Smart grid: efficient use of new energy, a real energy revolution

Smart grid: efficient use of new energy, a real energy revolution

Wind energy and solar energy are new energy sources, but it is the smart grid that can effectively use them. This is the energy revolution.

Wind power generation in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is skyrocketing. The highest electricity load in 2007 was 11.09 million kilowatts. By 2020, the wind power installed capacity will reach 58.7 million kilowatts. However, because not all are connected to the national grid, the power consumption efficiency has become a problem, and the power consumption has been as high as 30%. Now, the Inner Mongolian government has to slow down the installed speed of wind power. The reality has become extremely severe-a large number of new energy power plants have not solved the fundamental problem of energy shortage.

Compared with China, the Germans are doing the opposite: accelerating the application of new energy, it is best to make it available. Their new plan is to install solar power installations on the roofs of each family, and then build a small wind power station in the courtyard to use them to meet all the households' needs for electricity and heat. The Germans dare to do this because in Germany, an omnipotent smart grid is spreading. After this network is established, the utilization rate of new energy can reach almost 100%. This is the real energy revolution.

The so-called establishment of a smart network means that the electricity generated by all energy sources is transmitted on a grid, which is called a smart grid. But it is different from the ordinary power grid. Its biggest feature is that it uses a lot of IT technology to make it more like an Internet, so it is extremely interactive. For example, various small power stations installed in German households, if the power generation exceeds the household demand, then this extra amount of electricity can be transmitted to other places that need electricity through the smart grid. But this is a "sale of electricity" behavior, so families can earn income. If the weather is cloudy or there is no wind, the home solar and wind power station will not work properly. At this time, if the user wants to use electricity, he can purchase the required power through the smart grid, which is another act of buying electricity.

In this kind of house covered with solar panels, 20% of the required energy is provided by solar energy

There is a good interaction between buying and selling. Even more amazing is that users can choose a suitable time to buy and sell electricity according to the fluctuation of electricity prices (the electricity price in many countries is very expensive during peak periods). Electricity price information is provided by the smart grid, and there are many ways to obtain this information, such as on the Internet, mobile phones or even radios. After the user obtains the information, he then sends the purchase order to the smart meter (replacement of the meter) installed in the home through the Internet and other means, and the smart meter controls whether to receive power or output power. In this way, users can buy electricity at a low price and sell it at a high price, much like stocks.

The interactivity of the smart grid does not stop there. It also allows all products that use electricity to participate in the interactive process. Ford is trying to do this. When the Ford plug-in hybrid vehicle is connected to an external power source, its battery system can communicate directly with the power grid through the intelligent parameters transmitted by the utility company (such as the power company). Owners can choose when to charge the vehicle, as well as the length of time and electricity charges by using the vehicle's touch screen navigation interface and the "Ford In-vehicle Office Solution System" in the center console. If the owner does not use the car for a long time, he can also sell off the stored electricity.

Household appliances can also be interactively operated, provided they are plugged in (ie, connected to a smart grid). Then the user can remotely control the switch status of home appliances through mobile phones, the Internet or other tools, and can set specific parameters, such as setting the temperature of the air conditioner and the washing program of the washing machine. What is even more unexpected is that electricity products can also independently choose what kind of energy to use. People who like wind power generation choose wind energy, and so on. There are solar energy, coal, gas and so on. Some organizations with higher carbon reduction requirements will naturally choose new energy, which can also encourage the entire society to greatly increase the proportion of new energy used. Without a smart grid, the generation of new energy cannot be effectively transmitted, and these organizations have no choice. Just like Inner Mongolia has a huge amount of wind power, most factories in inland areas still use coal power.

The powerful interactive nature of the smart grid aims to maximize the utilization rate of new energy sources, which is not a fantasy. 200 families in Stuttgart, Germany, are enjoying the good life brought by the smart grid; in a small city called Boulder with a population of 100,000 in Colorado, the smart grid is also applied here. More organizations are trying to research and apply smart grid. Siemens plans to invest 6 billion euros in smart grids; Cisco in the United States is helping power companies in various countries build smart grids because it believes that smart grids will be widely used in the next decade. IT companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and SAP also participated.

Smart grid is bringing greater market opportunities. American consulting firm BrattleGroup estimates the value of SmartGrid-related investments in the US market on average to be $ 75 billion per year. The company also estimated the total number from 2010 to 2030 and determined that its total amount was 1.5 trillion US dollars. Such a huge market is not groundless. The smart grid involves at least three areas: distribution from power stations to distribution stations, and then transmission to the power control network (transmission and distribution network) required by each user; one can transmit all of the smart grid. Timely data communication network (information communication network), as well as intelligent instruments that undertake load control work in homes and offices; use information communication network as infrastructure solutions and services (IT technical services). All three areas will generate tremendous business value, such as smart meters, smart meter information management systems, home power control devices, and services such as demand response (DemandResponse) using the above equipment.

The economic value of the smart grid and the high utilization rate of new energy have attracted the attention of governments of various countries. In Obama's new energy strategy, $ 4.5 billion will be used to transform the smart grid. In May of this year, China also announced to the world its determination to establish a "strong smart grid", and it is expected to be completed in three phases (completed in 2020) with a total investment of 4 trillion yuan. However, the current concept of smart grid in China is concerned with the function of two-way interaction between users, while the most publicized in Europe and America is the application of IT technology. Chinese IT companies should join more in the construction of smart grids. Be aware that smart grids are by no means as simple as installing a smart meter.

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