The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Renewable Integration Still a Challenge for Utilities

As the world continues to fight against the effects of climate change, renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, wave, biomass and others are often cited as the solution to help both curb carbon emissions and meet rising global demand for power.

Indeed, in a recent report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested that the total global potential for renewable energy, “is substantially higher than both current and future projected global energy demand.” The study states that renewable energy production will increase between three and 10 times by 2050, with almost half of all new electricity production capacity installed globally in 2008-2009 coming from renewable sources.

The renewables revolution is already well under way. In 2008, renewables contributed around 19 percent of the global electricity supply. By 2030, wind power alone could be providing 10 percent of the total global electricity supply and in excess of 20 percent by 2050—a massive expansion considering that in 2009 wind power met just 1.8 percent of worldwide electricity demand.

So far, so good. And what's more, analysts expect investment in renewables to increase as concerns over the viability of nuclear power continue to rise in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and Fukushima nuclear emergency. The change in sentiment will be seen as more evidence of the potential for energy investment shifting to renewables.

However, there are a number of potential challenges inherent in integrating renewable energy into the existing grid—due in large part to its intermittent and distributed nature—that utilities will need to address in order to capitalise on the renewables opportunity. The lack of an effective electricity storage system means utilities must deal with unwanted supply during low-demand hours and insufficient supply during peak-demand times.

It's an issue that will be further exacerbated by the prospect of greater use of electric vehicles, which poses utilities with an additional supply and demand dilemma. Analysts suggest an electric car consumes about as much power per year as an average European household, and the rapid increase in demand will force utilities to offer so-called smart metering solutions to cope.

“If you have 50 percent or more renewable in the grid and also large amounts of electric cars to supply, then the grid will need smart metering and we will have to prepare their roll-out soon,” says Marc De Witte, VP for Research and Innovation at French energy firm GDF Suez.

Jens Jakobsson, Vice President for Distribution at Danish utility Dong, agrees. “Most people will charge their cars when they get home from work, which is still during peak demand hours. That will put increasing pressure on the grid,” he says. “It would be best if a smart metering option could automatically control when the electric car is being charged, preferably during low-demand, off-peak hours.”

Some grids may struggle to supply enough power if drivers plug in millions of electric cars at about the same time, particularly during peak demand.

The topic is sure to be on the top of the agenda at the Next Generation Utilities Summit Europe 2011 that takes place in Malaga, Spain from November 15-17. This closed-door summit, hosted by GDS International, features some of the leading voices in the European utilities sector. Along with De Witte and Jakobsson, attendees include Philip Lowe, Director General of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission; Julio Gonzalo, CTO of Gas Natural Fenosa; and Miguel Angel Sanchez Fornie, Director of Control Systems at Iberdrola.

Along with how to integrate renewables into the grid, other topics on the agenda include how R&D can deliver a low carbon future, overcoming infrastructural and regulatory challenges in Europe, achieving greater customer satisfaction through real-time information, and using GIS as the foundation for the smart grid.

The Next Generation Utilities Summit Europe 2011 is an exclusive C-level event reserved for 100 participants that includes expert workshops, facilitated roundtables, peer-to-peer networks and coordinated meetings.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ngueurope.com

 

RELATED ARTICLES

First Anniversary of The Balkan Floods Highlights Renewable Energy Market Opportunities

Ilias Tsagas, Contributor One year ago this month, severe flooding in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia killed 79 people, displaced about half a million and caused economic paralysis of the region. In the wake of these the catastrophic events, ...
Canadian Climate Goals

Canada Announces Weak Climate Target

Danielle Droitsch, NRDC Last week, Canada has announced its contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases by announcing its post-2020 target. The target announced today is off-track to the 80 percent cut by 2050 they committed to in...
Renewable Energy Stocks

What Drives Alternative Energy Stocks?

Harris Roen, The Roen Financial Report Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at...
Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

Using Grid data analytics to protect revenue, reduce network losses...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

Boulder County Residents Generate Their Own Energy with Community S...

Despite a soggy afternoon, solar energy advocates gathered at ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS