How to integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the Virtual Power Plants using IIoT Connectivity
The decentralisation of energy systems must develop in combination with their digitalisation. The grid is becoming more complicated as more distributed energy resources (DERs) are deployed, with system operators demanding better awareness of changing circumstances in electricity networks.
DERs are a broad concept that refers to a wide range of small-scale electricity generating and storage devices as shown in below Figure 1 that are often linked to a centralised or isolated power grid.
Figure 1: Block diagram of decentralized power generating units - VPP Networks
The fast-growing penetration of DERs, such as distributed renewables, solar panels, wind turbines, energy storage, biogas, electric vehicle and controllable loads and others, poses significant challenges to the centralised power systems with unidirectional power flow. Successful integration of heterogeneous DERs calls for a paradigm shift to a decentralised power system with bidirectional power flow. The VPP in a modern smart grid aggregates the capacity of heterogeneous DERs to form a cloud-based distributed power plant to provide grid services (e.g., supplying energy, demand response, and ancillary service) as well as energy trading. As a result, the VPP would be used in place of a conventional power plant to achieve higher efficiency and flexibility. The IIoT can facilitate this process by improving end-device monitoring and data integration. With a Blockchain-based VPP energy management platform to facilitate a diverse range of transactive energy activities amongst residential users in a VPP with renewables, energy storage, and flexible loads. Through the VPP, users may interact with each other to trade energy for mutual benefit and provide network services such as feed-in energy, reserve, and demand response.
Integration of DERs into VPP towards Smart Grid using IIoT Gateway
The integration of DERs in the grid can bring a variety of detrimental conditions, such as voltage swings and reverse power flow, which can cause grid instability. Most grids should be adapted in order to integrate power from DERs, enhance hosting capacity, and optimise power from DERs. Controlling and monitoring devices near the grid edge, especially those linked with DERs are significant challenges. VPPs should need capability to gather and process data from the edge in order for operators to know what to expect. Edge devices, such as inverters, should be monitored for better system integration and to prevent grid instability, as shown in Figure 2. VPPs require seamless communication solutions to maintain grid stability: to acquire data from power devices such as inverters and to monitor (DERMS) and control the devices using device management system. Furthermore, VPP will be managed on top of a distributed ledger technology that provides decentralised functionality for tracking and validating energy delivery based on blockchain transactions, as well as for energy and financial settlement, with remuneration based on the amount of energy provided by individual prosumers. As a result, VPP necessitates secure communication throughout data acquisition and processing whilste interacting with customers.
Figure 2: Integration of DERMS into the Grid using IIoT Gateway
A solution consisting of IIoT gateways, with their computing power and integrated communication interfaces, can help provide the platform for secure seamless data acquisition and processing. The data acquired from inverters, meters, transformers, and other edge devices can be sent to a DER management system to maintain the grid in a stable state and meet the energy requirements. IIoT Gateways can also be used for estimating the power from Solar farm operators as there is instant access to huge volumes of data. The use of efficient data logging and processing, secure data connectivity from inverters and weather monitoring devices, coupled with artificial intelligence technology makes it possible to accurately forecast the amount of power that is required from renewable energy resources and in doing so, meet the energy requirements of consumers.
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