Even if smart grid doesn’t function in the immediate future, we must prepare its deployment as early as possible in all the buildings which produce and consume electricity. User and manager must know in full detail their consumption and be informed in real-time about network status and tariffs…
More and more evoked, the smart grid will permit to adapt more effectively consumption to electricity production in the future. Carried by great names of energy and telecommunication field, through several projects, the market should weigh close to 200 billion dollars by 2015. Smart grids development is an international initiative.
The network gets its intelligence in the fact that every point of consumption and every point of production can communicate and exchange information. It can be information about tariff, load, prediction of consumption and production… So, the whole system feeds the overall intelligence and benefits from it. Goal: to anticipate the energy consumption in real-time in order to adapt production, and so to limit the use and construction of power plants, by making the best use of renewable energy.
Although smart grid as a whole will start really from 2020, it is now important to make the existing installations able to communicate. It concerns tens of millions of consumption and production points. The production of diffuse energy, including renewable, completely falls within the field of smart grid.
To make energy consumption « visible »
The installation of a smart counter at the delivery point will also permit to deliver to the consumer all the required information to better manage its consumption according to the energy production and its needs. Right now, manufacturers propose displays to permit, when the time is coming, to highlight the different tariffs according to the time slots. Because, at this point, the cost of energy may change several times a day. The user can then choose more or less automatically ranges of applications, especially for functions that can be optionally delayed (production of domestic hot water or recharge of electric vehicle batteries). The erasure of consumptions (load shedding) will be a significant brick of smart grid. Already used for many years, the erasure constitutes a real tool for power consumption optimization, to push further yet and more finely. In parallel, the electrical installation should allow to make visible the electrical energy consumed for each position. Hence the notion of finest measure possible by use, by circuit or even by high power device.
The smartest electrical panel
The electrical panel will thus undeniably receive an intelligence permitting to make the link between information coming from the network and information coming from the local consumer needs. So, it is a real local regulatory body that allows directing the energy choices of the operator at every moment, to optimize its consumption, without limiting its comfort. This intelligence will have to, also and above, allow the user to take control if he wants, to derogate certain automated decisions. For larger systems in terms of power level, the building technical management computing tool or the power management technology tool may drive the optimization at the level of the building.
Smart grid is a wonderful tool which deployment across the whole continents will permit to make the transport and distribution networks safer and more efficient. It will also take into account the lightning development of decentralized electricity generation, especially of renewable sources.
Experimentations in progress
In order to better understand and develop solutions adapted to smart grids, experimentations at the scale of a building, a district or a city are progressively set up. France has more than twenty concrete projects. For example, on the outskirts of Paris, in the business area “Seine Ouest” in Issy-les-Moulineaux, a network of smart districts named IssyGrid, drives the production of renewable energy
(photovoltaic panels, cogeneration, micro-wind …), consumption (housing, tertiary, shops, public lightning, electric vehicles…), storage (batteries), and optimizes everything since early 2011. The first results will be presented soon. This project should be progressively extended at the whole city of Issy-les-Moulineaux. This project gathers the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux, Bouygues immobilier, Alstom, Bouygues télécom, ERDF, ETDE, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Steria and Total.
Another example in Malaga: indeed, the Spanish city has set up the program Smart City, to create a smart electrical network based, in particular, on the use of renewable energy. Launched in 2009, this project should permit to the city to realize energy savings of nearly 20%, which represents a reduction of 6,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.