Reports/Opinions

Smart Grids: Reviews and Prospects of ICEF 2016 Concurrent Sessions

Posted by Bo Normark November 15, 2016 Chairman Annex 6 Power T&D Systems, ISGAN

The electric energy sector is changing.

  • The production landscape of electricity is changing, with increased number of renewables such as wind and solar with variable production.
  • The consumption landscape is changing, with significant improvements in energy efficiency and accelerated deployment of electric vehicles.
  • The investor landscape for the energy sector is changing, with increasing participation of new actors.

To do nothing is no option, changes are needed.  Smart electricity grids have emerged as a cost-efficient element in this transformation. These solutions can offer multiple benefits appearing in a different part of the value chain. 

To capture the multiple benefits aggregators of energy resource can play a key role to offer services to the electricity market. To enable these aggregators to play their roles in the energy sector, various barriers for establishing their business models, such as standardization and policy issues, must be resolved. 

In the session on “Energy Resource Aggregation” Professor Ishii from the Waseda University gave a very good presentation how aggregation of energy conservation, demand response and storage could be used in the Japanese system. The message was basically positive about the possibilities. The presentation showed that there is very good work done on research level and the challenge is more on the regulatory side. This requires regulatory change and these changes are underway. A clear roadmap for these change was presented. To facilitate the cooperative work an Energy Resource Aggregation Business Forum (ERABF) has been established. 

The presentation in the session “Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB) Overview”  by Stuart McCafferty from Hitachi North America was addressing standardization issue and he was suggesting a “Open Field Message Bus”. This is an initiative from the user side ( e.g. Duke Energy) rather than from manufacturers that normally are driving standardization. This opens up for a standardization that is more directly driven by demands among the end users and may constitute an important building block for a successful implementation of smart grid solutions. It is important that this effort is followed up by regular standardization efforts. 

Finally in the session “Designing VPP and its Service Implementation” Mr.  Norio Murakami  President & CEO of ENERES Co., Ltd. gave an interesting presentation on Virtual Power Plants (VPP). This is an excellent example how a new company has developed  a new business model with aggregated flexibility based on modern IoT technology. The potential is large but also here regulatory changes are needed to develop the full potential of virtual power plants.

The company has the target to have a full-scale demonstrator in place by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

In conclusion, the session verified the key role smart grid solutions can have in the energy transformation and support the targets in the Paris agreement. New technologies but also new business models will support this development. But there is a key role to play for regulatory change and here new initiatives are needed but also taken by the key actors in Japan.