Smart grid models and tools for islands under development at Carnegie Mellon


Prof. Marija Ilic,
Carnegie Mellon &
Director, EESG
Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 20, 2012 – New smart grid technologies for remote island communities are the focus of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Electric Energy Systems Group (EESG).

To date a real-world database has been developed for the electric power grids of Flores and San Miguel, two of nine volcanic islands that sit in the middle of the North Atlantic some 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Using this database, the research team has modeled and assessed the potential of residential and commercial electricity users to participate in a load management program to make the most out of clean wind energy.

The team has also simulated new automation concepts for ensuring reliable and stable electric power service using electric vehicles and fast storage, such as flywheels, and evaluated their possible benefits. They demonstrated that fast automation can ensure stable operations of the power grid when there are large wind gusts that are hard to predict.

“We have developed a suite of computer models, decision making tools and automation for efficient and reliable integration of wind and other sustainable energy sources,” commented Marija Ilic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon and EESG director. “Embedding these tools in energy resources, system users and the power grid itself will enable cost effective utilization of all assets and can help the economic health of islands worldwide.”

As an example, take the case of San Miguel, an island hub of tourism, fisheries and world-renowned cheese products. By implementing the smart grid management software to measure wind velocity, the researchers believe they could help residents switch to using more energy fueled by wind turbines and deflate the electricity cost from the current $185/MW to $88/MW. This scenario could also be true for most remote islands or coastal communities where energy is consistently expensive.

In the case of electric vehicles the researchers believe that using them for saving and storing energy, in the islands with extreme wind penetration the CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 80 percent of today’s typical emission level, with the same or lower long term electricity cost and reliable service.