The rise of virtual power plants will be a key trend in 2019, according to ABB’s Sagnik Murthy. He says there is wider uptake of distributed energy resources, but there are challenges around the intermittency of solar and wind generation, which means battery storage has a key role to play. Murthy points out that the energy landscape has faced challenges around regulation and uncertainty, in recent years, and this has prompted developers to change their focus from front of the meter to behind the meter markets. While the behind the meter market was expected to accelerate in 2018, Ofgem introduced further barriers which “up-ended business cases” and “eroded investor confidence”.
He adds that large energy users will need to focus on energy efficiency measures and resilience, and should be encouraged to look at opportunities around micro-grids.
ABB and Rolls-Royce recently announced a global partnership on micro-grid technology and advanced automation. Together the two companies will offer an innovative, energy-efficient microgrid solution for utilities, commercial and industrial entities.
The ability of micro-grids to seamlessly separate themselves from the main grid, in the event of a potential grid fault or emergency, is an increasingly important feature. Micro-grids enable resilient power supply even with high penetration of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Digital automation and control systems intelligently coordinate distributed energy resources and loads for the microgrid to function efficiently.
Rolls-Royce offers the MTU Onsite Energy brand power system solutions: from mission critical, standby and continuous power to combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids.
“Due to the transformation towards decarbonisation, customers need to pursue sustainable power options that also deliver utmost profitability. For this, we rely primarily on micro-grids, which are autonomous energy supply systems that are efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly,” said Andreas Schell, CEO, Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Combining our integrated MTU diesel and gas genset system technology and our control solutions, with ABB’s modular micro-grid solution, control capability and remote service, will offer customers the combined strengths of the two world leaders in technology.”
“ABB Ability e-mesh can ensure a stable power grid, even with a high share of renewable energy from various sources, working smoothly together with already installed gas or diesel engines,” said Massimo Danieli, head of ABB’s grid automation business line within the company’s Power Grids business. “ABB has a vast number of micro-grid installations globally and through our partnership with Rolls-Royce Power Systems, we will further support the growing interest for micro-grid solutions globally.”