A smart grid is an evolved grid system that manages electricity demand in a sustainable, reliable and economic manner, built on advanced infrastructure and tuned to facilitate the integration of all involved. Smart grids will provide more electricity to meet rising demand, increase reliability and quality of power supplies, increase energy efficiency, be able to integrate low carbon energy sources into power networks.
Smart grids possess demand response capacity to help balance electrical consumption with supply, as well as the potential to integrate new technologies to enable energy storage devices and the large-scale use of electric vehicles.
Electrical systems will undergo a major evolution, improving reliability and reducing electrical losses, capital expenditures and maintenance costs. A smarter grid will provide greater control over energy costs and a more reliable energy supply for consumers. Environmental benefits of a smarter grid include reduced peak demand, integration of more renewable power sources, and reduced CO2 emissions and other pollutants.
Energy & Battery Storage:
Research and development in energy conversion and storage are becoming increasingly important due to the increasing energy demand for economic and social development and it is fast becoming one of the principal challenges facing the energy sector Energy storage can be defined as simply storing energy generated during periods of low demand to use during periods of high demand. Battery devices store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy and have the ability to later convert that energy back into electricity. A range of potential battery systems exist: lead-acid, sodium-sulphur, lithium-ion, nickel-based, metal-air and flow batteries. Batteries can be used for a wide variety of applications such as balancing demand and supply or altering the frequency of electricity for the grid. They also operate across a range of scales, from very large-scale schemes connecting to the electricity grid to smaller schemes for individual homes or vehicles.
Potential for deployment in Britain:
In the long term, battery technologies with long running times could be a good fit for the high levels of renewable energy generation in Britain and alleviate constraints on the distribution network. In the short term, large-scale batteries can be used for other services such as regulating the frequency of electricity from renewables generation.
Scotland is already home to battery storage, with the UK’s first large-scale battery connected to the distribution network in Orkney in 2013. The 2MW lithium-ion device connects to the islands’ Active Network Management system. On another Scottish island, Eigg, residents benefit from batteries connected to hydro schemes, wind turbines and solar PV panels. The ability to store energy from these schemes has resulted in 98% of power on the island coming from a renewable source.