Four ways to address power supply challenges before they happen

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A new initiative has been launched by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to understand and overcome power supply challenges even before they happen.

Through the initiative, EPRI will gather energy industry stakeholders, utilities, regulators and academia to jointly research on, enhance existing and develop new technologies capable of helping to better anticipate and assess risks to power supply resources due to extreme weather and other hazards.

The aim is to accelerate the evolution of resource adequacy (RA) processes and tools for a decarbonised energy system that must serve society in the face of increasing threats, according to a statement.

The project will focus on four key areas including:

  1. Developing metrics, criteria, and scenarios to assess risk and guide investment decisions;
  2. Creating models and data to characterise how system resources perform under all operating conditions;
  3. Accelerating the development of resource adequacy assessment tools to advance new solutions benefiting society; and
  4. Demonstrating the value of new approaches through “real world” applications across diverse regions to guide the employment of new processes.

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EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor, said: “Utilities are transforming with their foot on the accelerator.

“In markets around the world, the power sector is reshaping energy systems while responding to emerging challenges. Serving tomorrow’s energy customer means anticipating and preparing for high-impact events when, where, and how they may occur.”

The launch of the initiative follows a very harsh cold weather system sweeping across Texas resulting in the failure of power generation assets and extreme heat straining the Californian grid network.

Researchers will look at how the grid can adapt to an increasing amount of distributed energy resources including solar, battery, electric vehicles, and wind energy to meet baseload power and to be able to continue to ensure grid reliability in the event of severe storms and other weather impacts. As more governments are calling for an increase in renewable energy resources to meet climate action targets, the main challenge is addressing the fluctuation of renewable energy.

The project will continuously build its coalition of participants and is expected to continue through Q1 2023. EPRI will share findings and recommendations with key stakeholders, including regulators and public utility commissions, as they emerge, as well as in a final public report at the conclusion of the project.

Mark Lauby, senior vice president and chief engineer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, adds: “Reliably meeting electricity needs 24/7 is increasingly important as electrification expands, becoming even more vital to the nearly 400 million people we serve in North America.

“Through our collaboration with EPRI and other industry leaders, we are preparing for the transformation of the grid to ensure that resilience is sustained and improved, as the grid becomes more decarbonized, decentralised and digitised.”