Digitisation key to grid stability - WEMO report

By Dominic Ellis
AI and automation will provide greater demand forecasting accuracy...

Leveraging digitisation, AI and automation to enable greater accuracy of demand forecasting and demand-side management is essential to ensure grid stability, according to the World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report published today.

The 22nd WEMO annual edition from Capgemini, created in partnership with De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, Vaasa ETT and Enerdata, also notes increased digitization of grids - while changing tariffs calculation to remunerate digtal investments - can ensure safe grid management, with a higher share of intermittent renewable sources.

During the first lockdown, electricity consumption fell by 15-25 percent and the share of renewables in certain electricity grids, in Europe in particular, exceeded 50 percent, posing grid stability problems.

"The grid system needs to become more flexible and its regulation has to change in order to accommodate energy transition to low-carbon electricity," the report states.

Philippe Vié, Global Head of the Energy and Utilities sector at Capgemini, said: "Numerous digital tools and assets are mature and available to improve predictability, reliability, grid stability and finally security of supply, accelerating energy transition."

Data transparency is cited as a key flexibility enabler. "DSOs should continue developing data exchange systems and share relevant data with all stakeholders while ensuring their protection and preventing security breaches," it states.  

With the growing renewables market and technological progress, costs declined by more than 10 percent (wind and solar) in 2019, with consistently lower costs being recorded month after month, the report adds.

The combination of improved wind turbine technologies, deployment of higher hub heights, and longer blades with larger swept areas together, along with digitsation and better generation forecasting software, leads to increased capacity factors for a given wind resource, the report notes. Other key findings:

  • For onshore wind plants, the global weighted average capacity factor should increase from 34 percent in 2018 to more than 40 percent in 2030.
  • Batteries for electric vehicles and stationary storage costs decreased again by 19 percent in 2019 (for Li Ion batteries), and 115 mega-factories’ projects have been recorded, of which 88 are in China. 
  • Productivity gains are expected from new working methods arising from the crisis, combined with accelerated digitisation and reduction of office space and travel expenses.

But Colette Lewiner, Energy and Utilities senior advisor at Capgemini, warned that the 7-8 percent predicted drop in emissions for 2020 are likely to be temporary. 

"It would take a similar restriction, every year for the next 10 years, to get on the right environmental trajectory, which is of course unviable. Profound changes are needed to reach climate change objectives.”

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