“Smart Grids” and New Energy Opportunities Discussed on the Sidelines of the International Electric Networks Forum

“Smart Grids” and New Energy Opportunities Discussed on the Sidelines of the International Electric Networks Forum 04.12.2019

On December 4, a round table was organized on the sidelines of the International Electric Networks Forum, the participants of which discussed new opportunities that smart networks offer the industry. The discussion was attended by energy companies, domestic and foreign manufacturers of equipment and software designed to create “smart grids”.

During the discussion, the experts sought answers to a number of issues relevant for the further development of the industry, namely: what are the prospects for the growth of business process efficiency as a result of the application of digital solutions in the industry; what set of measures is required for the implementation of “smart grids”; what methods can be used to evaluate the profitability of innovations and the payback period of investment projects related to the creation of “smart grids”.

Leonid Neganov, Deputy General Director of Rosseti, emphasized that the topic of smart grids has technological and organizational components. “The experience of foreign colleagues is important for us precisely in terms of organizational matters. Smart grids suggest a slight change in approach. We are preparing for this technologically. Therefore, we very much appreciate our foreign colleagues participating in our discussion panel, because they took concrete steps in this direction. This experience is important for us, and we must take it into account as part of developing a strategy for the development of the electric grid complex,” the speaker said.

The roundtable participants noted that the onset of the industrial revolution 4.0 fundamentally changed the concept of interaction between consumers and producers of electricity. On the one hand, the former need more energy and want to receive it in a timely manner and in the right volumes; on the other hand, in search of options to save money, they are active in developing their own electricity generation. For example, in Germany since 2000, the number of electricity generators has increased from 30,000 to 1,600,000. The market is decentralized, the process of generation and distribution of electricity is shifting towards the creation of an “energy cloud”. According to foreign experts, traditional companies in the energy sector will eventually have to go through the path of transformation into multi-service providers. The industry and business also demand for the development of small energy and smart grid technologies, since the introduction of digital solutions will reduce current costs, improve management and monitoring processes, and increase energy efficiency, quality and reliability of energy supply.

Foreign experts shared with the participants of the round table their experience in implementing projects and startups in the field of “Smart grid” in energy systems of other countries. They also talked about the achievements and the barriers that had to be faced. Among the new challenges are the lack of micro-grid management systems and the need to develop separate regulatory documents for the new segment of the electricity generation and transmission market. On top of that, many startups in the field of creating “smart grids” are characterized by a long payback period, therefore, stimulating regulation is required in which the government will act as a driver for the introduction of new technologies.

In Russia, digital solutions in the electric power industry are also actively used today. In particular, pilot projects of “smart grids” were launched in Kaliningrad and Ufa. Kirill Yurkin, CEO of Rosseti Yantar, spoke about the pilot project of Digital REN in the Kaliningrad Region. As a result of the implementation of the three stages of this project, the tracing time of process violations was reduced from 1.5 hours to 1 minute, and the observability increased from 30 to 95%. Electricity losses decreased from 21 to 9%,”Kirill Yurkin underlined. He also noted that, taking into account the results, this experience will be scaled to other cities and regions nationwide. In Kaliningrad, a new similar project in cable networks has already been launched.

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