IEC joins energy leaders at GSEP Summit
Geneva, Switzerland, 2013-07-04 – IEC joined the heads of the world’s 14 leading electricity companies to discuss sustainable energy development in the electricity sector at the recent GSEP (Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership) annual summit in Washington D.C.
At this key international gathering of energy leaders, held on 5-7 June 2013, the IEC, represented by President Klaus Wucherer and General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk, was able to share insights into the benefits that IEC work brings to the energy solutions of the future. During the summit, Wucherer also participated in a panel discussion on the impact of emerging technologies and innovations on the utilities’ current business models. In addition the IEC hosted a session on energy microgrids for disaster resilience and recovery.
The GSEP summit featured exchanges between the GSEP member companies’ Chairmen and distinguished guests including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim.
The IEC-hosted session during the summit discussed how microgrids may assist energy utilities to resist disaster and to enable faster recovery when disaster strikes. SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) CEO Liu Zhenya gave the opening address, stating that coordinated development and integration between UHV grids and grids at all levels was the key for constructing a “strong, smart, green” next generation grid. He highlighted that IEC International Standards are fundamental for these innovations to be realized. Glenn Platt of the Local Energy Systems division of Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) moderated the discussion.
Recent natural disasters including tsunamis, widespread flooding, hurricanes and bushfires have left millions of people without power and the critical services it assures. Ensuring that the electricity stays on when natural disasters strike is crucial, especially since climate change science suggests the frequency of these disasters is likely to increase.
“Smart microgrids present an accessible and reliable solution for recovery, given their flexibility to resist outages caused by disasters,” said IEC President Klaus Wucherer. “They allow energy to be available and distributed to communities where or close to where it is generated. Microgrids could help ensure that when a disaster occurs, the electrical power is kept on, to help life get back to normal for those affected.”
For the utility, microgrids may ease the challenge of controlling large numbers of distributed resources by making distributed generation control an internal process, operating within the microgrid. The role of small-scale renewable energy systems, such as roof-top solar, in disaster recovery and the role that IEC International Standards could play in microgrid operation and disaster recovery were also discussed.
Discussions also recognized the urgent need to upgrade infrastructure to ensure the reliability of the grid, and the challenges that this brings, such as rising costs and consumers not wanting price increases. Policy makers and utilities will need to look at this in different ways to find new solutions.
In September 2012 the IEC's MSB (Market Strategy Board) started working on a MDR (microgrid for disaster recovery) project in recognition of these opportunities and the challenges still to be overcome. A Microgrid Disaster Preparedness and Recovery workshop and meeting was hosted by IEC in early 2013. In cooperation with CSIRO and several IEC members, the IEC's Market Strategy Board is preparing a White Paper on microgrids for disaster recovery, with publication planned for October 2013.
IEC SG (Strategic Group) 3: Smart Grid developed the Smart Grid Roadmap with microgrids placed within DER (Distributed Energy Resources). Guidelines for the General Planning and Design of Microgrids have been submitted as new work proposals in TC 8: Systems aspects for electrical energy supply.
A microgrid is a collection of controllable and physically proximate distributed generator and load resources, with multiple sources of power of which at least one is based on a renewable energy technology. If the wider grid is operational but strained, a microgrid can assist by reducing the load on the wider grid or by exporting power from the microgrid to a surrounding area. As well as power management, microgrids can also help with voltage and frequency control in such situations.