The big shift to digital - Enabling the evolving power system

2017-05-02 - The Energy Times article by Gary Rackliffe, ABB Vice President, Smart Grids, North America
Electricity continues to be the most versatile and widely used form of energy, but fossil generation has also been a major contributor to carbon emissions. With growing awareness and global focus on mitigation, the challenge we face is to balance the demand for electricity with minimal environmental impact and optimized grid efficiency. This challenge has led to an influx of renewables into the grid, and wind and solar resources will become a significant source for electrical power generation in the future. There are clear policy shifts and disruptive developments such as the dramatic price reductions in solar PV and battery technologies that are helping to drive the change. Recent utility-scale auctions have closed with wind and solar PV generation priced at 30 USD/MWH or less.

Wind generation and its often remote locations, a significant increase in solar PV distributed generation at the grid edge, and the variable nature of wind and solar have created new supply side challenges. At the same time, we also see new demand loads like electric vehicles and data centers as well as smarter homes and buildings. All these complexities require the evolving power system to be increasingly flexible and interconnected, as well as more reliable and intelligent.

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