Energy Internet is the idea initiated by the China Government and like the information internet, the Energy Internet will be another energy revolution after Information technology revolution.

Energy Internet – A Dream or Reality

Faiz Bhutta | Techfa Consulting

Like information Internet the Energy Internet will connect all the Grids of the continents and dream of 100% access to clean and green energy will be made possible through energy internet.

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If we see Internet growth, it started with dial up at the speed of 64Kbps and then ISDN at 128 Kbps and then broad brand at more than 1mbps and now data, voice and video are being  communicated at Giga bytes per second through wire and wireless media and seamless integration of voice, data and video has happened over the past 20 years and it was all evolution of telecommunication and ICT ( internet and communication technology) is the now a complete technology system serving the human beings and providing integrated and converged information through wire and wireless media.

Who has floated the idea of Energy Internet?  The idea of global Energy Internet has been initiated by China President Xi Jinping at UN forum. On September 26, 2015, during UN Development Summit held at UN Headquarter New York, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech entitled “ Seeking common and sustainable development, cooperating for win-win partnership”. In the speech President Xi proposed China initiative to build up a Global Energy Internet exploring to meet global electricity demand in a clean and green way.

Global Energy Internet is a vision of the world Power Grid was outlined by State Grid Corporation of China ( State Grid). It foresees smart Ultra-high Voltage grid connecting power providers and consumers worldwide with clean energy across national boundaries. Liu Zhenya  President of State Grid explained that it will serve as the platform to allocate global energy and optimize the utilization for clean energy.

Energy Internet is the idea initiated by China Government and like information internet Energy Internet will be another energy revolution after Information technology revolution.

Now there are lot of issues and challenges to achieve this goal. The following issues have been identified which needs to be discussed, explored and solved.

  • Active distribution networks

  • Massive change of information

  • Integration of HVDC/ Power Electronics

  • Massive installation of storage

  • New system operation and controls

  • New concepts for protection

  • New concepts in planning

  • New tools for technical performance

  • Increase of underground infrastructure

  • Need for stake holder awareness

First issue and challenge is to achieve a kind of national Grid which should be so smart, intelligent  and standardized that it can be connected to other national grids and this is only possible if one universal standard for grid interconnectivity should be developed like various Internet communication protocols have been created providing ease of integration and interfacing. Now who will make this universal standard and it is very difficult task. International Electrotechnical commission ( IEC) is the international standards making body to make such standards and IEC has made many committees to review the existing standards and evolve one Universal  Energy Interconnection standard for compliance by each country making possible the integration and interfacing of national grids. It is extremely difficult task and may take years and years but nothing is impossible as Internet was a dream at one time and now it is reality and all humans on earth are interconnected through information networks and billion Bytes are daily communicated across the globe.

What should be nature of the National Grid. National grid should be now such that it should accept the integration of clean and green energy generated from renewable and alternate energy sources and Renewable energy sources are variable by time and space.

Second issue and challenge is the protection of Grids so that the energy cannot be stolen like many protections software and hardware have been developed in case of information internet to prevent theft of data. Human can survive if data is stolen but human cannot survive without electricity if stolen for days and months. Recovery mechanism and methodologies are also needed if somehow the energy is stolen or any theft happens.

Third issue and challenge is of political nature because interconnection of national grids is only possible when the two countries have better relationship with each other and initially regional networks may emerge based on friendly relations between countries. Might be initially interconnections can happen between friendly countries. .

Fourth issue and challenge is that economics as the huge funds are required to revamp the existing conventional grids and upgrade to smart grids having capability of intelligence, integration, scalability and protections.

Fifth issue and challenge is the media and losses for inter-connectivity of the national grids. HVDC ( High Voltage DC or Ultra-High Voltage DC may be the suitable media for connectivity of the national grids and now a days HVDC ( High Voltage DC) and UHVDC ( Ultra High Voltage DC) are both realities now and China is the world leader in HVDC and UHVDC transmissions and it is now a reality that substantial decrease of losses have been proved by HVDC transmissions which was also a dream at one time. Global Energy Internet may be an idea at the moment but each reality starts from idea and it becomes then reality.

We conclude that Promoting new energy development and utilization is the important goal of energy revolution in the modern world while building new energy internet is a key to achieving the goal.

 

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