Last week in energy brought interesting news about digital technology and artificial intelligence.
That’s why our latest issue of Ukrenergo Review will be talking about how Japanese Kyocera uses blockchain to control the micronetwork with solar panels and energy storages, and how Google is going to use AI to predict the RES production, as well as other interesting developments concerning the replacement of coal generation in Germany, implementation of smart meters etc.
1.Japanese Kyocera tests blockchain to operate a virtual power plant
Kyocera, a large electronics manufacturer in Japan, is looking into creating a virtual power plant (VPP) with a blockchain platform to test solar power sales. Pv-magazine.com reports. According to representatives of Kyocera, VPP will be connected with the company’s solar modules and batteries, and its energy flow will be managed by LO3 Energy’s blockchain system (an American start-up company) based on a peer-to-peer distributed consensus network. The Blockchain platform will verify and record transactions between power generators and those consuming power from the plant and will enable them to share the energy generated via a microgrid, a set-up which would reduce the burden on the wider grid.
Several photovoltaic systems and batteries will be installed at the testing site to simulate multiple generators and will be connected to consumers. These VPPs will be able to independently carry out energy transactions with other consumers through the LO3 Energy platform. LO3 Energy blockchain platform helps manage power generation and the availability among connected users, which facilitates an effective test environment,” Kyocera said in a statement.
The Government of Japan supports pilot projects for the deployment of virtual power plants. Using Kyocera’s and LO3 Energy’s products in VPP testing will allow to use outcomes from the project to improve its expertise in remotely controlled distributed power resources.The growth of peer-to-peer models is set to have a significant impact on the PV industry, with interest growing rapidly in retail model applications.
LO3 Energy is developing its blockchain technology for decentralized business operations in the energy, cleantech and utility sectors. In its native New York, LO3 is using blockchain to operate a virtual microgrid that connects residential rooftop PV arrays, enabling asset owners to sell electricity to other members of the microgrid at affordable prices.
2.Transition of the European grid to RES can be achieved through distributed generation
Europe’s 100% renewable energy system may be economically feasible To this end, it should combine the benefits of distributed generation and the possibility of expanding trade through pan-European transmission networks. That is the finding of a new study by Christian Breyer, professor of solar economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology, and Claudia Kemfert, head of energy, transportation and environment at the German Institute of Economic Research, according to PV-magazine.com.
The scientists claim a flexible energy system drawing on the best of both a super-grid and completely decentralized energy systems could see the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) in Europe fall by up to 26% from its current levels, in 2050.
The research considers two scenarios for the European energy system. One in which 20 macro-regions of Europe have separated into independent energy systems with low levels of cooperation; and another marked by strong power interconnections between the same regions and widespread adoption of energy storage combined with the deployment of renewables.
In the first scenario, Europe’s LCOE is expected to decline from approximately €69/MWh in 2015 to €56/MWh by 2050, and in the second, a 2050 LCOE of €51/MWh is envisaged. A substantial economic benefit, through cross-border trade, is worth €26 billion per year
Breyer and Kemfert concluded their modeling may ensure an energy system based on 100% renewables can be achieved in Europe, and would be economically and technically feasible if the costs of storage and renewable generation technologies continue on their current trajectories. Infrastructure costs could be reduced through a decentralized power supply.
3.Geothermal energy may replace coal-based generation in Germany
German state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) explores options to replace coal with geothermal energy for heating, according to Cleanenergywire.org. According to NRW’s economy minister Andreas Pinkwart, the Rhenish region should become a model for the switch to modern, innovative and climate-friendly industry. He stated this, commenting on the interest in the pilot project “Detection of deep geothermal energy potential in north-western Europe” co-funded by the EU, aimed at assessing the potential of geothermal energy as an alternative source for heat supply, currently running on coal. Overall, the project envisages broad usage of geothermal energy in the north-western regions of Europe, in particular in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The project involves research institutes and industrial companies, including the German energy company RWE.
Project participants aim to explore how geothermal energy can be used as a source of energy for heating in the north-western regions of Europe. A first deep-drilling trial will be carried out near the Weisweiler coal plant, which currently provides much of the energy used for heating in western NRW.
According to NRW’s geological service, about 53 percent of north-western Europe’s energy is used for heating, and only 2.5 percent of that comes from renewables. According to a 2018 study, geothermal energy could cover up to a sixth of German heating demand by 2050.
4.Smart meters could save consumers hundreds of pounds
New research from Delta-ee and Smart Energy GB suggests smart metering could prove as disruptive as Netflix and Spotify. The most engaged smart meter customers could cut their annual bill by as much as a fifth by embracing new, digitised energy systems, according to Energy Live News.
According to this new study, smart meters have the power to provide a platform for modernisation and new technologies that will transform energy use. In particular, smart meters allow you to save both households, using new energy-saving technologies, and electric car users who, thanks to the use of this technology, can charge the car when the energy is the cheapest.
The research also suggests consumers could save from using peer-to-peer energy trading to buy and sell energy they generate and store with other customers on virtual platforms, as well as from auto-switching services. Smart meters are a fundamentally transformative technology and open up a whole host of new services to customers which can benefit their lives and reduce their costs
5.Google uses AI to boost wind efficiency
Google has announced it has found a way to boost wind energy efficiency by 20% with artificial intelligence (AI) forecasts. This is according to Energy Live News. The technology giant says it has successfully used its DeepMind machine learning platform to predict wind power output 36 hours in advance. This allows to reduce the variability and intermittency of the renewable power source.
The platform is using weather forecasts and historical turbine data. It uses the data to give wind farm operators more data-driven assessments of how to meet upcoming electricity demand and recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery commitments to the power grid a full day in advance. This makes wind farms more predictable and therefore valuable to the energy grid.
Google has recently announced plans to build a 10MW solar project suspended above fishing ponds in Taiwan. It is set to become the company’s first green energy project in Asia. Google already has several wind and solar stations in Europe and the Americas. The company is also buying electricity from 1.6 million solar panels to power two of its new data centres in the US.