By Yonael Teklu, Northern Virginia/Washington PES Chapter Chair
The Twelfth Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT NA 2021) will be held virtually from February 16 -18, 2021. I asked Prof. Saifur Rahman, past president of IEEE PES, his take on this year’s theme of “Technology Solutions for an Evolving Grid.” Here is what he shared with us.
By Professor Saifur Rahman, Virginia Tech
With the focus on environmental sustainability and energy security, power system planners are looking at renewable energy as supplements and alternatives. But such generation sources have their own challenges – primarily intermittency. While sunshine may be abundant in many places, cloud cover and dust storms can cause significant variations in solar outputs. It is expected that the smart grid – due to its inherent communication, sensing and control capabilities – will have the ability to manage the load, storage and generation assets (including renewables) in the power grid to enable a large-scale and reliable integration of distributed generation. In a smart grid, information about the state of the grid and its components can be exchanged quickly over long distances and complex networks. It will therefore be possible to have the integration of sustainable energy sources, such as wind, solar, offshore electricity, etc. for smoother system operation. But in order for this to be possible, the electric utility will have to evolve, and change their ways of operation to become an intelligent provider of these services. They need to focus on the operational characteristics of renewable energy sources, and various aspects of the smart grid – technology, standards and regulations. This will allow them to address the interplay among distributed generation, storage and conventional generation to provide an efficient and low-carbon electric power grid.