Smarter Grids


November 25, 2012

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At around midday on Friday, on a remote archipelago located halfway between Norway and Iceland, the self-governing Danish islands shut off one engine at a key diesel power plant.

The test simulated a 10% loss of power for the 50,000 islanders and was the sort of event that previously would have created a subsequent blackout.

However, while power interruptions and intermittent frequency have been relatively common occurrences, this time there was no such blip.

Instead – and thanks to a rather smart, smart grid service – the grid was better balanced, shifting the islands energy supply and demand in a matter of seconds.

The results of course, prove significant, despite the small scale.

After all, the Faroe Islands are reliant on their own ability to produce and manage energy supply and demand and they do not benefit from any interconnects or international back up.

They’re also almost entirely dependent on expensive diesel generators that have to provide a constant supply of energy, throughout day and night.

However, that’s all set to change. And what’s more, the implementation of such smart grid technology provides an important milestone for the islands energy framework of the future.

Something that, for the remote community, is critical if it is to decrease its dependence on fluctuating oil prices and gain greater energy security.

And that of course is where wind generation comes in. Over the next two years, the islands have set a target of increasing existing wind power capacity five fold.

A noble ambition. And one that will ultimately prove of benefit to the islanders, to the developers and to the manufacturers, associated with the project.

Perhaps it’s also why Dong Energy has taken such a healthy interest – since while the ability to sell future wind farms will not be far from its mind, ultimately there’s a bigger prize at stake.

Namely, to capitalise on the lessons learnt implementing and rolling out smart grid innovation on a micro scale, before exploring ways in which this isolated case study can be quickly commercialised and scaled, to help solve the wider headache of the European super grid.

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