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Power Grid


The Evolution of the Power Grid: Pathways to Achieve 100% REN Electricity

"Power grid has to evolve towards a smarter, flexible grid”


The inflexibility of energy systems combined with the rise of renewables in the generation mix and changing climatic conditions have led to growing energy-related challenges.  At the same time, countries worldwide have set ambitious net zero targets.  To meet these targets, we need to add significant amounts of renewable energy to our power systems [Wartsila, 2023].


New challenges in a modern grid include [NREL, 2018]:


  • Increasing levels of power electronics-based VRE: solar & wind.

  • More use of communications, controls, data, and information (e.g., smart grids).

  • Other new technologies: electric vehicles (EVs), distributed storage, flexible loads.

  • Becoming highly distributed: more complex to control.


As the grid reaches higher penetrations of renewable energy, requiring greater flexibility in its system, utilities will need to explore a broad suite of options (Figure 1).  As energy demand increases, as does the share of renewable energy sources, the grid will evolve from traditional solutions to non-wired alternatives (NWA), as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1: Suite of options for higher penetration of renewables


Figure 2: Grid evolution

NWA grid.png
Fig 1 grid
Fig 2 - NWA
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