Smart grid – the intelligent power grid of the future
Reliable power supply is important for the sustainable development of megacities. The energy transported there must be sensibly distributed and efficiently used. Smart grid technologies will be a major part of that development.
The year 2001 has been burned into Brazil’s memory: Following an extended drought, the hydroelectric power plants were not producing nearly enough power from their renewable energy sources. Throughout the country, power consumption had to be slashed by 20 percent within a very short period of time. Smart grid solutions are needed in order to avoid situations like this in the future. Smart grids are intelligent power transmission and distribution networks based on interactive communication among all parts of the energy conversion chain. Smart grids connect large central and small decentralized generation units with consumers to form one overall structure. They control power generation and prevent network overloading, since at any given time only as much power is generated as is needed.
One of the key components of the smart grids is the smart meter. Smart metering helps coordinate power generation and consumption more efficiently, especially if the proportion of renewable energy sources continues to grow in the future. In June 2012 Siemens acquired a company for smart metering solutions in Brazil.
Siemens is collaborating with the Brazilian energy and electricity research center Centro de Pesquisas de Energia Elétrica (CEPEL) to develop smart grid solutions that will help the country meet its growing energy needs efficiently and reliably over the years to come. National grid operator, Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico, is relying on our technological expertise to implement the project.
Early detection of dangerous mains fluctuations
Along the path to the smart grid, efficient energy network management is an important step toward a reliable power supply. Siemens and CEPEL will be supplying a new energy management to the Brazilian grid operator ONS. The Siemens/CEPEL consortium will implement a standardized monitoring and control platform at four different locations. With this solution it will be possible to provide flexible, real-time monitoring and control of Brazil’s national power transmission network. The systems will be installed at the National System Operation Center CNOS in Brasília and at three regional operation centers in Florianópolis, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro.
Stabilizing power grids
Mechanically switched capacitors (MSC) are another time- and cost-effective way to stabilize power grids. As soon asthe MSCis switched on or off, it can absorb or release energy in the blink of an eye. Mechanically switched capacitors can therefore rapidly balance out fluctuations before they can jeopardize the stability of the power grid. The first MSCs from Siemens entered service in southern Brazil near Curitiba in 2011.
MSCs are also examplary of so-called SMART (simple, maintenance-friendly, affordable, reliable, and timely to market) products, including the very affordable and locally produced capacitors now being tested in Brazil.These are perfectly matched to the needs of market segments at a basic level. The MSCs are a Brazilian innovation that is successfully entering the global marketplace.
Pioneering energy transport project
Transformer substations, which transform the high voltage of the transport networks to the lower voltage of the distribution network, are crucial components of the route from power generation plants to consumers in densely populated urban areas and megacities. The Anhanguera transformer substation is a pioneering energy transport project for the entire country and an important component of the power supply to megacity São Paulo – and Siemens has been providing it with innovative solutions from the very beginning. The substation is not only a reliable source of power for São Paulo; it also supplies energy to neighboring cities and feeds electricity into the national power grid.