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System Technology and Net Management

Electrical system technology, grid management and distributed power stations

The liberalisation  of the energy  market  and  the European target of increasing the share of renewables in electricity production to 22 % by 2010  demand considerable restructuring within the European integrated grid system.  The evolution of the electricity supply from large, centralised power  stations to a system consisting both of centralised and  distributed electricity suppliers  also places new demands on equipment technology and  electrical engineering.

The greater the proportion of distributed “micro power  stations”, the more deeply  they must  be integrated into the grid control system.  The management units and  the communications concepts which  need to be developed for this will be essential  in realising the concept of “distributed electricity generation”.

Autonomous electricity supplies  based  on photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal electricity generation, hydropower or hybrid systems  are key to the development of regions with underdeveloped infrastructure throughout the world,  as well as to supplying off-grid systems in Europe.  They represent a large global export market, which  is especially attractive for the diversification  of German companies.

In order  to open up these  markets  using reliable and  cost-effective systems,  new technologies will be needed for control technology for stand- alone  grids, optimised energy  management for the operation of complex systems  and  optimis- ed system  management at the planning stage.

Research and  development requirements

The aim of future  R&D efforts must  be to organise the changing supply structures in such a way as to enable network stability and  supply reliability. In addition to a proper energy  mix, high-performance communications structures, online  procedures and  forecasts  for greater capacity  planning, and  bidirectional energy management and  trading systems  will be crucial for the dialogue between energy  generators, distributors, and  consumers. The development of modern information and  communications technologies is indispensable for improved energy  management methods.

Furthermore, the following are among the most important goals of applied research and development: 
•    Integration of fluctuating renewables and distributed electricity generation into integrated grids (energy and  communica- tions interfaces, output forecasting and control)
•   Development of grid management systems and  grid control processes as well as overall models  for technological, economic and ecological  optimisation (for all technologies and  grid levels, including the low voltage level)
•   Research in the area of controlling electricity consumption by private  and  industrial  users as the basis for comprehensive grid management. 
•   Development of intelligent, communication- capable and  multifunctional power  converters to provide  energy  and  capacity, emergency power supply and  network quality improvement for all technologies in distributed electricity generation and storage.
•   Research in the field of power  electronics as key technology in energy  system  technology (new  components/technologies, digitalisation/automation, thermal optimisation)
•   In the medium-term, electricity storage facilities will be required for large volumes  of energy. 
•   Technologies in the fields of compressed-air storage, flywheels, supercaps and  super- conductive coils will be extremely important for the provision  of high  capacities.
•   Development of modelling and  simulating tools for the design  of energy  supply systems.

For autonomous electricity supplies,  developments in control engineering, energy  manage- ment for flexibly expandable systems  and management control centres to optimise the maintenance of many  individual installations distributed over a wide area are just as important as opening up new appropriate applications and  energy  conversion technologies. At the same time,  electrification in rural areas particularly requires  an even better understanding of socio-economic and  socio-technological relationships. This knowledge must  be taken into account when  developing new concepts and  products for rural electrification in order first to allow the construction of small-cell electricity supplies  in the region  of a few hundred watts,  which  can then  be connected to local and  regional  power  supply structures as the grid is expanded.

 

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