Creating Green Micro Energy Communities from the Existing Grid:
Existing communities by their nature represent the largest proportion of the electricity market and therefore need to be catered for to effect change in electricity demand and supply cycle.
Our goal is to use as much of the existing electrical infrastructure as possible to develop stable local energy communities, existing substations would form the basis of localized micro grids. In order to stabilize a town or suburb with a high penetration of solar P.V. and distributed storage the grid frequency of the micro grid local substation could be refitted with power conversion technology such as inverters, “synthetic inertia” rather than “synchronous generation” would then provide “infinite inertia”. The power conversion technology from the converted substation could maintain a set frequency (say 50Hz) regardless of load. The entire system could then be overloaded to the point of voltage collapse but would still maintain the desired frequency, thereby eliminating the need for ‘frequency control auxiliary services’.
These new micro grid communities will have greater energy security than the grid itself and could even have the capacity to island themselves from the wider grid, thereby justifying the expense of a substation inverter conversion.
Substation level inverters could accept any line voltage or frequency from the wider grid as an input, process this and output a stable voltage and wave-form. In the reverse direction it could condition the output to help stabilise the grid. A combination of capacitor storage, battery storage and flow battery storage could help this substation hub do its functions.
The substation and the existing grid network which connects the community could be purchased or leased from the network operator and could be community controlled or Global Grid owned and operate as a generator taking advantage of cheap whole sale price imports and trading excess energy at peak energy price times.
Communities, towns and local councils are embracing the idea of buying back their grid and supplying, storing, distributing and exporting locally produced electricity, which will reduce price increase reliability and meet their green objectives.
This may seem to be a long-term goal, but it has happened in Germany and the US and recently a new study has identified at least 40 Australian towns that could, and probably should, quit the main electricity grid, because they would be saving money for themselves and for other electricity consumers.
Residential and industrial developers are looking to develop new estates off the grid, and dozens of councils around Australia are looking to do the same with existing communities. They are exploring ways of sourcing their electricity from renewable’s and are considering ways to buy back the grid from the local operators.
The evolution from the centralized energy model that has dominated for the past century or more is being embraced not just by developers and technologists. The network operators themselves — particularly those in regional areas — recognize it an unavoidable reality. They are just trying to figure out how they fit into this new reality.
Different options are being considered on the local energy model, and who acts as the electricity supplier.
It could be the property developer, or a specialist energy services company, or the local network — after all, houses will still need to be linked to each other and community-based facilities such as renewable generators and storage, even if they are not connected to the main grid.
Each locality will focus on its own advantages, be it in wind, solar, biomass, co-generation, or hydro, or a combination of some or all. As community based micro grids become standard for new developments and townships, particularly in regional areas, more and more existing communities will look at establishing their own smart micro grids.
As the number of councils, towns and clusters of residents and industrial communities investing into micro grids grow, a method to distribute the electricity equitably will also provide opportunities for Global Grids LORA trading platform and smart contracts
The agreement for smart micro grids is also gaining traction with main grid operators, SA Power Networks, says that it makes sense for some communities to look after their own needs. Ergon Energy in Queensland has indicated the same. In Western Australia, the local grid operator is looking to create a micro grids in small mining towns because the grid connection is too expensive, and often damaged by storms and fire.