Smart grid technology, and related product and service applications, promise significant opportunity for companies across the electronics industry.
The number of successful smart grid projects is steadily growing, with each varying in scope and size. Although there’s is no universal smart grid definition yet, the EU Commission offers the following:
“An electricity network that can cost efficiently integrate the behaviour and actions of all users connected to it… to ensure economically efficient, sustainable power… with low losses and high levels of quality and security of supply and safety. “
It explains that a smart grid combines innovative products and services with intelligent monitoring, control, communication, and self-healing technologies. A smart grid allows varied power generators to connect successfully, while enabling consumers to aid system optimisation, partly by controlling their own supply.
Governments and utilities companies are working to strengthen infrastructure, build the right digital connective layers, as well as configure the required commercial transformations to accelerate smart grid growth.
Standards also have an important role to play in smart grid projects across the world. For manufacturers of products with smart grid applications, there’s a growing number of standards designed to help optimize design, as well as navigate and understand the rather fragmented market.
For example, BS IEC SRD 62913-1 provides generic smart grid requirements derived from a use-case methodology, while BS IEC SRD 62913-2-2 develops this to consider common smart grid system uses, and inform further standardization activities for market related domains. BS IEC SRD 62913-2-4 focuses on generic requirements for the electric transportation domain.
Manufacturers can consult specific standards which consider the need for new standardization work, based on use-case analysis, for grid management (BS IEC SRD 62913-2-1) and for resources connected to the grid (BS IEC SRD 62913-2-3).
Further important guidance can be found in PD IEC/TR 63097 which provides a smart grid standardization roadmap. Manufacturers can use the document to select the most appropriate set of standards for their operations, whether they are already published or in development.
A living and continually updated resource, the document also aims to create a common set of guiding principles around the specification, design, and implementation of smart energy systems.
Similarly, manufacturers can consult technical report PD CLC/TR 50608 for an overview of over 30 European smart grid projects in operational or construction phases. It outlines structure, contents and regulatory arrangements for each project, and is intended to inform smart grid standards development by sharing key learning points from early projects.
An important aspect of the smart grid concept is electrical energy storage (EES), which helps secure supply by capturing surplus power when it’s available. This electricity can then be released to maintain supply when demand increases. Manufacturers can use IEC TS 62933-5-1 to optimize ESS system safety in terms of hazard identification, and risk assessment and mitigation. Many ESS systems also include predictive monitoring capabilities - another important area for standards development.
Beyond storage capabilities, every smart grid project requires wider communication, measurement and control systems. IEC TS 62939-2 provides an architecture to define information exchange interfaces between demand-side smart systems and the power grid. This architecture is designed to cope with the currently fragmented market and lack of harmonized standard solutions.
Similarly, PD IEC TS 62872-1 defines the interface, in terms of information flow and other required standards, between industrial facilities and the smart grid. Meanwhile, BS IEC 62746-10-1 specifies a minimal data model and services for demand response (DR), pricing, and distributed energy resource (DER) communications. It outlines how to implement a two-way signalling system for information exchange between electricity service providers, aggregators, and end users.
Finally, many manufacturers are now producing smart grid-ready products and components, for home and building electronic systems (HBES), as well as building automation and control systems (BACS). BS EN 50491-12-1 specifies general requirements and architecture for an application layer interface between the customer energy manager (CEM) and smart devices (SD) operating within a non-industrial smart grid premises-side system.
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