Smart Grid

December 05, 2012

New Report Determines Biggest Near-Term Issues in Smart Grids

So what’s on the near-term horizon for consumer electronic technology? We all know by now about smart grid technologies and how they’re going to help streamline and revolutionize the way utilities deliver electricity and the way homes and business control their use of power, but what about other complementary technologies?

A new survey commissioned by IEEE (News - Alert) and conducted by Zpryme goes a long way toward understand what’s in the nation’s near-term future when it comes to new energy solutions. The topics that came up in the survey – energy storage, microgrids and distributed generation technologies like wind, solar and onsite power – help understand the direction the world is heading in clean energy.  Zpryme surveyed 460 energy industry executives from around the world to arrive at the results of the study.

Collectively, the study found, energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids will drive the evolution of energy markets over the next five years. These technologies are expected to increase the adoption of the smart grid, and spur new markets for software and systems that integrate these technologies into modern and future energy systems.

Microgrids. This is a localized grouping of electricity generation (from a variety of different sources), energy storage methods, and loads that can operate either independently or while directed to the larger grid (macrogrid) to either pull energy from it or give energy to it. Microgrid technology, however, is badly in need to standards.

Distributed energy generation is a system that involves generating electricity from many small energy sources instead of one large central energy source. Many countries are embracing distributed energy generation as a way of taking advantage of different energy sources and avoiding the costs – both monetary and environmental – of transporting power over long distances.

Energy storage. Much of the world today is pursing newer and cleaner ways to store energy once it is generated. Particularly with energy from renewable sources (you can’t keep wind or sun in a box), storage is a critical element of energy independence. Technologies like batteries, flywheels, compressed air or hydraulics, solar ponds, liquid hydrogen and many other methods (mechanical, chemical, thermal or electrical) are being experimented with. The major barrier to energy storage remains high costs.

To read the report in detail, click here.  

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli