Power Grid Complexity For Utilities – The 5 Go-To Elements

When it comes to today’s distributed energy system, managing power grid intricacies happens to be quite challenging. With such a quick growth of intermittent renewables, growing numbers of prosumers as well as distributed energy resources- DERs, electrification, as well as surging demand for power, it is indeed becoming all the more complex for utilities to deliver the reliable energy one is expecting.

However, grid operators are often seen handling such changes with aging infrastructure that, by the way, was not at all built considering a distributed energy system in mind.

It is worth noting that one needs to have a new approach that can go on to manage power grid complexity and, at the same time, ensure the grid will speed up the energy transition and not just hold it back.

Software underpinned by a robust data foundation happens to be the key. When energy utilities make this a priority, the complexity of the grid can be effectively managed, thereby offering a more resilient power supply even as one transitions to cleaner energy.

What is grid orchestration, and why is it important this year?

The energy transition happens to be reshaping utilities’ business models. As renewables as well as DERs expand exponentially, utilities must go on to manage external assets as well as their own.

The grid management tools that are existing go on to help operators manage certain areas of the grid, but they do not offer much coordination throughout the entire energy system. And it is this coordination that happens to be very critical in a distributed grid.

To put it in other way, one needs to move from a grid management scenario to a grid orchestration one.

How’s that going to be possible? By way of digital orchestration infrastructure.

This goes on to bring technology alignment so that the utilities can achieve end-to-end orchestration throughout the entire grid ecosystem. And it is what GridOS has been designed in order to deliver, moving everyone closer to entirely integrated as well as flexible grid operations.

With grid orchestration, utilities can go on to manage the accelerating grid complexity within a distributed energy environment.

Let us list out the 5 biggest priorities when it comes to energy utilities in 2024.

1. Modernization of the Grid: Time to Invest for the Future in 2024

The transition to renewable power happens to be accelerating; however, it needs to go further and faster so as to meet the net zero targets, as per Fatih Birol, the IEA Director.

Apparently, the IEA study has gone in to find out that the world must go on to add or replace 80 million km within the grid by 2040 or else risk hampering the transition of energy, thereby impacting energy security.

The IEA Director warned that the grid happens to be at the risk of becoming a bottleneck.

It is well to be noted that preparing the grid for the future goes on to mean that:

Integrating as well as managing more intermittent renewable energy as well as DERs

Accommodating electrification along with the growing demand for power

Planning for the omnidirectional flow of energy when it comes to a distributed energy system

Looking at energy consumers as partners

Grid modernization happens to be a daunting task, but it has now gone on to become a priority. And there are ways the utilities can go on to take in 2024 that will enable them to manage power grid intricacies and, at the same time, prepare the power grid for the future.

Grid modernization: the steps that need to be taken in 2024

By executing the Grid Orchestration Software, utilities can very well tackle the intricate task of balancing sustainable energy systems. Grid operators can make the most out of the real-time data and also apply advanced technologies like AI and ML.

With the grid orchestration software in place, utilities can go on to manage supply as well as demand dynamically and, in a way, tackle the toughest grid modernization issues, which include:

  • Regulating the power flow across the network, making sure of a resilient and reliable supply, even with a greater share of intermittent renewables
  • Getting the new renewable resources into the grid
  • Connecting DERs to the grid and, at the same time, managing the omnidirectional flow to and from prosumers
  • Patching the existing systems and solutions into the sustainable energy grid
  • Having a unified view of the total network

2. Develop a resilient grid. Safeguard the energy supply against extreme weather

Managing uncertainty never happens to be easy. However, in recent years, the world has gone on to face an endless catalogue of extreme weather events.

The rise in weather events happen to be coinciding with the push for renewables as well as electrification, which goes on to put massive pressure on power generation, transmission, and the distribution network. Power supply, along with demand, happens to be more unpredictable and harder to take care of, thereby affecting the resilience of the power grid.

Steps to be taken in 2024: Executing the Grid Orchestration Software

It is well to be noted that software has become very necessary when it comes to managing the grid. In the past, numerous solutions have gone on to focus on certain areas. In a distributed system with numerous variables, grid operators go on to require a more coordinated approach.

The Grid Orchestration Software provides an intelligent, flexible, as well as an integrated software platform.

It harnesses the data, putting AI as well as ML to work.

By making full use of GridOS applications, both innovative new apps along with modernized proven apps happen to be more composable solutions that are modular, interoperable, as well as flexible.

3. Break down the silos. Make the data accessible

Siloed data makes the intricate task of operating a sustainable grid even more of a challenge. Utilities require a unified view of data throughout the entire system, right from generation to transmission as well as distribution, such as DERs. And one requires this data as close as it can get to real time so as to respond dynamically to the changing conditions while at the same time balancing supply and demand.

It is worth noting that when information pertaining to energy infrastructure as well as grid performance ends up siloed, employees look for manual workarounds that often lead to inefficiencies as well as human error, which in turn affects grid resiliency.

Steps to Take in 2024: Make Data Accessible All Throughout the Network

A federated grid data fabric that makes use of effective integration principles goes on to offer a modern as well as a future-proof solution. It eases the complexities of data integration and, at the same time, ensures data quality throughout the energy ecosystem.

When energy utilities can go on to access data all throughout the network, they can go on to achieve real-time, end-to-end visibility. They can also leverage real-time data, advanced analytics, as well as machine learning, thereby helping them to make better decisions, speed up innovation, and also enhance the efficiencies.

Due to a grid data fabric, managing power grid intricacies becomes easier. When data as well as system silos are broken down, operators can go on to use simulations, predictive functioning, and automated grid control, thereby leading to a reliable energy supply that is even more.

4. Automate grid procedures

Automation happens to be vital when it comes to managing the rising complexity of a sustainable power grid as well as helping to fast-track utilities’ grid modernization processes.

Today’s digitalized energy grid happens to be fed by distributed data collected right from millions of data points. Due to the effective integration, more data sources go on to deliver better and enriched data and an enhanced view of the grid. Grid operators can thereby go on to make better decisions, even at the almost real-time speeds that are needed.

However, the traditional manual processes go on to struggle so as to keep pace with today’s data volumes as well as grid complexity.

Steps that need to be taken in 2024: Coordinate numerous automation processes

Advanced software solutions help the utilities react to the transition, and that too in real-time, thereby automatically responding when conditions alter. However, when solutions get delivered by way of a comprehensive grid orchestration platform, utilities can go on to coordinate multiple automation processes all throughout the network. This enables the building of efficiencies and, at the same time, delivers a more reliable as well as resilient service.

In terms of developing a sustainable grid, automation can take over major processes, such as:

Automating DER scheduling as well as the DER optimization

Management of voltage

Automating fault isolation along with service restoration

Automation goes on to lead to fewer outages and faster restoration times. Utilities can rapidly spot issues and, at the same time, deal with them before they go on to cause major disruption for customers. This results in fewer customer issues as well as a more reliable energy supply.

5. Safeguard the utility’s mission crucial infrastructure

The energy sector happens to be a prime target when it comes to the threat actors, with cyberattacks on utilities growing by 118% between 2020 and 2022.

Day-to-day management happens to be relying on data exchange between nodes of the energy ecosystem, such as with consumers as well as DERs. However, this does create a massive array of vulnerabilities ready for cybercriminals to exploit.

Steps for 2024: Build a Zero Trust system

Do not just trust, but always verify.

When it comes to a zero-trust model, all the users, even those who are within the utility, are consistently authenticated, authorized, as well as validated. Access to data as well as resources is only given when it is needed by employees in order to complete a specific task.

A zero-trust model goes on to assume that everyone, as well as everything else, happens to be a potential threat. Utility assets along with the networks are consistently tracked, so potential threats or even unauthorized activity get quickly identified. The information is then used so as to continuously improve the defenses.

Due to next-generation grid orchestration software such as GridOS, a zero-trust security model happens to be built for utility IT architecture.

The consumers of today take notice of how businesses take care of their data. In 2024, utilities have to become less trusting so as to become more trustworthy to users and also protect critical infrastructure.

The energy industry happens to be rapidly adjusting to a more sustainable grid. The new model is underpinned by growing data points, thereby leading to escalating power grid intricacy.

Making sure to escalate the power grid complexity happens to be a challenge for utilities. But managing such complexity also leads to a more efficient, modern, as well as a resilient grid, and therefore there is indeed a lot to be enthusiastic about this year.