Digital Grid Required to Meet
Challenges of Transformed
Electrical system planning is complex. System designers and planners must understand not only the science and engineering behind electricity flow, they also need a certain amount of intuition
that comes through years of experience. In some cases, however,
training and years of experience are no longer enough. Today’s
changing electricity delivery landscape, where more decentralized, renewable energy is being added to the grid, creates new and
uncharted challenges for grid designers, planners and operators.
They are increasingly being called upon to understand and manage bi-directional flow and balancing.
This is the message that Michael Schneider, Siemens’ general
manager of Power Technologies International, relayed to an audience at Bentley Systems’ Year in Infrastructure 2017 Conference
(YII2017). In the Utilities and Water Forum keynote session, titled
“Digitalization Transforms Utilities,” he said the rise in renewable
energy, especially solar photovoltaic (PV), is putting stress on electricity grids.
“The needed grid transformation can occur only through a digital grid,” said Schneider.
Renewable Energy Growth in Germany and Worldwide
An expert in power system design and current electricity
trends, Schneider also is a resident of Germany, the country that
most experts agree is leading the way when it comes to adding
unprecedented amounts of renewable energy to the grid.
The rise of renewables occurred quickly in Germany, Schneider explained; Germany has about 105 GW of installed renewable
energy—40 percent solar, 40 percent wind and 20 percent other
sources, he said.
“Germany’s solar energy is connected to the grid with inverters,
which have already made the grid more digital,” said Schneider.
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