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Smart energy management ICT

The green shift poses challenges to the power grid. Decentralized small scale renewable energy production have a fluctuating and uncontrollable nature, and battery powered electric vehicles requiring regular recharging may cause problematic peak loads.

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The green shift poses challenges to the power grid in terms of

  • Decentralized small scale renewable energy productionThe necessary transition to more sustainable energy supply and use calls for the replacement of power plants based on fossil fuels by renewable energy sources like solar and wind. These renewable energy sources have different characteristics from the ones that they replace, causing serious challenges for the power grid. Firstly they have a fluctuating and uncontrollable nature, as their output depends on solar irradiation and wind strength, and it is necessary to introduce storage to cope with the possible time mismatch between production and consumption. Secondly they are better suited for decentralised small scale production, for example in the form of private rooftop solar panels, not under control of the regulated companies operating the public grid.
  • Transition to more sustainable energy use in the transport system. One important part of the solution here is battery powered electric vehicles requiring regular recharging. An ICT-enabled smart charging infrastructure is needed to avoid unacceptable waiting times for e-vehicles that need charging underway, and also avoid problematic peak loads on the power grid caused by vehicle charging. There is a need for interoperability of different systems in the infrastructure based on a common information model, and a full eco-system for service provision and optimisation of the resource planning, scheduling and utilisation.

It is envisaged that ICT will play a vital role in meeting these challenges

  • On the demand side by seeking to adapt the demand to the production by means of load shifting and the control of local storage capacities. Load shifting is one technique to adjust and control the load, e.g., delay or advance the execution of an energy-consuming task like vehicle charging, to avoid peak period, thus reducing peak demand.
  • On the production and distribution side by balancing the grid using central resources. This is widely referred to as the Smart Grid.

SINTEF focus on the energy management at the demand side with the integration of local renewable energy production and charging infrastructures. In particular, we investigate the possible benefits of coordinating the energy use in groups of smart buildings and vehicle charging.

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