Wil Sillen's post

Wil Sillen

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What are the limitations of the electricity network in making the energy supply more sustainable? The electricity network is the physical infrastructure that connects electricity generation, transmission, distribution and consumption. It plays a crucial role in making the energy supply more sustainable, as it enables the integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and the electrification of end-use sectors, such as transport and heating. However, the electricity network also faces some limitations and challenges in supporting the clean energy transition. Some of these are: - **Capacity constraints**: The electricity network needs to have enough capacity to accommodate the increasing and fluctuating demand for electricity, as well as the variable and distributed supply from renewables. However, many parts of the network are aging, congested or inadequate for the changing power system. This can lead to bottlenecks, losses, curtailment or blackouts¹². - **Regulatory barriers**: The electricity network is often regulated as a natural monopoly, with fixed tariffs and incentives based on cost recovery and reliability. However, this regulatory framework may not encourage network operators to invest in innovation, flexibility and efficiency, or to facilitate the participation of new actors and technologies in the power market²³. - **Technical challenges**: The electricity network needs to maintain a balance between supply and demand at all times, as well as a stable frequency and voltage. However, this becomes more difficult with higher shares of renewables, which are intermittent, weather-dependent and often located far from demand centers. The network also needs to cope with new sources of uncertainty and complexity, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and distributed generation¹³. Source of Information: (1) Electricity – Sustainable Recovery – Analysis - IEA.

(2) Challenges for electricity network governance in whole system change ....

Challenges for electricity network governance in whole system change: Insights from energy transition in Norway

Once transitions progress beyond the start-up phase, niche technologies diffuse more widely to generate important knock-on effects in a focal sector. …


(3) Transmission, distribution, and the clean energy transition.

There are various ways to overcome the limitations of the electricity network and make it more compatible with the clean energy transition. Some possible ways are: - **Investing in grid expansion and modernisation**: The electricity network needs to be upgraded and extended to connect more renewable energy sources, increase cross-border trade, reduce losses and improve reliability. This requires significant capital expenditure, which can be supported by public funding, regulatory incentives, private financing or a combination of these¹². - **Promoting innovation and flexibility**: The electricity network needs to adopt new technologies and solutions that can enhance its performance and resilience, such as smart meters, digital platforms, energy storage, demand response and microgrids. These can help the network cope with variability, uncertainty and complexity, and provide new services and value streams for network operators and users¹³. - **Enhancing coordination and cooperation**: The electricity network needs to work more closely with other actors and sectors in the power system, such as generators, consumers, regulators and policymakers. This can improve the planning, operation and regulation of the network, and facilitate the integration of renewables and electrification of end-use sectors. It can also foster a more participatory and inclusive approach to network governance²³. Source of Information: (1) The biggest energy challenges facing humanity - BBC Future.

(2) Electricity network codes and guidelines - Energy.

(3) Overcoming Barriers To 100% Clean Energy, Part One: The ... - Forbes.

Overcoming Barriers To 100% Clean Energy, Part One: The Electricity Distribution Network

Cheap renewables and ambitious decarbonization goals are creating a paradigm shift in how we build and operate the grid, but this clean energy transformation faces major barriers. Here's how smart policy can overcome those barriers in local grid networks.


There are many examples of innovative network solutions that can enhance the performance and resilience of the electricity network and support the clean energy transition. Some of these are: - **Smart meters**: These are devices that measure and communicate electricity consumption and generation data in real time, allowing network operators and users to monitor and manage their energy use more efficiently and accurately¹². - **Digital platforms**: These are software applications that enable the exchange of information, services and transactions among different actors and sectors in the power system, such as generators, consumers, aggregators, retailers and network operators. They can facilitate the integration of renewables, demand response, energy storage and electric vehicles, and create new business models and value streams¹³. - **Energy storage**: These are technologies that can store electricity for later use, such as batteries, pumped hydro, flywheels and compressed air. They can help the network balance supply and demand, provide ancillary services such as frequency and voltage regulation, and increase the flexibility and reliability of the power system¹². - **Demand response**: This is a mechanism that allows consumers to adjust their electricity consumption in response to price signals, network conditions or environmental factors. It can help the network reduce peak demand, avoid congestion, integrate renewables and lower electricity costs¹². - **Microgrids**: These are small-scale networks that can operate independently or in coordination with the main grid. They can incorporate local generation, storage and load management, and provide backup power, resilience and security for critical facilities or remote areas¹². Source of Information: (1) A new power distribution grid model | Enel Group.

How Enel is reshaping distribution grids to accelerate the energy transition


(2) Smart Grid Solutions for Electricity Companies - Schneider Electric Global.

Smart Grid Solutions for Electricity Companies

Explore Schneider Electric's award-winning, market-leading smart grid solutions and technologies for electricity companies.


(3) Digitalization and Energy – Analysis - IEA.

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