How advanced distribution management systems are key to integrating distributed resources.
Jeff Meyers focuses on smart grid strategy and development at Schneider Electric. He was president of Telvent Miner & Miner.
Imagine you live in a neighborhood that proudly relies on a local solar array for a significant portion of your electricity. One sunny day, the system is humming along and producing more power than the surrounding homes need, so the extra energy is released back onto the grid. Then, a cloud passes over the sun and instead of 3 MW distributed to the surrounding area, only 1 MW is produced. Suddenly, in a matter of seconds, your neighborhood is at an electricity deficit. Perhaps your light bulbs dim for a second or two, or a computer drops off line, but then the grid sends extra megawatts down the line, and the system recovers.
Everything is running smoothly again, until the sun comes back out several minutes later and now this area of the system is in overcapacity mode, with potential over-voltages and other possible negative effects. The power flow quickly has to reverse course back. Again, it takes the grid a few seconds or even minutes to recover to a steady state – potentially damaging equipment owned by the utility and its customers.