R&D: Smart grids
As electricity generation from wind power and other sources intermittent generation increases, a need is growing for intelligent, flexible and reliable distribution networks.
Today’s electric grids were originally planned and built primarily for centralised, large scale electricity generation and distribution. Demands on flexibility of electric grids have increased. This fact, along with a number of other development trends surrounding energy use and energy policies – has resulted in the development of smart grid technology. Vattenfall is conducting several smart grid technology R&D projects aimed at ensuring secure and reliable network services.
In Sweden, priority will be given primarily to two research areas – smart grids and electricity storage. The first step in this collabora-tion will involve a joint effort surrounding a large demonstration project involving smart grids on the Swedish island of Gotland.
Energy efficiency, energy storage and smart grids
Several of Vattenfall’s R&D programmes address energy efficiency and how to handle the growing amount of intermittent generation sources like wind and solar, which result in irregular electricity generation. The work in these areas is performed in co-operation with Vattenfall’s Business Development unit and is closely tied to customers’ preferences and demands.
Vattenfall’s development of smart grid technologies is focused on how to strike a balance between generation and consumption and thereby guarantee availability of high quality electricity as the amount of intermittent generation sources increases, but also to create a system that enables consumers to feed in and get credit for electricity generated from small-scale household systems.
To counteract situations of under- or overproduction, Vattenfall is analyzing possibilities to develop local energy storage solutions, such as batteries, but also through co-ordinated use of smart solutions, such as heat pumps.
The development of smart grids also aims to promote a rapid transition towards sustainable road transport, based increasingly on electric vehicles.