Vector Group, the largest electricity network operator in New Zealand, has partnered with X, the moonshot factory, to digitise the monitoring and management of the grid network in Auckland.
The aim is to use digital technologies for near-real-time management of the grid network to support the deployment of renewable energy and the decarbonisation of the system.
The project aims to help Vector Group to optimise its management of an increasing portfolio/capacity of distributed energy resources which pose energy flow and regulation challenges for utilities.
For instance, without optimal management of distributed assets, renewables can result in curtailment or fluctuations which both pose huge challenges to reliable operations of the grid.
By leveraging grid virtualisation and simulation tools from X, the moon factory, Vector says it expects to better forecasts renewable energy generation and energy demand on its grid, insights which the group can use to better plan and maximise the performance of the network.
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The utility states that the project will also enable grid modernisation to support the energy transition and to align with changing utility business models as a result of grid decentralisation, digitalisation and decarbonisation.
The partnership is expected to help the utility improve its customer services and to provide new services such as solar energy and electric vehicle charging and make sure that energy is clean and affordable.
Vector Group Chief Executive Officer Simon Mackenzie, said: “Electricity networks globally are critical infrastructure that can enable the urgent decarbonisation of transport and industry. We must ensure an affordable transition through accelerating the deployment of new technologies, including digital platforms.
“The old models for designing and managing energy networks simply aren’t viable anymore to manage the complexities of future energy requirements, climate change and costs. We first presented our strategy to X in 2019, found significant alignment, and now we have a team of experts from both companies working together.”
Audrey Zibelman, Vice President and General Manager for X’s moonshot for the electric grid, added: “As consumers around the world adopt more renewables and shift to electric vehicles, the pressure is on for networks to rapidly evolve. Our collaboration with Vector is rooted in our shared understanding that the whole industry has to transform. We are excited to partner with an industry leader like Vector as we collaborate on the development of solutions by combining our respective areas of expertise.”