Future Power Grids

Global power balance is tipping irreversibly towards renewables driven by governmental subsidies and decreasing technology costs. As the renewables are expected to constitute as much as 50% of the global power generation by 2040 the main growth is foreseen in variable renewable energy sources (V-RES) such as wind and solar, which together represent nearly 40% of total new generation capacity in 2015.

Plagued by a wide variety of faults and undesirable attributes including interruptions, voltage fluctuations and frequency deviations, today’s networks face significant challenges. Such issues can damage sensitive equipment, leading to malfunction and even the shutdown of essential services.

The power system of the future will be more flexible and interconnected, leading to the evolution of a stronger and smarter grid, balancing our growing need for power with environmental concerns. 

Using renewables such as wind and solar power allows electricity transmission network operators and utilities to comply with international emissions regulations and grid codes.

However, since energy sources for solar and wind power are intermittent and variable, synchronous condensers can provide adaptive power generation to ensure the resilience and reliability of the power supply to the grid.

We at ABB Corporate Research work on innovate grid infrastructure and grid automation to allow for a smooth energy transition. Efficient transmission and distribution of power as well as sensing & monitoring and reliable protection are key factors for success. Service-oriented grids, digitalization and optimal use of equipment will add value for our customers.

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