A groundbreaking new study by Consentec finds that new grid technologies can cut the costs of redispatching generation by 90%, which translates into savings of about €500 million and reductions in renewable energy curtailment of 3 TWh annually. The study also hints at many additional benefits. Further study could identify even more ways to use our power grids more efficiently. Our power grids have been operated in much the same way for more than a hundred years. It seemed so simple for big central generating stations to safely and reliably send electricity across wires to our homes and businesses. Why would we need to change something that has worked so well for so long?
A world in transition
It turns out that how we produce and consume electricity has changed remarkably over the last few years. In our homes, not only do we have whole new categories of electric devices, but the digital revolution has made them smarter too. Systems ranging from personal electronics to climate control now anticipate our needs, seamlessly maximising comfort and convenience while minimizing costs. The energy we use is increasingly coming from renewable energy sources. They are cleaner but more variable, which makes for new demands on the flexibility of our power grids. We are also using electricity in new ways – for example to power cars, trucks, ferries, and even airplanes – which is increasing overall demand for electricity as well as how and when it is consumed.
Our power grids have not kept up. All these changes add up to the need not only for more capacity, but also to manage it more nimbly and intelligently. The digital revolution can help.
How we can benefit from innovation
A new study by leading European consulting firm Consentec examines the impact of deploying innovative new technologies across central Europe. Dynamic line rating – one of Heimdall Power’s key product offerings – quantifies and predicts the effects of temperature on power lines to achieve increases in grid capacity of 25% or more. Other technologies – such as modular power flow control and superconducting transmission cables – can control where power flows and allow it to be delivered more efficiently than ever before. Consentec’s study examines savings based on the deployment of all three technologies across the central European power grid in the context of the EU’s 2030 climate goals.
The study projects the annual benefits of dynamic line rating alone at €279 million, and all three technologies together at €499 million. Importantly, the study also makes the point that such technologies make for 3 TWh less curtailment of our new renewable energy resources, by ensuring that more of the power which they can generate actually gets delivered. The study was funded by CurrENT, a collaboration of innovative grid companies of which Heimdall Power is a member. Further discussion of the study and its conclusions are available at its launch event.
But that’s not all
The reduction in costs and waste identified by the Consentec study are far from the end of the story. As the study notes, DLR and other innovative grid technologies also offer benefits that are not so easily quantified, including increased flexibility in grid operations, better and faster integration of renewable energy sources, greater resilience in managing extreme weather, and reduced land use and social impacts from new transmission development. While technologies like dynamic line rating are ready for deployment now, we expect additional studies to make the case even stronger for deploying it and other innovative grid technologies.
The digital revolution can help us meet our energy and sustainability needs safely, reliably, and cost-effectively. Heimdall Power is excited to be part of the solution.