Back in December 2008, Lawrence E. Jones of AREVA T&D published an editorial in Smart Electric News entitled “Renewable Energy Systems, Electric Vehicles, and Smart Electricity Grids for a Carbon-Constrained World.” In that article, he lays out some of the challenges of the road ahead for the energy industry – including the need to reduce carbon emissions, the need for continued research, development, and implementation of renewable energy sources, an aging workforce, and the most crucial need – to create a 21st-century power grid that’s able to anticipate and deal with periods of heavy power usage.
The whole thing is worth a read… but here are some of the highlights:
Wind and solar power are intermittent resources and as such make it difficult to operate the power grids to which they are connected. To successfully integrate RES, electric utilities must have reliable forecast information about the quantity and availability of the power output. Thus, forecasting systems are one of the primary requirements to achieving increased penetration of wind and solar energy. The second requirement is combining the forecast information with the real-time operational data in the utilities’ control centers for decision making – both in the front and back offices. . . .
To effectively integrate large amounts of renewable power generation with existing and emerging smart power grids, there will be increasing need for modern information, communications and control technologies. But these are not the only prerequisites. There must also be investments in education and training a new work force to carry out the millions of new jobs expected to be created. Work force development must be an integral part of every country’s long term goal in order to compete in the 21st century global economy.
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