Relevance of energy transition in Smart Cities

In a world where energy consumption is rising, power generation must also expand in order to meet consumer needs and enhance daily life. This expansion is granted through the activation of alternative energy sources, especially renewable ones.

This new energy sourcing environment brings new complexity to manage, in fact, the stability of the power and distribution systems is threatened by the incorporation of highly erratic distributed generation sources including solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and energy storage devices. The primary factor may be an unbalanced power ratio between supply and demand. Power generation or consumption that is too much or too little can disrupt the network and cause serious issues including voltage rises or drops and, in extreme cases, blackouts.

Energy management systems are used to more effectively balance supply and demand, as well as to lower the peak load during unforeseen times. 

The first is on the supplier’s side, such as an electric utility, where a few generators are turned ON or OFF in response to changes in load demand.

Demand-side management is the second category, which is focused on consumers. In demand-side management, consumers control their energy use to match the amount of power coming from the generation side that is available. Utilizing energy management primarily aims to lower operating and consumption costs, decrease energy losses, and improve network dependability. There are several obstacles and restrictions in energy management. The majority of current research is concentrated on creating algorithms and models to more effectively control energy, but it has a bright future.

Power demand may present difficulties for the electric utilities and system operators due to the growing number of consumers as well as the unpredictable nature of the electric load.

High peak demands have a high likelihood of happening frequently and could be a threat to the system’s operation. The electric utility and system operators have two options for resolving this problem:

  • increase the network’s size and scope, which is expensive and takes time to deploy;
  • use energy management to reduce the likelihood of high peak demand during peak hours.

The second option is more logical-sounding, but it needs complex energy management algorithms and techniques.

The essentiality of energy management.

For several reasons, energy management is viewed as essential for a smarter grid:

  • it is automated and doesn’t need human involvement directly;
  • it provides precise outcomes and forecasts;
  • it enables the electric utility to more effectively maximize the performance of its generation units and lower the cost of production;
  • it aids the system operator in minimizing energy losses on the network and lines, which may significantly lower the cost of indirect electricity distribution;
  • it enables end customers to control load demand more effectively and cut their electricity costs;
  • the power profile gets smoother and less erratic as the load factor rises;
  • it improves energy effectiveness;
  • it protects resources;
  • it lessens pollutants and safeguards the environment.

two perspectives: from the electricity provider and from the perspective of the electrical user.

Energy management can be used by the electricity provider (such as electric utility, power plant operators, and manufacturing units) to efficiently control its generation units. For instance, the electric utility can use energy management to turn on some generators that may have the lowest operational costs to meet a certain power demand from the consumers, while leaving the generators with higher operational costs to meet additional load demand during specific peak periods. 

The electric company is attempting to reduce the cost of maintaining its generation units in this way. Energy management can be used by the system operator (such as transmission and distribution systems) to control the power flow in a way that reduces energy losses on the network and raises the penetration level of renewable energy sources (such as solar power and wind farms) in a productive manner. Energy management is used by the end-users (such as homeowners, tenants of residential and commercial buildings, businesses, educational institutions, etc.) to reduce electricity costs and schedule load demand effectively.

The reduction of economic costs and losses is the basic objective of energy management. Without altering the electricity tariff system, management cannot accomplish this goal in an effective manner. The conventional fixed tariff, in which the price of a kWh is fixed at various times during the day, is still utilized in the majority of countries. 

Many nations and areas also employ a progressive tariff system, in which the cost of energy rises as consumption rises. The increase is divided into numerous slices, each of which is for a specific amount of energy consumption. The old tariff structure, however, is insufficient to enhance energy efficiency and lower the cost of electricity. For this reason, numerous complex power tariff schemes are put forth, including Demand Response Programs (DRPs), in which the electricity rate is made variable over time. Additionally, users receive rewards or penalties depending on whether they adhere to particular consumption limits.

THE future

Energy management implementation’s future is evident. However, making the transition to a smarter grid takes time and money. The improvement of the efficiency and dependability of the power and distribution systems depends heavily on energy management. To do this, the load demand is efficiently scheduled and optimized using clever algorithms and cutting-edge control systems. The cost of electricity can be reduced by 20 to 30 percent thanks to energy management, which is impressive and advantageous over the long run. It is advised for a better future to have regulations and legislation requiring users to install energy management systems in order to minimize pollution and energy waste.

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