid, more than 2,500km of new transmission lines are needed to ensure access to renewable generators and interconnection between regions required to drive down wholesale energy costs.

Over the next decade, Transgrid plans to invest AU$14 billion ($9.4 billion) to build new transmission infrastructure including the AU$7 billion ($4.7 billion), 1,600km Southern Superhighway made up of three major critical transmission projects – EnergyConnect, HumeLink and VNI West.

Transgrid’s Powering Tomorrow Together Program is bundling procurement for these three projects to secure needed equipment and materials.

UK and Australian energy trading portfolios in attempted hack Wed, 23 Aug 2023 11:00:57 +0000 Energy One, a supplier of software products and services to wholesale energy, environmental and carbon trading markets in the Asia Pacific and UK and Europe, has put out a statement confirming a cyber-attack affecting corporate systems in the UK and Australia.

Details on affected companies have not been released, although the company is conducting an analysis into potentially affected systems.

Energy One offers solutions and services, managing the “entire wholesale energy portfolio” for customers in energy trading and logistics, serving energy retailers, generators, users, customers and traders, ranging from startups to multinational organisations.

According to the company’s statement, immediate steps were taken to limit the impact of the incident. The company engaged cybersecurity specialists, CyberX, and alerted the Australian Cyber Security Centre and UK authorities.

As part of the company’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the attack, certain links were disabled between its corporate and customer-facing systems.

Have you read:
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The company is currently coordinating an ongoing inquiry and response into the incident to determine what information and systems were affected.

Another priority, states the company, is determining the initial point of entry.

Commenting on the incident was Camellia Chan, CEO and co-founder of Flexxon, an AI cybersecurity specialist company, who stated that “the Energy One cyber-attack demonstrates the increasing risk threat actors pose to critical national infrastructure (CNI).”

According to Chan, CNI marks prime targets for cybercriminals as their “systems are underpinned by a myriad of complex devices, meaning the consequences if these are infiltrated can be devastating and put real people at risk. For example, SSE supplies gas and electricity to seven million homes and is an Energy One customer.”

Cybersecurity gaps and QR codes

States Chan: “To meet the fast-evolving threat landscape, businesses need to be proactive in assessing security gaps and address those with innovative and proven tools. Using low-level AI at the hardware level in devices, for example, is a game-changer.

“Unlike traditional cybersecurity measures, this robust last line of defence protects against sophisticated attacks while removing the need for human intervention.

“Ultimately, for all organisations, but CNI in particular, cyber security must be an integral part of IT systems. One Energy shows us you can’t afford to have weak spots.”

The announcement of the attack on Energy One comes as cybersecurity has been growing as a concern for those in the energy sector.

In the same week as Energy One announcement, US-based computer security services company Cofense published an analysis of an observed large phishing campaign.

The campaign utilised QR codes targeting Microsoft credentials of users from various sectors; “the most notable target” states the company in a blog post, was “a major energy company in the US, saw about 29% of the over 1,000 emails containing malicious QR codes.”

Also of interest:
ENTSO-E and ENCS on mitigating cyber risks
Cybersecurity: Don’t be a sitting duck for energy sector hackers

According to Cofense author Nathaniel Raymond, the energy company was the main focus of the campaign, which sent out phishing emails containing PNG images with phishing links or redirects through a QR code, with the majority of them being Bing redirect URLs.

Raymond states that QR codes can reach inboxes with hidden malicious links. These links can also be embedded into other images to disguise the QR code as an image attachment, or embedded image in a PDF file.

“While automation such as QR scanners and image recognition can be the first line of defense, it is not always guaranteed that the QR code will be picked up, especially if it’s embedded into a PNG or PDF file.

“Therefore, it is also imperative that employees are trained not to scan QR codes in emails they receive. This will help ensure that accounts and businesses security remain safe,” concludes Raymond.

Introducing human behaviours to the smart grid Thu, 24 Aug 2023 07:35:00 +0000 South Dakota Mines university professor Long Zhao has secured a grant to study human behaviour patterns for incorporation in the next-generation smart grid.

The human factor, when it comes to the use of distributed generation such as rooftop solar and its delivery to the grid is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to the modern grid.

Zhao, who directs Mines’ Smart Grid and Energy Research Lab, intends to study this human factor and this in turn could be incorporated so that the grid could predict how it will then be used by the humans.

Zhao says that while there is a great deal of effort underway right now to build the technology and infrastructure needed to run smart grids, the one thing missing from current research is the human factor.

Have you read?
Smart grids and digitalisation – more effort needed says IEA
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“The most important part of the equation is people, and we are trying to understand human behaviour to help build the most robust and fully functional smart grid models.”

The grant from the National Science Foundation is worth almost $200,000 over the next two years.

Specifically the intention is to introduce a data-driven approach to analyse and explicitly model power demand behaviour at the household level using real-world long-term data.

The goal is to reveal macro- and micro-residential power demand patterns, through matching 15-minute resolution smart meter data with consumer surveys, along with local parcel data and meteorological data, to achieve a comprehensive understanding of residential power demand behaviour at a disaggregated level.

This should then lay the foundation for research focused on data-driven analysis and modelling for next-generation power grids.

The primary contribution of the project is intended to be the development of a data-driven temperature-time-day-based model for residential power demand behaviour, relying solely on real-world data.

Zhao anticipates that the research also should have wider impacts, with the proposed model potentially readily expanded to other domains such as water usage.

It also should contribute to better understanding incentive effectiveness in changing consumer behaviour, particularly in green consumption.

Alongside the project a new ‘Smart Grid and Data Science’ curriculum will be developed, combining power engineering and social science.

Partners in the project include the local coop West River Electric Association and the chamber of commerce Elevate Rapid City.

Smoke impact on solar PV

The new project comes as Zhao has just completed another study on the impact of wildfire smoke on solar PV.

While solar energy production is likely to be impacted by low-level smoke, the project found that the output of individual solar panels can be reduced by nearly 50%, even when the smoke is present at high altitudes and air quality near the ground is not significantly impacted.

Moreover, the fluctuations vary with the intensity of the smoke, which often varies, indicating the importance of taking this into account as solar becomes more widespread in wildfire-prone areas and beyond given the propensity for the smoke to potentially travel large distances in the air.

US demand for electrification metals set to soar one year into IRA Sat, 19 Aug 2023 11:47:00 +0000 According to a new study from S&P Global, one year after the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), US energy transition demand for critical minerals needed for clean tech such as EVs, charging infrastructure, solar PV, wind and batteries, is expected to significantly increase.

The forecast demand is a new challenge surfacing for the US, which now needs to face exponentially increasing demand for critical minerals.

This is according to the New York-based financial information and analytics company’s study, Inflation Reduction Act: Impact on North America metals and minerals report, which finds that the historic policy is accelerating demand for critical minerals and copper that are vital to energy transition technologies.

They add that ensuring enough qualifying supply to meet that demand faces ‘considerable challenges’.

Accelerated demand

Namely, US energy transition demand from clean tech such as EVs, charging infrastructure, solar PV, wind and batteries, will continue to accelerate and be materially higher for lithium (+15%), cobalt (+14%) and nickel (+13%) by 2035 than was projected before the IRA was enacted in August 2022.

According to the study, demand for copper will be 12% higher by 2035 than pre-IRA projections. Copper is not currently listed as a critical mineral in the United States and does not qualify for IRA tax credits. However, its role as the “metal of electrification” makes it vital to the energy transition and demand for it will rise as it is used alongside critical minerals in energy transition applications.

Adding the post-IRA demand increases on top of demand growth that was already expected prior to the IRA becoming law means that total combined energy transition-related demand for lithium, nickel and cobalt will be 23 times higher in 2035 than it was in 2021. Total demand for copper will be twice as high, the study finds.

Have you read:
Critical minerals investments surged by 30% finds IEA
IRENA warns monopoly of critical materials market a risk to energy transition

While post-IRA demand is expected to be materially higher, securing enough supply under the law’s sourcing requirements faces considerable challenges, the study says. To qualify for IRA tax credits, processing and/or extraction of critical minerals used must be in the US and/ or in a country with which the US has a free trade agreement (FTA); and that sourcing cannot involve a “foreign entity of concern.”

Commenting on the study was Daniel Yergin, S&P Global’s vice chairman: “This new comprehensive analysis shows that the Inflation Reduction Act is indeed transformative on the demand side.

“However, challenges remain in securing supply of critical minerals needed to meet growing demand and achieve its goal of accelerating the energy transition.”

Material breakdown

Of the four materials analysed in the study, only lithium is likely to be sufficiently supplied to the United States under the IRA’s domestic content requirements, given already-planned capacity additions in the United States and other FTA countries such as Chile, Canada and Australia, the study finds.

Cobalt and nickel were both found to be unlikely to be sourced at levels high enough to meet demand.

While there is enough cobalt produced in FTA countries to meet the IRA domestic sourcing requirement, the United States does not currently source most of its cobalt from those countries. Doing so would require a challenging reorientation of trading patterns across several countries given intense international competition for resources, the study says.

Nickel was found to be the most challenged in terms of supply. There does not appear to be enough nickel supply in FTA countries to meet demand under the IRA requirements—even if all primary nickel production in FTA countries was exported to the US.

While copper is not subject to sourcing requirements under the IRA, ensuring access to enough supply to meet US demand post-IRA is also at risk, the study says. The United States will become more reliant on imports as growing demand for energy transition-related end markets outpace domestic supply.

Also of interest:
US and EU to coordinate critical mineral strategy
What’s in the Net Zero Industry and Critical Raw Materials Acts?

For example, the United States relies on one country, Chile, for 60% of refined copper imports. However, for Chile the United States accounts for only 20% of its refined copper exports. The United States could struggle to secure additional supplies from Chile if other markets that represent a larger share of Chilean exports also compete for that supply.

The increasing reliance of the United States on imports as energy transition demand grows places new emphasis and urgency on challenges such as long lead times and permitting complexities that prolong development of domestic resources, the study says. S&P Global data on 127 mines across the world that began production between 2002 and 2023 shows that a major new resource discovery today would not become a productive mine until 2040 or later.

Copper represents a particular opportunity in the United States, which country possesses more than 70 million tons of an untapped copper endowment, equivalent to more than 20 years of US copper demand, even at the level of peak energy transition-related demand in 2035, the study says.

“Timely and transparent permitting is a fundamental operational challenge to supplying metals for the energy transition, particularly in developed markets such as the United States that have high levels of transparency and both political and civil society scrutiny of policy,” said Mohsen Bonakdarpour, executive director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“Expediting permitting reform while meeting environmental and community concerns has become a central topic in boosting mineral supply for the energy transition.”

AI to fundamentally change current systems in the energy sector – experts Mon, 21 Aug 2023 09:02:47 +0000 Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to play a significant role in the energy sector and will simplify decision-making when it comes to analysing consumer patterns and their economic impact.

This was one of the key messages from Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape province of South Africa, who hosted an Energy Digicon under the theme What role will Artificial Intelligence play in the future of energy generation?

Keynote speaker Martin Svensson, co-director of AI Sweden, said looking ahead, AI will impose greater challenges on the energy sector.

Citing the conversion of the automotive sector to a fully electric-based one, Svensson said the question is how to build the new system by harnessing AI.

Svensson said that in the future, individuals would also be able to produce their own energy, largely from solar power and AI applications would be integrated into this.

“Imagine a future where we are our own energy producers and what we produce we will be able to trade and have a system that optimises that from a financial perspective.” 

Forging a new energy system

Referencing think-tank RethinkX’s research – Rethinking Energy 2020-2030 – which says that we are on “the cusp of the fastest, deepest, most profound disruption of the energy sector in over a century”, Svensson said the current system will be disrupted by a new one.

RethinkX says that with most disruptions, this one is being driven by the convergence of several key technologies whose costs and capabilities have been improving on consistent and predictable trajectories.

These are solar photovoltaic power, wind power and lithium-ion battery energy storage. 

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“Our analysis shows that 100% clean electricity from the combination of solar, wind, and batteries (SWB) is both physically possible and economically affordable across the entire continental United States as well as the overwhelming majority of other populated regions of the world by 2030,” said RethinkX.

“Adoption of SWB is growing exponentially worldwide and disruption is now inevitable because by 2030 they will offer the cheapest electricity option for most regions. Coal, gas, and nuclear power assets will become stranded during the 2020s, and no new investment in these technologies is rational from this point forward.”

Energy systems run completely on renewable energy sources

Svensson said the new energy system will look completely different to the current one. He said, for a province like the Western Cape, the future system could be one without loadshedding. This would be achieved through a system that would be 100% solar, wind and battery based. 

“This is not driven by the current issues you face or by climate activism, but economical forces. That’s why I’m confident this will happen. There is a lot of positive opportunities.”

Svensson said solar and wind are already the cheapest new-generation options. It also costs less than existing coal, gas and nuclear power plants. The cost of SWB systems will fall another 70% by 2030, making disruption “inevitable”.

In terms of the Western Cape, Svensson said the region could have a “future of energy abundance.”

Based on modelling from California in the US, which has a similar solar and wind profile to the Western Cape, Svensson said in the next 10 years, the province could generate 14GW of solar, 1.7GW of wind and 80GWh of energy storage.

“This ‘super power’ will be enough to electrify the entire transportation sector and more,” said Svensson. He said the province had already started on this journey.

“This is within reach… The opportunity is here to accelerate this. This will solve the current situation,” said Svensson.

In terms of scepticism around AI, Svensson said it was important to learn and understand AI to help mitigate any possible risks it may pose. 

“We need to learn how to use it, but we do need to learn how to manage risks over time.”

Also of interest:
Navigating energy management in an evolving landscape
Energy sector will ‘transform the world for the better’ says Engie boss Catherine MacGregor 

AI to play a huge role in the energy space

Special Advisor to the Premier on Energy, Alwie Lester, said AI will start to play a lot more of a critical role in the energy space.

“With the advent of AI, you could have a dynamic system that is managed by information and data that’s readily available and processed quite quickly,” Lester said.

“Typically, you could have a system operator that responds to things very differently based on AI as opposed to the conventional way we are responding to the system at the moment.”

“In the general energy space, I think we will start to see AI play a lot more of a critical role because you’re sitting with millions and millions of terabytes of information, especially the energy information but also economic and consumer information,” Lester added.

“And if you have the ability to sort of link these, your decisions around what energy at what point and at what price becomes rather easier when you have a system that can do this for you. The opportunity for AI to play a bigger role, particularly in the energy space is huge.

“We need to encourage the industry to look at this more holistically and not just try and solve one problem with it.

“But also look at it as part of the industry going forward.” 

Originally published by Yunus Kemp on ESI.

28 Sep: Incorrect asset data – why it puts congestion management strategies at risk Thu, 17 Aug 2023 07:43:35 +0000 Broadcast: Thursday, 28 September 2023

09h00 New York | 13h00 GMT | 14h00 London | 15h00 Amsterdam | 15h00 Johannesburg | 17h00 Dubai | 18h30 New Delhi | 21h00 Singapore

60-minute session

Congestion management is a challenge for many grid Distribution System Operators (DSOs) and to reliably manage congestion they require detailed insights into the hot spots and bottlenecks, accurate forecasting and network calculations and collaboration between customers, market parties and stakeholders but this all needs to be underpinned with precise asset data.

Stedin, DSO for 2.3+ million customers in the Netherlands, realised that the asset data they used for their network calculations resulted in anomalies.

Join this webinar to hear industry experts discuss:
• Stedin’s approach to validating asset data for their 22,000 Medium Voltage substations
• The value Stedin is getting from the uplifted asset data
• Use cases for reducing incidents, congestion management, capacity planning and asset management


Wouter van Deurzen, Data Quality Manager | Stedin

André Kleinrensink, Project Director | eSmart Systems

Flexibility record set in GB Mon, 21 Aug 2023 06:11:08 +0000 Britain’s electricity network companies tendered a record 4.6GW of capacity on local flexibility markets last year, with 1.9GW contracted, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has reported.

The ENA states its figures show that more than 70% of the contracted capacity is made up of low-carbon technologies, including stored energy accounting for about one-third, solar and water.

It is also the highest amount of the service tendered in Great Britain.

Compared with 2021-2022, the 2022-2023 year was 1GW up on tendered flexibility, although only marginally up on the contracted.

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Moreover, the current year is on track to record similarly high levels at around 4.6GW of tendered flexibility, with 2.4GW contracted.

Dr Avi Aithal, Head of Open Networks at the ENA, said these statistics show just how far flexibility has come.

“We believe these figures make Great Britain one of the biggest flexibility markets in the world. But today’s success is history tomorrow, so we need to keep pushing on and maximising flexibility across the networks.”

The figures indicate that of the network operators, UK Power Networks was the most active in terms of flexibility connections in the year.

Alongside the release of the figures, the ENA reports launching a new framework and benchmarking to give market participants greater visibility on the implementation of the ‘Open networks’ programme to deliver a standardised flexibility market and to provide greater transparency and highlight progress.

Current key focuses of the programme, now in its sixth year, are on making it easier for service providers to participate by standardising products and processes, improving the operational coordination between networks and companies and improving the transparency of processes, reporting and decision-making.

The Piclo Flex platform has emerged as the flexibility service procurement platform of choice in Britain, now being used by four of the six leading network operators – UK Power Networks, Electricity North West, SP Energy Networks and Northern Powergrid – as well as the TSO the Electricity System Operator (ESO).

Why technological innovation is crucial to the success of green energy projects Tue, 15 Aug 2023 09:09:50 +0000 Recent news of a number of green energy projects being delayed due to a lack of capacity on the grid has shone a light on the complex technological challenges the energy & utilities (E&U) sector is facing.

And with the UK government aiming to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, I believe the sector’s technology needs to undergo significant modernisation efforts if it’s to adequately support the rollout of sustainable energy solutions.

By Stephen Magennis, Head of Energy & Utilities, EU at Expleo

It’s a sentiment that resonates across the industry. For instance, our recent Business Transformation Index research found half of energy business leaders believe digital transformation is crucial for enhancing access to affordable power amid our current energy crisis.

However, the research also revealed that E&U organisations face several key barriers to adopting transformative technologies, such as technology immaturity, exposure to cybersecurity risks, and the skills gap. In this piece, I’ll explore these challenges and discuss how they can be overcome.

Technology as a vehicle for change

Over the past few years, the energy sector has demonstrated that technology can be a driver of sustainable change. This is exemplified in the numerous eco-friendly breakthroughs we’ve seen – from industrial heat pumps to solar powered trains.

In a sector that has traditionally been difficult to digitalise, the rate of transformation is picking up pace, a trend I expect to continue. For example, energy leaders now see the modernisation of data management as a key business priority. With its potential to provide flexibility, balance demand for intermittent renewables and drive efficiencies for suppliers, the benefits of accurate real-time data are evident.

On the infrastructure side, modernising data management can help facilitate the roll-out of smart grids to deliver data-driven operations, and enable better decision-making, predictive maintenance, and energy distribution. This translates to a more reliable and resilient system as E&U decision-makers utilise real-time data to improve planning and efficiency.

However, despite all this progress, nearly half (44%) of energy business leaders believe they will miss deadlines to deliver digital change in 2023 – up from 17% in 2022.

Have you read:
Price cannibalisation a threat to renewable project revenues finds report
UK gives green light for ‘world’s largest’ battery project

The barriers to digital transformation

Among our clients, we’re seeing resources and attention being diverted towards the effects of the energy crisis. It has heavily interrupted the delivery of transformation projects, including efforts to decarbonise or pivot away from hydrocarbons.

For instance, energy sector business transformation plans are still being hampered by the immaturity of certain key technologies, such as batteries, energy storage and carbon capture solutions. And the volatile investment climate and uncertainty around government support for these technologies in some markets is only exacerbating the issue.

Cybersecurity is also causing concern, with 65% of energy leaders expect their organisations to be victims of cyber-attack or data breaches in the next 12 months. There appears to be greater awareness around critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and the risk of attacks from cyber criminals, but there are still defensive gaps that need to be plugged.

Finally, 83% of leaders agree they’ve under-invested in the technological skills base of their employees. This has hindered transformation plans, as skilled professionals are integral to rolling out new technology across an organisation.

Looking to the future

For E&U companies, the focus must be on overcoming these barriers to technology deployment whilst addressing the sustainability agenda.

It starts with a focus on modernising technology they use, so they’re able to maintain accurate and up-to-date data. With existing operational models relying heavily on legacy systems and complex assets, it’s re-assuring that data management, quality, and governance are energy leaders’ top priorities.

At the heart of this solution lies talent. Addressing the sector’s skills gaps will require both internal training and external support to equip workforces with digital skills and encourage innovation. To ease the pressure in the short term, businesses can look to increase engagement with temporary or contractual labour who are experienced in the adoption of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

And it should all be underpinned by a robust cybersecurity strategy. When working to modernise their technology infrastructure, businesses must create and maintain robust cybersecurity measures such as regular vulnerability assessments, strong encryption, and continuous threat monitoring. Energy organisations should also focus on implementing employee cyber awareness and best practice.

Overall, these technological challenges need to be overcome quickly to develop solutions that benefit consumers and meet net-zero targets. Because if these issues can be addressed, businesses will also improve their operational resilience as they will have clearer understanding of their vulnerabilities. As such, they’ll be more adept at plugging these holes and better optimise their operational functions – significantly increasing their competitive advantage in the process.


Stephen Magennis has been managing director and head of energy & utilities, EU at Expleo since 2019.

GE Vernova acquires Greenbird to accelerate GridOS® innovation and help utilities reduce the complexity of energy data integration Tue, 15 Aug 2023 07:36:31 +0000
  • Acquisition highlights GE Vernova’s commitment to invest strategically in technologies and talent that help accelerate the sustainable energy grid.
  • Greenbird’s utility-focused technology and data integration experts will expand the capabilities of the company’s GridOS® software portfolio, allowing grid operators to more easily connect systems and integrate data at scale.
  • Reducing the complexity of big data integration for utilities creates more opportunities for AI-driven grid automation and enables them to move at speed to meet decarbonization targets and electrification demand while managing climate-related disruptions.
  • CAMBRIDGE, MA. – August 14, 2023 – GE Vernova’s Digital business today announced it has acquired Greenbird Integration Technology AS, a data integration platform company focused on utilities. This acquisition highlights GE Vernova’s commitment to investing in technologies and talent that help accelerate the sustainable energy grid.

    The platform will accelerate GridOS®, the world’s first software portfolio designed specifically for grid orchestration, adding new capabilities for connecting systems and integrating data across the grid more easily and at scale. The financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

    “Utilities have an urgent need to connect data from multiple sources to gain visibility and effectively automate their grid operations. Fragmented data is a major obstacle to modernizing the grid and is holding the energy transition back,” said Scott Reese, CEO of GE Vernova’s Digital business.

    “The Greenbird acquisition brings the proven ability to connect multiple data sources and accelerates our vision for GridOS that is making energy security a reality for many of the world’s leading utilities. Data and AI are key to helping utilities run a reliable and resilient grid and this acquisition is a massive accelerant to making that vision a reality for utilities of all sizes.”

    The GridOS orchestration software platform and application suite enables secure and reliable grid operations while delivering resiliency and flexibility needed by utilities worldwide. GridOS delivers these tools with the cloud service provider and system integrator partner ecosystem necessary to accelerate grid modernization and the energy transition. The software portfolio uses a federated data fabric to pull together energy data, network modelling, and AI-driven analytics from across the grid.

    The Greenbird acquisition will expand the capabilities of the data fabric, eliminating data silos to make it faster and easier to connect and aggregate energy data, reducing the time and expense of data integration projects. This also better connects modern software like Advanced Energy Management System (AEMS), Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS), and Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS), creating new opportunities for grid automation.

    “Having access to utility data in context gives grid operators an opportunity to better leverage AI for automation and potentially enables the grid to be self-describing and self-healing in the future,” said Mahesh Sudhakaran, General Manager, Grid Software at GE Vernova’s Digital business. “This is the vision we have for grid orchestration enabled by the GridOS portfolio, and this acquisition provides both the technology and the talent to help us get there.”

    “We started in 2010 with a mission to simplify data integration for utilities, helping them leverage data to run smarter, more efficient analytics-driven services to accelerate the energy transition,” said Thorsten Heller, CEO of Greenbird Integration Technology. “Our technology platform is purpose-built to support a distributed data and IT architecture and aligns perfectly with GE Vernova’s vision for the GridOS federated grid data fabric and one network model, providing the data foundation utilities need to transform their operations.”

    An example of the need for more connected and integrated data is evident in the exponential growth predicted for electric vehicles (EVs) – there are expected to be 77M EVs on the road by 2025 and 229M by 2030 – that will both draw from and possibly contribute to the grid as “rolling batteries” that can be tapped when demand is high and supply is low. Integration of data from multiple sources like charging stations as well as operations, forecasting, billing, and other systems can support the success of future use cases such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) while keeping the grid safe.

    Read more news from Greenbird

    Data integration is also key to solving renewables connection challenges. Approximately 1,350 gigawatts of additional, mostly sustainable power capacity is waiting to be constructed and connected to the grid. This large-scale interconnection backlog results in wasted capacity and unutilized investment. Scenario planning and grid simulations can provide an opportunity to increase line capacity and drive deeper visibility into the impact of such assets on the grid, allowing capacity to be connected faster and helping to reduce hundreds of millions of dollars of traditional back-up generators. Such use cases require the integration of forecasting, simulation, historical grid OT, sensor, line, and inertia data.

    The Greenbird integration platform is delivered as a service (iPaaS) and is built with containerization and a suite of cloud services, which will accelerate the availability of key GridOS components. In addition, GE Vernova welcomes Greenbird’s innovative team to the Grid Software group, including data specialists skilled in developing and deploying distributed data processes at scale for utilities. The acquisition will advance the AI- and data-driven vision for GridOS that GE Vernova’s Digital business believes will solve grid orchestration challenges while cultivating an energy data ecosystem that advances decarbonization and electrification at scale.

    Learn more about GridOS

    About GE Vernova’s Digital Business

    GE Vernova’s Digital business is putting data to work to accelerate a new era of energy. We deliver the platforms and intelligent applications necessary to accelerate electrification and decarbonization across the energy ecosystem – from how power is created, how it is orchestrated, to how it is consumed. More than 20,000 customers around the globe use our software to help plan, predict, manage, and optimize operations today for a sustainable tomorrow. For more information, visit the website.

    About Greenbird Integration Technologies

    Greenbird is an international solution and technology company with roots in Norway. We simplify the complexity of Big Data Integration to help organizations unlock the value of their data and mission critical applications. Our flagship innovation, Utilihive, is a cloud-native platform combining enterprise integration capabilities with a data lake optimized for energy use cases. We founded Greenbird in 2010 with a mission to revolutionize how the energy industry thinks about enterprise system integration. Today, Utilihive is used by more than 230 utilities across Europe, Middle East and Asia serving more than 50 million consumers. Greenbird is headquartered in Oslo and has around 50 employees, comprising primarily of senior developers and consultants and specializing in technology development and customer onboarding of the Utilihive platform. To learn how you can unleash the value of data while removing silos, explore more at

    Media contact:

    Rachael Van Reen:

    50Hertz and ENERTRAG test reactive renewable power for the grid Thu, 20 Jul 2023 10:04:07 +0000 German TSO 50Hertz and ENERTRAG SE, an operator of renewable energy plants, have launched a joint pilot project near Bertikow in Brandenburg, Germany, to provide reactive power to the grid through renewable energy.

    At Bertikow, wind turbines and other renewable generation systems with a total capacity of over 500MW are connected to the nearby 50Hertz substation. Through the project and in the future, they will provide the reactive power necessary for voltage stability, and thus overall grid stability, even when little wind feed-in is available.

    Reactive power, states 50Hertz, ensures the smooth transmission of electricity over long distances. It can be used to compensate for voltage losses during transmission so that as much active power as possible reaches the consumer and the grid functions safely and reliably.

    Until now, reactive power has mainly been provided by conventional power plants while in operation. Under current regulations, renewable energy plants do not have to deliver reactive power in periods when they provide less than 10% of their active power.

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    50Hertz highlights how this presents a challenge for power grid operators as they have to compensate for the necessary reactive power with other technical systems in order to maintain voltage stability at these times.

    However, modern wind turbines are also technically capable of providing reactive power, even when there is little or no wind.

    In the pilot project, ENERTRAG and 50Hertz want to test how reactive power activation works technically in practice and can be contractually designed, including with a view to a future reactive power market.

    “Innovative solutions for reliable power grid operation are absolutely vital for the energy transition,” said Dr Dirk Biermann, chief markets & system operations officer at 50Hertz. “At 50Hertz we’re testing a range of options.

    “The permanent provision of reactive power by renewable energy plants is new technological and regulatory territory. Grid operators at the distribution system level, where the majority of renewable energy systems are directly connected, will therefore also benefit from the insights we’re acquiring here.”

    Smart Energy Finances: Green and sustainability-linked bonds for 50Hertz and Eaton

    “In the context of the energy transition, renewable energy systems will have to fully provide the system service that is currently still supplied to the grid by conventional power plants,” added Thorsten Leske, head of electrical grids at ENERTRAG.

    “In the pilot project, different renewable energy systems will supply reactive power to stabilise the transmission grid, even when there’s no wind. At the same time, this is an example of subordinate distribution grids in which the technical possibilities of renewable energy systems haven’t yet been fully exploited. The next step should be to establish a market model for the provision of reactive power.”

    Hawaiian Electric accused of mismanagement in Maui wildfire wake Thu, 17 Aug 2023 11:31:41 +0000 Hawaiian Electric has come under attack after being accused of potential mismanagement leading to the wildfires that have ravaged the US island state.

    According to S&P Global, the utility’s shares plunged as much as 42% at the start of the week under the threat of a class-action lawsuit in the wake of the wildfires on Maui, which claimed the lives of over 100 people to date and widespread destruction across the island.

    According to S&P, attorneys from three firms in California and Hawaii filed a complaint with the Oahu District Court alleging that Hawaiian Electric equipment “foreseeably ignited the fastmoving, deadly, and destructive Lahaina Fire.”

    S&P notes that the complaint suggests that the utility should have de-energised power lines after the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning and “knew that their electrical infrastructure was inadequate, ageing, and/or vulnerable to foreseeable and known weather conditions.”

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    Reportedly, states the Washington Post, power lines are the likely cause of the fire. Namely, an electrical malfunction was directly correlated with data of a Hawaiian Electric power system problem, adding evidence that the state’s main utility equipment sparked multiple fires.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the utility, which is the parent company of Maui Electric Company and serves 95% of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents, is speaking with restructuring advisory firms to address financial and legal challenges over its potential liabilities.

    S&P Global Ratings has downgraded the utility to BB-, otherwise known as junk status, warning investors that the utility is a risky bet, due to the high risk of default.

    After the wildfires broke out last week, the Hawaiian utility warned of extended outages, which affected over 12,400 customers.

    As of Wednesday, restoration has still been underway on transmission lines, with approximately 2,000 customers remaining without electricity in West Maui.

    According to Hawaiian Electric, crews are currently working to install a second mobile substation to support restoration efforts and more than 100 utility poles will be needed. A shipment is expected to arrive from Oahu covering the utility pole requirements as well as supplying fencing and other equipment.

    According to the National Interagency Fire Centre, 68,988 wildfires burned more than 7.5 million acres of US land last year.

    The lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric is the latest case of a utility being associated with a wildfire. In the past years, lawsuits have been filed against PacifiCorp and PG&E.

    Self-consumption V2G system launched for Chinese national park Tue, 22 Aug 2023 14:53:52 +0000 Shanghai-based automotive company NIO has announced the completion of what they are calling the world’s first V2G photovoltaic self-consumption system in the Qilian Mountain National Park.

    The V2G self-consumption station is operational within Qilian Mountain National Park’s long-term national research base, providing continuous support for ecological patrols and clean, low-carbon energy utilisation within the park.

    According to NIO in a press release, the system marks the first global photovoltaic self-consumption system with V2G (vehicle to grid), composed of photovoltaic power stations, bidirectional V2G charging piles and all-electric vehicles.

    V2G systems allow EVs to serve as distributed mobile energy units, charging during low-demand periods and supplying power during peak times.

    Have you read:
    Is V2X energy transition’s missing piece of the puzzle?
    India to get its first V2G system

    The technology, through the deployment of source-network-storage-load, states NIO, achieves local self-production and self-marketing of green energy and minimises the impact on the external environment.

    Image courtesy NIO.

    V2G bidirectional charging piles offer EV charging services; with the reverse discharge function, surplus vehicle-stored energy is supplied back to the grid for nighttime or emergency use within the park.

    Photovoltaic power energises the system, with an annual average output of about 690,000kWh, fully covering the EV energy consumption within the park.

    Surplus energy can cater to over 50% of other power needs, resulting in an estimated annual carbon reduction of around 55 tonnes.

    Clean Parks initiative

    NIO and WWF previously collaborated together to support the ecological construction of Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, as well as Giant Panda National Park, and became strategic partners of the Clean Parks ecological co-conservation plan in April 2022.

    The V2G announcement marks the commencement of the third phase of the Clean Parks and WWF ecological co-conservation programme.

    The self-consumption facilities were established by Clean Parks in collaboration with NIO, Astronergy and One Earth Nature Foundation in Qilian Mountain National Park, China, on the eve of the Second National Park Forum, under the coordination of the Qinghai Forestry and Grassland Bureau and the WWF.

    New York announces $11m in funding for solving grid challenges Wed, 16 Aug 2023 11:30:47 +0000 New York’s Governor Hochul announced the availability of $11 million in funding through the fourth round of the Future Grid Challenge for projects that identify solutions to the technical challenges of integrating a changing energy resource mix into the electric grid.

    The announcement also included more than $5 million in project awards under the third round of the challenge.

    Modernising the electric grid enhances reliability and resiliency in response to a changing climate, optimises the transmission of power and is intended to support New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to achieve 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

    “With the increasing number of extreme weather events in New York and across the country, we are working hard to modernise our electric grid and support the development of technologies that will improve reliability,” Governor Hochul said. “By making our grid smarter, more flexible and cleaner with the use of renewable energy, we can ensure the reliability of our energy system, reduce emissions and create a more sustainable future for New Yorkers.”

    Have you read:
    National Grid USA to demonstrate UK flexibility marketplace in New York
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    Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), through round four, proposals are sought from single or team providers including researchers, product vendors, asset managers and consultants to develop or demonstrate advanced technologies that will support a reliable modern energy transmission and distribution system. Projects must also advance reduced energy costs and greater quantities of renewables integration, while helping the State meet its climate goals.

    Up to $3 million per project is available to address high-priority grid technologies including:

    • Improved transmission utilisation
    • Operational situational awareness
    • Distribution Energy Management Systems (DERMS)
    • Inverter-based resource integration
    • Power electronics
    • Grid modeling
    • Data analytics
    • Artificial intelligence/machine learning
    • Protection systems

    Projects awarded under Round Three include:

    • Clarkson University – $399,000: To evaluate the stability and reliability risks associated with a high voltage direct current meshed network for offshore wind.
    • Electric Power Research Institute:
      • $397,000: To investigate the unique situations of the onshore power system as a result of increased offshore wind penetration.
      • $2.3 million: To develop a control management software so solar, battery storage and other distributed energy resources (DERs) can provide further benefits to the grid.
      • $400,000: To study how energy storage deployment can address grid stability issues for transmission and sub-transmission networks.
    • New York University – $187,000: To study a methodology for detecting large power transformer defects without disrupting service for maintenance.
    • Quanta Technology – $400,000: To study how intelligent power electronic devices located at large renewable generation plants can be used to improve visibility and grid operator situational awareness.
    • Switched Source – $1 million: To demonstrate a power electronics device’s ability to increase renewable hosting capacity and improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid.

    The Future Grid Challenge offers funding to grid technology companies and research institutions that address challenges ranging from the need for greater real-time system data to incorporating smart technologies and energy storage into power grid planning and operations. The goal of the programme is to foster technologies to enhance resiliency, enable and advance energy infrastructure for the performance needed to achieve the Climate Act goals and ensure reliability of the transmission and distribution system, reducing cost and allowing for faster integration of renewables.

    The announcement builds on NYSERDA’s Grid Modernization Program, which will provide a total of $133 million through 2026 to further research, develop, and provide funding for solutions that support the advancement of a smart, modernised electric grid and enable the utility investments necessary for full deployment at scale of advanced technologies for the power grid.

    Since 2016, NYSERDA’s Smart Grid program has awarded approximately $65 million under 111 contracts to grid technology companies and research organizations for projects including low-cost, high-accuracy grid sensors, modeling and simulation tools and advanced engineering solutions for more effective optimisation, reliability and resiliency and integration of renewable energy resources.

    Originally posted by Sean Wolfe on Power Grid.

    Technology Trending: Kaluza in Australasia, MSc in energy transition, hydrogen train questions Mon, 14 Aug 2023 06:29:19 +0000 Kaluza heads ‘down under’ with a new team, training for the energy transition in Scotland and whether hydrogen trains are before their time are on this week’s technology radar.

    Kaluza heads ‘down under’

    UK headquartered energy software company Kaluza is planning to expand its activities in Australia and New Zealand with an office in Melbourne led up by former London-based client solutions director, Conor Maher-McWilliams.

    Over the next 12 months, Kaluza intends to build a local team of experts to support activity in the region.

    The team will work closely with Kaluza customer AGL Energy, one of Australia’s largest energy retailers and generators, on the ‘OVO Energy Australia’ joint venture to accelerate the adoption of clean energy solutions across the country and develop new EV and solar propositions for AGL’s customers.

    Have you read?
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    Kaluza is also expanding its managed charging programme to New Zealand with Meridian Energy. Through this new service, Kaluza will manage the charging of Meridian Energy’s customers’ EVs in response to their needs as well as market signals and pricing data.

    Scott Neuman, CEO of Kaluza, described the development as “an important milestone” for the company’s global expansion, which so far has extended to Europe, North America and Japan.

    Training for the energy transition

    Britain’s Heriot-Watt University, known for its technical training, is launching a new Master of Science degree programme to provide advanced training in the energy transition.

    The programme, run from the University’s Orkney campus, is taught both in person and online, with a focus on the technologies, systems, processes and economics, alongside the design of transition projects to move away from fossil fuels and accelerate the integration of renewable energy.

    The MSc in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition, to give its full title, has been developed by the mechanical and energy systems engineer Susan Krumdieck and is built around the rapidly growing discipline of ‘transition engineering’, an interdisciplinary approach to change for unsustainable systems across power, transport, industry, real estate and other sectors, according to a statement.

    Krumdieck, who hails originally from New Zealand, is Chair of Energy Transition Engineering at Heriot-Watt and her research group has led the development of ‘transition engineering’ as a discipline since the early 2000s.

    “If the world is to decarbonise and reach net zero emissions by 2050, whole systems will have to be redesigned and redeveloped, including energy infrastructure, technology, regulation and markets,” she commented.

    “A new generation of transition engineering specialists is needed to drive this change – and our MSc ReSET is firmly focused on helping students and professionals develop these vital skills – so they can help to reset global energy systems.”

    The MSc programme has four themes: Transition Engineering, Economics and Commercialisation, Renewable Energy Technology and Energy Systems.

    Hydrogen trains – before their time?

    Germany has been a pioneer with hydrogen-powered trains over the past five years and the rail operator Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG) was the first, a year ago, to launch a network of such trains using Alstom’s Coradia iLint rolling stock.

    But now the company has decided that its future – at least for the next generation – is with battery-powered trains, citing their cheaper operating costs.

    LNVG is now planning to obtain 102 new units with battery-powered technology, which will progressively replace its diesel rolling stock from 2029 onwards until the last diesel is withdrawn in 2037.

    Hydrogen has been billed as the option for emission-free trains on lines that have not been electrified. However, an advantage of the battery-powered trains is that they can run on both electrified lines, drawing on the power and recharging batteries via the pantograph, and non-electrified lines using the battery power with charging from purpose-built charging islands.

    LNVG has not specified what the cost differences are or where they arise. But like hydrogen for road transport, undoubtedly the ‘chicken and egg’ of infrastructure availability vs demand is likely to be a factor.

    With hydrogen-powered trains under test in other locations such as Canada, their potential is very much a space to watch.

    LAISON’s experience with smart water meters and digital billing to deal with major challenges of water utilities Wed, 09 Aug 2023 14:55:18 +0000 As the leading brand in the smart water metering field, LAISON is always the pioneer to bring advanced technologies and business modes into the water sector.

    This passage will showcase LAISON’s experience with Smart water meters and Digital Billing and response to the following major challenges in water companies’ operations:

    1. How to improve the cash flow and revenue?

    Smart water meters provide real-time data on water consumption, ensuring accurate billing and consistent cash flow. They can detect leaks, minimise Non-Revenue Water (NRW) and increase revenue.

    Since the adoption of the Laison prepaid smart water metering solution by the Zambia National Water Supply Corporation (NWSC), both the water fee collection rate and revenue have significantly improved. Laison’s prepaid smart water metering solution enables the water utility to implement remote data collection functionality, allowing utilities to monitor consumption patterns more efficiently, identify customers with overdue bills, and take appropriate actions to recover debts.

    2. How does the smart water metering and smart app help with water management?

    Smart water meters provide real-time data on water consumption, leak detection, and system performance. This information is transmitted to utilities and accessible via Smart Apps, enabling continuous monitoring of water usage and distribution network status. This data is instrumental in long-term planning, infrastructure development, and policy-making for sustainable water management.

    In Nigeria, some water utilities have adopted the LAISON GPRS smart water metering solution, along with the LAISON Aquacyber app. This solution facilitates online water fee payments and empowers users to access smart water meter data. Key features include prepaid billing and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) capabilities, significantly enhancing the water board’s data collection and enabling remote data reading. Consequently, these features contribute to reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) rates.

    3. The Walk by and AMI System application experience for remote data reading

    The Walk-By and AMI System for Remote Meter Data Reading offers various advantages, including improved operational efficiency, accurate billing, customer engagement, and sustainability, making it a valuable utility management tool.

    LAISON has applied its Walk-By and AMI System experience in Zimbabwe. The LAISON AMI system ensures real-time data transmission, allowing utilities to access up-to-date consumption information. This capability enhances decision-making and response times.

    Read more news from LAISON

    During installation, innovative solutions such as DCU pole installations and solar power supply were used to address challenges. These solutions effectively resolved DCU installation and power supply issues, leading to significant cost savings for the local water utility.

    4. How to meet the challenges of technical upgrades on smart metering technology?

    Before upgrading smart metering technology, water utilities should evaluate the current system and define clear objectives for addressing both current and future needs. LAISON offers tailored smart metering solutions and product upgrades. In Malawi, LAISON assisted BWB Water Utility in implementing a phased meter upgrade strategy, transitioning from Volumetric to Parise Series Smart Water Meters. This approach provided cost-effective solutions and extended battery life. Additionally, LAISON offers a comprehensive system solution, including hardware, software, and training.

    For more details please contact

    Self-consumption connections accelerate in Spain Thu, 17 Aug 2023 05:53:24 +0000 Endesa has reported its subsidiary e-distribución activating more self-consumption installations in the first half of 2023 than in all of 2022.

    At the end of June, more than 200,000 individual and collective self-consumption installations were operating on its network, Endesa has reported.

    This follows the connection of 85,000 self-consumption units in that six-month period, compared with 81,800 in all of 2022 and almost 3.5 times more than in 2021.

    In particular there was a notable tripling in the number of collective installations, increasing from 161 at the start of 2023 to 488 by the end of June.

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    Such installations have been the last to join the self-consumption ‘boom’ in Spain, Endesa has indicated, noting they are expected to continue to increase significantly in the future, with almost three-quarters of family homes of this type wanting to participate.

    For example, the almost 500 collective installations are comprised of more than 2,400 customers.

    The more than 200,000 self-consumption installations in Endesa’s network – which takes in Andalusia, Extremadura, Catalonia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands – have a combined installed capacity of 3GW.

    The majority, almost 99%, are with surpluses that are fed into the network.

    By area, most are in Andalusia and Catalonia, which concentrate 84% of the active self-consumption with close to 90,400 and 78,000 units respectively.

    In the Canary Islands, the number is close to 10,000, having doubled over the first half of 2023, while in Aragón the number is close to 7,400 following an 84% increase and in the Balearic Islands it is close to 11,670 after an 81% increase.

    Endesa anticipates that given the current rate, the number of activated self-consumption connections will reach 270,000 by the end of 2023.

    To expedite the procedure, which is otherwise complex, particularly for collective installations, Endesa reports having proposed changes to the regulator with the aim to complete contracts within a time of 10 days as well as initiating improvements in its communications procedures.

    Smart Energy Finances: BEV fires shoot down Nikola shares Fri, 18 Aug 2023 09:30:00 +0000 This week’s Smart Energy Finances looks at Nikola Motors’ plummeting shares after recalling 209 EVs due to battery fires.

    Also on the radar is significant growth from Chameleon Technologies, which announced their 10 millionth smart meter IHD as well as Greenbird’s acquisition by energy giant GE Vernova.

    Nikola Motors shares on the fall

    Nikola Motors, an Arizona-headquartered electric truck maker, has voluntarily recalled 209 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) after reporting a coolant leak as the cause of an EV truck fire at their headquarters earlier this year.

    A temporary hold has been placed on Nikola’s BEV sales.

    “The safety of customers, dealers and team members are Nikola’s top priority,” stated the company in a press release last Friday as days later the company’s stock plummeted.

    According to Bloomberg reportage, the company’s shares fell by up to 20% at the start of the week, a trend signalling another nail to the coffin after the company’s shares were recorded as falling 98% from their peak reached in June 2020.

    Internal investigations from Nikola’s safety and engineering teams indicated a single supplier component within the battery pack as the likely source of the coolant leak.

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    The utility’s role in wildfire mitigation

    “At Nikola we take safety very seriously,” said Steve Girsky, Nikola’s CEO. “We stated from the beginning that as soon as our investigations were concluded we would provide an update, and we will continue our transparency as we learn more.”

    The company’s initial statement on the fire in June alluded to foul play as a possible cause, although a review has since suggested foul play or other external factors were unlikely.

    Although the Class 8 Tre BEV’s have been recalled, the company has stated that their hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which are currently in production, will not be affected as they make use of a different battery design.

    According to the company’s Q2 2023 report, 18 customers placed orders to Nikola and dealers for over 200 hydrogen FCEVs.

    Nikola Corporation designs and manufactures heavy-duty BEVs, FCEVs and energy infrastructure solutions, such as energy storage systems and hydrogen charging station infrastructure, through its brand HYLA, which was launched in January this year to oversee the company’s energy products for producing, distributing and dispensing hydrogen.

    The BEV case follows the company naming a fourth CEO after Michael Lohscheller stepped down earlier this month due to family concerns, leading to the company losing more than a quarter of its market value, states Reuters. Lohscheller was replaced by former General Motors executive Stephen Girsky.

    Nikola has flagged “substantial doubts” about its ability to continue as a going concern for the next year, reiterating its warning for the third time since February, as it awaits “critical” additional capital.

    The news from Nikola also comes as concerns rise over fires caused by EV batteries.

    Research released in February this year, Full-scale fire testing of battery electric vehicles, finds that although the characteristics of BEV fires are similar to those of traditional passenger vehicles, jet flames caused by thermal runaway – a result of exponential increases in heat within the battery cell – “accelerates the fire spread to other combustibles of BEVs”.

    Thus, states the researchers, thermal runaway and reignition mark major risks to first responders.

    Also from Smart Energy Finances:
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    GE Vernova acquires Greenbird

    Energy major GE Vernova’s digital business has acquired Greenbird Integration Technology AS, a data integration platform company focused on utilities.

    The acquisition comes 10 years after Greenbird’s launch; the company’s platform will accelerate GridOS, which the company calls “the world’s first software portfolio designed specifically for grid orchestration, adding new capabilities for connecting systems and integrating data across the grid more easily and at scale”.

    The financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

    The Greenbird acquisition is hoped to expand the capabilities of GE Vernova’s data fabric, eliminating data silos to make it faster and easier to connect and aggregate energy data, reducing the time and expense of data integration projects.

    Responding to Smart Energy International was Frederik ten Sythoff, Greenbird VP of communication and marketing, who commented on the company’s outlook after the successful acquisition:

    “As a company, we are proud that we have contributed with our thought leadership to highlight the importance for utilities to move into a data-driven future and with our technology to simplify this transition for them.

    “We see the challenges in the industry are getting bigger and bigger. We need a much bigger focus and bigger solutions to make an impact. We’re using data to accelerate the industry and world to sustainable energy.

    “GE Vernova has a legacy and proven track record to address these unique challenges we are facing in the energy sector. The acquisition is a strong signal and commitment to utilities, partners, and the industry of the strength of GridOS and the important role it’ll play in accelerating a more sustainable energy grid.”

    Read more

    Chameleon Tech’s 10 millionth IHD and significant growth

    UK-based smart energy technology business Chameleon Technology has announced the manufacturing and delivery of its 10 millionth in-home display (IHD), a record they state for the industry, enabling insights into energy consumption for consumers through “visible, transparent, real-time data” they state in a release.

    The IHDs connect to energy providers’ smart meters to help consumers track their energy use and costs. By the end of the UK smart meter rollout, two in every three homes are projected to have a Chameleon Technology IHD, according to the company.

    The announcement of the milestone was followed by the opening of new offices for the clean tech company in the UK, after being awarded over £3.6 million ($4.6 million) in government funding for additional projects, including the Green Home Finance Accelerator (GHFA).

    Smart energy finances - Nikola shares plumment. Chameleon Technology grows.
    Minister for energy efficiency and green finance at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Lord Callanan joins Chameleon Technology’s co-founder and CEO Mike Woodhall for a tour of the new office space. Image courtesy Chameleon Technology.

    The GHFA aims to make available innovation funding for the development of green finance products which can enable the uptake of home energy efficiency, low carbon heating and micro-generation retrofit measures in the UK.

    Through their award, Chameleon Technology’s HTC-UP project will aim to help domestic homeowners looking to improve their home’s energy efficiency, with initial support tailored to the needs of landlords.

    The funding will be used to assess the viability of a “one-stop-shop for energy efficiency improvements” they state, from initial assessment to financing.

    Heat Transfer Co-efficient (HTC) technology will be used to provide homeowners with an accurate measurement of a property’s energy efficiency rather than having to rely on the survey-based method used to produce current EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) ratings.

    The HTC algorithm takes smart meter data and internal temperature readings, collected through the ivie Bud in-home display, and combines these with external temperature readings gained from third party weather data.

    This combination of data is hoped to create a much more accurate measurement of how much heat is escaping the home, leading to a more precise carbon-efficiency score for the property.

    What are your thoughts about the financial insecurities that come with investments in new technologies?

    Let me know and make sure to follow Smart Energy Finances for the latest finance and investment news coming out of the energy sector.

    Yusuf Latief
    Content Producer
    Smart Energy International

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    Overcoming grid interconnect obstacles to deploy renewable energy Wed, 09 Aug 2023 09:42:00 +0000 There is universal agreement that the world needs to rapidly transition to renewable power.

    However, writes Alan Greenshields, director of ESS Inc, as this transition accelerates it is broadly recognized that challenges associated with connecting wind, solar and battery technologies to the grid present significant impediments to achieving global climate and clean energy goals.

    Understanding and overcoming these impediments will be critical if net zero targets are to be achieved. 

    The energy epiphany

    The war in Ukraine destabilised global energy markets and led to significant cost increases across Europe and worldwide, shocking the Western world into the realisation that the slow transition from fossil to renewable energy needs to accelerate significantly.

    The epiphany has come with an understanding that this will require substantial investments in infrastructure as we transition the grid from big, centralised fossil power plants to distributed renewable infrastructure.

    To deliver the transition, the US has passed the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act, the EU is set to match the US with its Green Deal, and the UK has deployed a new Security Energy Strategy with promises to go further.

    Beyond funding, a number of regulatory hurdles remain to realizing the potential benefits of these ambitious programs.

    The UK strategy was announced in April 2022 and promised to slash through red tape so that solar, wind and battery infrastructure can be deployed and renewable goals met. One year later, reports by the Financial Times and others are documenting the ongoing challenges posed by interconnect issues, posing a significant barrier.

    These issues have led to a queue for renewable deployments that can involve a 15 year wait in the UK to connect new renewable power projects to the grid. These delays pose severe headwinds to Britain’s ambitious decarbonization targets.

    The challenge primarily lies in an outdated grid and an outdated bureaucracy. The UK’s National Grid, with its architecture designed for a small number of large fossil fuel generators, has historically had 40-50 applications for connections a year.

    With the increase in new renewable projects, this has risen to about 400 a year, representing ~234GW of renewable energy waiting to be connected to the grid.

    Grid infrastructure has not kept pace with the rapid growth in renewable projects. One way to accelerate renewable deployment while enabling grid upgrades will be to prioritize new projects that include long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. These projects can ease transmission congestion by storing excess energy during periods of over-generation and deploying it when needed.

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    Overcoming the connection queue

    Addressing a multifaceted problem will require multifaceted solutions.

    First, clearly the bureaucracy that manages grid interconnections to evaluate and approve new applications needs reform to keep pace with the volume of requests.

    A predominantly renewable grid will look different than the fossil-based system upon which we have relied to date, and our regulators must enable, not hinder, that transition.

    In the short term, one potential reform that could accelerate approvals would be to prioritize project viability instead of simply “first come, first served” when evaluating proposed projects. This can lead to nonviable projects wasting limited public resources despite the fact that they are unlikely to ever be built at the expense of viable projects that could move forward quickly.

    For example, the initial application doesn’t require a letter of authority for a parcel of land. Projects without a clear claim to a specific physical location can hold up projects on which construction could begin immediately.

    Delays are worsened by other administrative issues, such as demands for cumbersome environmental assessments for each project, and the increasing cost of booking grid capacity in advance. In fact, a grid connection tied to a piece of land could be worth more than £1 million ($1.3 million).

    The National Grid has addressed this issue in a recently published report saying it is carrying out “a major programme of reform to redesign the existing connection process”, which includes ensuring inactive projects are not blocking the pipeline.

    Hopefully, this makes a positive impact, but we still need to go a step further to address the backlog. A good starting point would be to update the regulatory regime and remove planning blockers as well as changing to a first ready, first serviced basis and making sure that companies that put in applications have viable projects. 

    Allowing greater flow of electricity

    Transmission system upgrades are also needed to expand the capacity of existing high-voltage transmission lines to allow greater flows of renewable electricity, carry electricity long distances and better connect regions and communities. This will ensure people can access power when they need it, providing affordable and abundant clean energy.

    In the long term, upgrades are likely to require more cables, poles, wires, and transformers to transport electricity, skilled workers, investment, and specific materials, all of which will be in high demand as many countries are facing the same challenges at the same time.

    Grid reform

    The UK can’t continue to react to one electricity/energy crisis at a time until the growing complexity of the grid and its reliance on fossil fuels brings it to breaking point.

    Instead, the government must proactively put measures in place to ensure the grid can harness and accelerate the amount of renewable energy needed to meet climate targets.

    Fortunately, grid issues can be mitigated in the short term by deploying new energy storage technologies to support the accelerated deployment of renewables.

    Battery storage enables energy from renewables to be stored and then discharged when customers need power most, even if the wind is not blowing and the sun isn’t shining.  By integrating storage both into the grid and giving priority to those new renewable projects with storage components, it will be possible to improve the flexibility of the grid while also reducing emissions.

    By re-examining not only the procedures for project approval, but the components that make up the grid, it will still be possible for the UK to meet our ambitious climate and energy goals, accelerate renewable deployment and avoid further reliance upon natural gas. We just need to get the rules right and allow ourselves to fully take advantage of new innovations that are commercially available today.

    Copper Labs receives patent for outage detection for AMR meters Thu, 10 Aug 2023 07:33:00 +0000 Meter technology provider Copper Labs has patented a technique for identifying outages from automated meter reading (AMR).

    The capability is intended to offer a low cost option for utilities that use drive-by AMR to detect and manage outages without the requirement for upgrade to an automated metering infrastructure (AMI).

    The feature, which is described in a patent, is in essence based on cloud-based signal detection analysis to detect meters that are not transmitting readings and from their GPS coordinates to determine a polygon defining the outage area.

    “Effectively responding to and managing outages is critical for all utilities,” said Dan Forman, CEO of Copper Labs.

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    “Our goal is to give utility companies the tools they need to quickly identify and decrease the duration of power outages – regardless of the types of metering equipment they currently have in the field – while also empowering homeowners with timely and actionable insights.”

    Outage detection has historically been one of the primary motivators for electric utilities to consider the retrofit of AMR systems to AMI.

    With Copper Labs’ advanced technology, utility companies can now identify the exact location of outages and efficiently allocate resources for restoration without having to make this shift, the company says in a statement.

    The new capability joins a growing collection of offerings for utilities, including a ‘neighbourhood-level detector’ announced earlier in the year, which is designed to ‘smarten’ residential meters at scale.

    Copper Labs also is partnering with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a tool to harness meter datasets for outage detection and automated restoration. The technology is due to be tested at 20 rural locations.

    Similarly the company has introduced an ‘add-on’ technology for water meters for water leak detection without the need for a full water AMI upgrade.