Solar and Wind energy have seen significant growth in the last decade and are forecast to grow even more in the years to come. As governments have set themselves targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they have fostered the development of these technologies through subsidies and other incentives.
However, as the scale of manufacturing increases and as technology has developed, the costs of solar and wind power has come down significantly, making it more feasible for many projects. With this growing production of electricity through wind and solar, there have been a number of interesting parallel developments in the grid and other infrastructure.
Without sufficient scale, wind and solar wouldn’t be able to flourish as they have. Interconnecting a national grid with that of a country’s neighbours and creating a larger grid allows for more assets to be utilized as best as possible. This in turn can reduce the need for spinning reserve, vital to smaller-scale networks.
Effective means of energy storage are also needed to allow for the further integration of renewables into the grid. It is the automotive industry that appears to be picking up the reins on these developments, by integrating their electric vehicle and battery storage technologies into the grid. Companies such as Tesla, BMW, and Renault-Nissan are all developing storage solutions, either at the consumer level, grid level, or both.
With the increased integration of these technologies, so too arises the need for control systems and monitoring. Smart meters, and other smart devices are being rolled out at increasing rates to allow for TSOs and DSOs to better manage the grid. This also leads to a more efficient use of resources and prevents waste of energy through load balancing and more effective demand response during times of high renewable energy production.