Electric power grid operators are facing new challenges, including rising energy consumption and emissions, the need to integrate renewable energy sources, and the emergence of electric vehicles. There is an urgent need to make grids safer, more efficient, environmentally ‘greener’, and more flexible. In a word: smarter.
Schneider Electric has teamed with 4 partners (GEG, GDF Suez, ERDF and GINP) and 6 others on the GreenLys project, the first full-scale smart grid demonstration project in France. Partially financed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the consortium has developed an experimental technology platform being tested in the cities of Lyon and Grenoble, ultimately involving 1,000 residential customers and 40 commercial building sites. The goal is to standardize and showcase a functional smart grid by 2015, setting the stage for widespread deployment.
Smart grid transformation across the value chain
The GreenLys project is testing innovative solutions from energy generation to end use. At the grid level this includes new analysis tools, next generation substation automation equipment, and communication with smart meters at consumer locations. The grid will be self-healing, quickly reconfiguring itself to maintain the supply of electricity. It will also incorporate decentralised energy generation based on renewables or natural gas, as well as the potential to use stored energy in electric vehicles.
At the end-consumer level, Schneider Electric is applying a variety of new technologies to engage businesses and homeowners. The cloud-based StruxureWare™ Demand-Side Operation platform will enable participation in programs like demand response that offer financial incentives for adjusting energy consumption when required. Such programs will help energy users optimize their energy bill and encourage energy-efficient practices. Offering their energy flexibility to the smart grid will also help alleviate peak demand and compensate for the intermittency of large-scale renewable energy production.
For commercial businesses, cloud-based services and a smart gateway monitors and controls building loads, onsite renewable energy production, an energy storage system, and the heating and cooling system. The system evaluates and arbitrates between load curtailment requests and variable energy pricing. It then automatically implements actions such as temporarily turning off non-critical equipment, adjusting thermostats, or consuming more renewable or stored energy. Actions are managed intelligently to maintain comfort and productivity. In the case of emergency, the end user has the ability to override any automated action.
The GreenLys project will also study ways to control and minimize the grid impacts of electric vehicle charging. Electric vehicles represent a new and growing load on the grid infrastructure, but can also represent a flexible source of stored energy that can be re-injected into the grid when needed.
The GreenLys project will make it easy for businesses and homeowners to use their energy flexibility to cut costs and help the grid improve stability. In this way, the region can look forward to a reliable, efficient and green energy future.
Contact person: Pim Loef
Organisation: Schneider Electric