Renewable energy might cause increasing power cuts

A modern power grid with a reduced dependence on non-renewable energy has environmental advantages, but they pose a problem to the existing power system, say scientists at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). 

Modern power grids are rapidly developing due to the increasing penetration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

However, renewable energy generation technologies are highly variable and this is resulting in a new challenge to the existing power systems.

When uncontrollable resources such as renewable energy fluctuate, the classical optimal power flow (OPF) solutions can provide inefficient power generation policies that can result in overloads and potential power cuts.

OPF represents the problem of determining the best-operating levels for power plants in order to meet demands.

Classical OPF is typically computed based on simple predictions of expected loads and generation levels for the upcoming time window.

These predictions can be fairly precise for traditional power grids but may be highly unreliable in the case of renewable generators.

Despite the increasingly larger investments in renewable energy, power cuts due to the uncertainty of the renewable power generation are still occurring frequently.

This shows that a strategy based solely on investments in technological improvements is no longer sufficient.

Researchers from SUTD, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and Pennsylvania State University, U.S. have proposed a strategy for modern power grids that reduces generation costs and the amount of greenhouse gas injected into the atmosphere, while also ensuring that all constraints in the power network are satisfied, preventing overloads and power cuts.

Dr. Mohammadreze Camanbaz, senior research fellow at SUTD: ‘Instead of requiring that the network constraints are satisfied for all possible values of uncertainty, we pushed the boundaries and allowed for a small well-defined risk of constraint violation to develop this new approach.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

 

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