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Smart grids: international and UK perspectives

Grant number: 09/05988-9
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: September 01, 2009 - September 15, 2009
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Electrical Engineering - Power Systems
Principal Investigator:Antonio Padilha Feltrin
Grantee:Antonio Padilha Feltrin
Visiting researcher: Luis Fernando Ochoa Pizzali
Visiting researcher institution: University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia (FEIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Ilha Solteira. Ilha Solteira , SP, Brazil

Abstract

In the last decade, environmental and fuel security concerns have been translated into government targets for diversification of the energy mix. Worldwide, ambitious targets have created incentives to increase the connected capacity of low-carbon electricity generation. While a number of factors have constrained the growth in capacity to date, major increases are expected over the coming decade particularly within electricity distribution networks. It is envisaged that accompanying this will be a major change in the nature and operation of networks facilitated by real-time control of and communication with distributed generation (DG), energy storage, microgrids and consumers. Indeed, these next-generation power systems, or Smart Grids, are considered to be vital for the increasing population of renewables, offering significant benefits to consumers and the environment. However, in order for the electricity industry and government to realise this long-term evolution they must start with the backbone by updating and improving the existing electricity network first.The concept of Smart Grids has produced significant interest during the last years mainly due to the approaching end of life of the electricity networks in Europe and USA. This places governments, regulators and distribution network operators in a unique position to take the first steps towards the intelligent power systems of the future. This proposal is aimed at facilitating the understanding of this new and important challenge for the electricity industry, considering the different international and UK perspectives, with a special focus on distribution networks.Dr Ochoa, Research Fellow for the Institute for Energy Systems, is part of the AMPerES (Asset Management and Performance of Energy Systems) consortium, which is composed by the universities of Manchester, Strathclyde, Queen's Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Southampton, with all the UK distribution network operators as industrial partners. The consortium, started in 2006, was awarded with £2.8m during four years, funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council). At the University of Edinburgh, Prof Janusz Bialek and Dr Gareth Harrison manage the research team composed by three Research Fellows and one PhD student. Dr Ochoa is responsible for Activity 3.1 "Strategies to maximise the absorption of new generation", aimed at applying and developing innovative and flexible techniques (i.e., active network management) to expand the volume of renewable energy that can be harnessed, considering their benefits and risks in order to maintain the adequate operation of distribution networks. Clearly, the experience gained to date will enable knowledge transfer valuable to MSc and PhD students, as well as academics at Ilha Solteira.In terms of the dissemination of this proposal, a 10-hour short course and a lecture will be given. The short course, targeted at postgraduate students and academics in the area of power systems, will consider with certain detail the different concepts involved in Smart Grids. It will also include the practical utilisation of an optimisation software used for evaluating the penetration levels of renewable generation capacity through optimal power flow. The lecture, with a broader format and less detailed, will target electrical engineering undergraduate and postgraduate students. In order to generate discussion and critical thinking for the development of future collaborations, interaction with the different (PhD and MSc) research projects being developed in the areas of distributed generation and integration of renewables is also planned. Finally, as part of this proposal, it is also scheduled a lecture about the University of Edinburgh to show the diverse research areas and opportunities for future visits of PhD students (e.g., sandwich doctorate), researchers and academics. (AU)