Tomorrow’s smart grids will drive the transition to a carbon-free energy system by enabling the integration of more renewable energy, and be stable and flexible enough to provide a secure supply of energy while keeping costs reasonable for users.
Several challenges stand in the way of widespread smart grid deployment. These include increasing grid complexity, more intermittent energy production, and a combination of centralized and distributed production and consumption. Among the solutions that will be needed are real-time and continuous demand-response tools built on new data exchange and communication protocols.
Smart grid research at CEA leverages a wide variety of modelling and simulation capabilities applied to the different energy system components, from production (solar, wind, etc.) to storage (batteries, hydrogen, thermal) to conversion (fuel cells, power to gas, heat to power, etc.). CEA is also developing reliable forecasting software to help balance production with demand, grid management software, and big data tools.
Finally, efforts to improve the interoperability of distributed grids are a step in the right direction. Further advances will require new advanced solutions for intelligent integrated energy systems.
CEA is one of the few institutes with the resources needed to conduct this kind of multidisciplinary R&D, whether it is for CEA partners or for its own programs.