US funds ‘plug and play’ platform for renewables grid integration

Grid integration US funding
The Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation (INTEGRATE) aims to create an open-source interoperable platform for renewable energy systems

In the US, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced five new partnerships that will inject US$6.5 million into grid integration solutions.

NREL is managing the Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation (INTEGRATE) and all of the teams will test their technologies in NREL’s megawatt-scale Energy Systems Integration Facility, reports Windpower Engineering & Development.

The Department of Energy said the objective of the INTEGRATE project is to provide grid services in a holistic manner using an open-source, interoperable platform that would allow renewable energy systems and other clean energy technologies to be connected to a smart grid in a ‘plug and play’ manner.

NREL’s associate director for Energy Systems Integration Bryan Hannegan said: “Advanced control systems, smart consumer devices, energy storage, and emerging communications technologies will combine to help the grid run more reliably and efficiently.

“Working together, NREL and our INTEGRATE partners can use ESIF’s capabilities to help accelerate this modernization of our electric grid and enable a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.”

OMNETRIC Group is one of the partner companies and will design an open-source based interoperable platform at the distribution scale.

Smarter Grid Solutions will deploy and demonstrate an integrated, flexible plug-and-play grid management solution, using Active Network Management (ANM) to enhance the capacity of the grid to host renewable energy resources.

The ANM solution has the ability to manage and maintain the distribution grid within operating limits through the autonomous management, coordination and control of distributed energy resources (DER) in real-time to more fully utilize existing network assets.

The project includes an Industry Project Advisory Board that will help inform the uses case requirements and includes members from Pecan Street (also partnering to deliver DER datasets), NRG Energy, SolarCity, New York State Smart Grid Consortium, Con Edison, National Grid, Iberdrola USA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and SIMARD SG.

Asia smart grid news

In other smart grid news, two research studies suggested that Asia will be a growth market for both the smart grid equipment and smart transformers.

Technology research company Technavio forecasts that the smart grid equipment market in South Korea will grow by 20% in the period up to 2019.

A need for energy efficient solutions and management will drive the growth but the challenge in South Korea will be the high cost of implementation.

Key vendors in South Korea’s smart grid market include ABB, GE Energy, IBM and Siemens Energy as well as Hyosung, Hyundai Heavy Industries, LG Electronics Alstom and SK Telecom.

Meanwhile, MarketsandMarkets found that in 2014, Asia-Pacific was the largest global market for smart transformers accounting for a market share of 34% by value.

Growing demand for electric power and related spending on smart grids to upgrade transmission & distribution infrastructure is one of the key drivers of demand for Smart Transformer Market in Asia-Pacific, said analysts.

The global Smart Transformer Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.3% from 2015 to 2020, with increasing demand from countries such as China, India, the US, and Germany.