World Monitor Magazine WM_Energy 2017 - Page 30

EXPERT OPINION Power grids of the future Mankind is contemplating the exploration of outer space in earnest. In the next century, it is planned to populate the nearby planet of Mars. Despite the difficulties, people want to bring the comfort of their own home to the new planet, and therefore a reliable energy supply. Siemens also participates in the planning of this journey. Mars will be a perfect example of micro grid concept implementation. The inhabitants of the new planet will not be able to use traditional energy sources, so they will have to rely on renewable energy, which can provide an uninterruptible power supply. Like the future people of Mars, the population of the Earth will one day rely only on decentralized energy systems. Audris Barcevicius, President and CEO, Siemens Central Asia Micro grids are the power grids of the future These are the two principal directions that will transform the energetics of the future: digitalization and moving from a centralized to a decentralized electrical power system. These trends, as well as the needs of prosumers, promote the development of micro grids. Micro grids are a kind of revolution in how we manage our resources. As a matter of fact, the micro grid is a reduced version of the centralized power system that generates, distributes and regulates the electric flux. It can work absolutely on a self-sufficient basis or as a part of a larger grid. Micro grids are the perfect choice to provide electricity to outlying regions without access to centralized systems. The main sources of energy in the micro grids are photovoltaic and wind-powered generating plants, as well as small hydro-power plants and biomass power plants. 28 world monitor Traditional power grids provide us with electricity. But when natural disasters or security breaches threaten the stability of the grid – the disabling of these grids can be dangerous and expensive. Micro grids can be a profitable alternative to what we have now. Such grids are designed to ensure that the power supply is consistent, which means that the grids are reliable and flexible. Micro grids are not dependent on the traditional grid, but rather have the ability to ensure stability of the power supply in the event of bad weather or natural disasters. These technologies allow us to store unused electricity and include in the grid the electricity produced by alternative sources of energy. This fact not only reduces carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere, but also saves money. Using high-tech software, operators can optimize power use, based on demand and utility prices. Micro grids are not large power systems, and therefore they are easier to control. They are safer as well, because electricity is generated locally and not delivered from one central source. Today, scientific research laboratories are engaged in the development of micro grid technologies. For example, in the Siemens laboratory in Erlangen, Germany, engineers are engaged in testing advanced technologies and medium and low voltage equipment. Siemens has already implemented micro grid technology on the Indian