Energy Network's Use of DMS Grows
Serving as the user interface to critical distribution infrastructure, distribution management systems (DMSs) increasingly form the brains of the energy distribution network, supporting all aspects of utility power grid operations.
Information technology (IT) upgrades, following in the wake of smart grid equipment rollouts, are driving steady growth for these third-generation DMSs. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, the number of electric meters served by DMS-equipped substations will reach 775 million in 2020.
“The underlying operational benefits of increased reliability and cost-effective optimization are contributing to advances in the DMS market,” says Kristoffer Torvik, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Operators can focus on keeping the lights on, storms that cause overwhelming outages are more manageable, and line workers and outage crew are kept safe.”
While some of the leading DMS providers are well-established leaders in the power and automation industry, others are IT pure plays that have challenged and influenced the thought process of the utility industry. In just the past two years, according to the report, the influence these more specialized firms have had on the smart grid sector has led to several $1 billion-plus acquisitions of IT/operational technology companies.
The report, “Distribution Management Systems”, analyzes the global market trends for full advanced DMS, intermediate DMS, and light DMS solutions. The report provides a roadmap for DMS technology, along with a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, policy factors, and technology issues associated with this diverse and dynamic market.
Key industry players are profiled in depth, and worldwide revenue forecasts, segmented by deployment type and region, extend through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly