The growing complexity of the current power grids because of rapidly growing population, technological advancements, computational tools and infrastructure are some of the key factors that are contributing to the requirement of deploying renewable energy integration with smart grid. Moreover, it helps in improving the efficiency and security of electrical energy. The advancement and modernization of these electric grids into smart grids is being done to enhance the facilitation of integration of renewable energy, reliability, and improving the overall power consumption management.
Because of the constant depletion of conventional resources of fuel and increasing concerns about environmental degradation and pollution, the growth of the smart girds integrated with renewable energy resources has garnered massive strategic significance. These systems are now expected to play a major role in resolving global energy crisis.
However, there are some potent challenges in front of the global renewable energy integration with smart grid market. A primary challenge for market development is the fluctuating and intermittent nature these renewable energy resources. This makes their integration with smart grids a relatively difficult task. This is the key challenge that must be resolved by the services providers in the global market. Another important challenge in front of the market development is the possibility in the increase of operational cost. Because of the variable nature of these renewable energy sources, they require considerable changes in the current network operations. This might eventually lead to rise in the cost of electricity.
Nonetheless, the overall power quality, voltage optimization, and functional efficiency has been improved by the integration of renewable energy with smart grid networks. Moreover, rapid population growth and industrialization that will require more power will act as key driving factors for the overall development of the global renewable energy integration with smart grid market.
Network of sub stations, transformers and electrical transmission lines constitutes a conventional electric grid which delivery electricity to domestic and industrial needs. Rapid industrialization and population growth resulted in peak load conditions causing failure of grid mechanism. The grid is not designed to accommodate power from various sources such as wind and solar energy. These renewable energy sources provides fluctuating power to grid and if high power is supplied results in failure. So integrating these renewable energy sources with grid operations is becoming difficult due to lack of consistency in delivering power. A need for highly reliable, compact, self-regulating smart grid system which will accommodate and adjust to fluctuating power automatically. Smart grid plays a critical role in integration of various renewable energy. Smart grid is a sum of high quality information, sensing, communication, control and technologies. If taken together results in electric power system that can efficiently integrate the job of all connected users.
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Operational efficiency, optimized voltage and power quality has improved through the use smart grid systems in renewable energy integration. There are some technical, regulatory, policy, economic challenges related to smart grid usage for renewable energy integration. The main driver which favors renewable energy integration with smart grid is the rapid industrialization and population growth which demands more power without any breakdown or failure. Balancing supply and demand during surplus conditions are one of the technical challenges for this type of system. Economic challenges are returns on investments. More returns in such projects would favor more investments and vice-versa.
The basic classification is done based on the type of renewable energy used for integration with smart grid technology such as wind, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, solar. This system has very low efficiency when compare to fossil fuels generation. Technological improvement and research and development activities are being looked upon to enhance the overall efficiency of this system. Wind and solar energy delivers more efficiency when compared to other renewable energy sources. Wind and solar energy integration with smart grid would deliver more overall efficiency.
North America is the leader in this segment followed by Europe and Asia. U.S. and Canada holds the largest share for renewable energy integration technologies with smart grid. Over the last seven years, Sweden has added significant grid connected wind power systems. Korea is developing in terms of adding smart grids for renewable energy deployment. Various pilot projects in Austria is under process which has significant potential for wind, solar, hydro power deployment through smart grids. California and Canada are investing on better technologies for better network distribution planning and operations for growing demand for renewable energy sources. India is integrating solar and wind energy for smart grid platform. Rapid industrialization and population growth rate requires more power, China and India are the key markets for renewable energy integration system using smart grid.
Companies involved in smart grid for renewable energy integration are Chevron Corporation, GE Energy Management, Echelon Corporation, Schneider Electric, Siemens AG, Viridity Energy, ZBB Corporation, ABB Limited, Power Analytics Corporation, Honeywell International, Inc., Toshiba Corporation, Pareto Energy Ltd. and others.
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