Over 200 professionals from across Europe were in attendance at the Repower Europe Conference in Brussels earlier this month. Repowering Europe was one of the largest joint European events this year among the smart grids and solar photovoltaic sectors. The objective of the two-day event was to review past successes of the smart grids in Europe and discuss future challenges.
Three energy companies in Europe announced Regalgrid Europe s.r.l., a joint venture that aims to create a new generation of smart grids around the world. The partners are Regal Grid s.r.l., Archeide SICAV SIF – Empower Fund and Upsolar.
Electricity is the lifeblood of our digital world. Access to reliable, safe and renewable energy can impact entire economies and there is extensive research showing the substantial economic losses caused by power outages. This is one of the key reasons why smart grid technology is being deployed by power utilities around the world—improve energy security and grid reliability and keep our digital world running. Smart Grids are also giving us a glimpse into the much talked about Internet of Things (IoT). Power utilities are demonstrating the critical role of resilient communication networks that enable millions of devices to talk with one another. IoT is often defined as connecting any object with an IP address and some intelligence to any other object over the communications network.
Talk of smart grid technology often revolves around how homeowners can reduce their utility bills by implementing smart meters on their homes. But focusing on such technology limits the understanding of how true technological innovations are transforming, and protecting, smart grids across the world. For instance, fuel cell technology in India is changing how the country uses back up generators and, as a result, how it will keep tens of thousands of cellular towers running amid the country’s pervasive blackouts.
GE Energy Management presented new smart grid capabilities at the Saudi Arabia Smart Grid 2015 conference and exhibition in Jeddah this week. “The outdated, one-way, linear, passive approach in power delivery is now evolving toward an open, interactive, interconnected model,” GE Saudi Arabia and Bahrain President and CEO Hisham Al Bahkali said. “This transformation has been made possible by the improvements in information and communications technology. As a digital industrial company, we are leading the development of digital solutions to create intelligent networks known as smart grids that have tremendous potential for growth in the kingdom to meet its development vision.”
Following the Transatlantic Economic Council’s decision to promote electric vehicles and smart grid interoperability, on 29 October the European Commission inaugurated a dedicated state-of-the-art laboratory, operated by the Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre.Together with its partner facility in the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, it will ensure that the next generation of electric cars and smart grids are fully interoperable, based on harmonised standards, technology validation and testing methods. This is an important step towards creating “a single language” for all components that will benefit both the industry and the environment on both sides of the Atlantic.
Call it a physical and cybersecurity challenge. Innovators and industry experts in Boston Tuesday for the IoT Security 2015 conference brainstormed about some of the Internet of Thing’s most daunting security challenges — authentication, patching, smart grids, and smart homes – and how to address them.
In a 2013 white paper about the Internet of Things (IoT) Cisco estimated that there were 10 billion connected devices at that time and that there will be 50 billion by 2022. The paper cites Smart Grids, Smart Buildings and Connected Healthcare as several of the areas where most value will be gained from the IoT. It also states that business leaders need to start transforming their businesses based on key learnings from use cases.
Last week, word arrived that extensive tests on smart grids throughout the Pacific Northwest show plenty of promise.Shortly after the report was issued, Portland General Electric Co. revealed that it would continue its own participation in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. PGE (NYSE: PCG) said it will keep operating its Smart Power Center in Salem.
Michelle Blaise is senior vice president of technical services at ComEd in Chicago, IL. She’s also a member of IEEE and an advisory board member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Women in Power, which she talks to us about today as part of our women-in-energy series — along with insights on the future of smart grid and how she sees those smart grids fitting into the smart city concept.