Today, grids need to be more robust, resilient and reliable. They must also withstand the effects of constantly changing supply and demand patterns and bidirectional power flows, as well as external impacts such as cyber and physical attacks and extreme weather events.
In the United States (US) power grids are at the center of a significant transformation driven by the decarbonization of all economic sectors, the increase in distributed renewable generation and the electrification of consumption.
The objective is to reach 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 100% clean electricity by 2035. Within the framework of the Build Back Better Plan, the current Administration has earmarked approximately $500 billion to fund the development of new infrastructure over the next five years, through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. However, reaching these targets requires an integrated strategy of investment, innovation, and the adoption of new technology, for transmission and distribution networks.
Frequent radical climate events in the US such as hurricanes, wildfires and thunderstorms, which lead to outages and many other forms of severe infrastructural damage, constantly remind us of the crucial role of grid resilience. Today, however, resilience means more than adapting power infrastructures to climate change. In fact, in many parts of the US, utilities are no longer the dominant producers of electricity, and generation from distributed energy resources (DERs) has increased exponentially, requiring visibility and controllability by the distribution grid operator at local level. This is why modernizing the grids’ core components is vital.
As Gridspertise, our experience in these fields, leveraging on the Enel Group’s knowledge of over 20 years in power distribution grids, has shown us that investing in the digitalization of the infrastructure enhances resilience, improves both reliability and the integration of renewable generation sources, lowers electricity costs and, ultimately, unlocks the best clean energy resources by connecting them to demand centers.
What is our greatest added value at Gridspertise?
It is within this context that Gridspertise can offer innovative, flexible, sustainable, and integrated solutions and services to respond to North American needs, in terms of prediction and prevention, grid automation and resilience, as well as fast response and restoration.
Prediction and prevention
Thanks to tools that make it possible to spot issues before breakdowns in an efficient and digitalized way, and to make simulations of the network in different conditions, it’s possible to prevent potential damage and intervene promptly. The Network Digital Twin® creates a virtual replica of the electric grid and components by acquiring and processing datasets provided by lidar, images and sensors. Through its 3D Viewer and Computer Vision functions, it facilitates vegetation management and smart predictive maintenance. Forecasting potential power outages is the new frontier in data-driven operation and maintenance.
Grid automation and resilience
In the evolving framework of the energy transition, it is crucial to prepare networks in order to effectively manage the increase in distributed generation, monitor power quality, and ensure grid resilience. The QEd - Quantum Edge® device is a revolutionary all-in-one solution that enables utilities to run key grid functionalities directly on the edge, making networks more efficient, sustainable and reliable, thanks to its decentralized computational capability and edge multi-purpose platform.
QEd virtualizes key network automation functions through customizable applications. It also reduces the number of required components in the secondary substation, with savings in terms of field interventions for installation and maintenance, logistics and training.
This device tackles the needs of utilities with different levels of digital readiness to:
- stabilize the grid starting from meter data management and remote control of the network (from measurement to full automation in an all-in-one device, optimizing time, operating expenses, and capital investments).
- enhance the performance of automation through new edge functionalities, thereby increasing performance indicators.
- operate the networks of the future, making grids ready for the introduction of flexible assets and the management of new services.
Fast response and restoration
Finally, in the case of outages caused by natural disasters, it is essential to count on tools that enable operators to intervene quickly and safely, even in the most hostile situations. Digital Work Force Management applications enable prompt and safe intervention in these scenarios. The entire network cartography is available through a smartphone app featuring augmented reality and can be navigated offline in real time, whether on a national scale or as a single user view. The app can also manage LV grid connections directly in the field.
Distributech International, Dallas: new partnerships for an electric future
We will be present as a sponsor at Distributech International, the leading annual transmission and distribution event, which will be held in Dallas from May 23 to 25.
Our CEO, Robert Denda, will open the event with an introductory speech at the Breakfast Roundtable, and we will showcase our grid edge digital solutions at our booth. This is a great opportunity to meet utilities in the US and explore new ways to accelerate the electric future.