Virtualizing distributed energy resources
The energy market is changing - radically. It is moving from conventional, centralized and well-controlled bulk generation to distributed and weather-dependent production from multiple small-scale sources; from stable, well-defined load profiles to volatile and reverse power flows; from operations based on historical experience to production based on real-time data.
A glance at the energy system of Denmark says it all. The 15 conventional power plants of a generation ago are now working side-by-side with hundreds of wind turbines, solar photovoltaic units and municipal and industrial combined heat and power (CHP) plants.
The pace of change globally is not slowing. Energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure will become widespread, sooner rather than later. As a result, the need for scalable solutions that allow fast and simple implementation of new business models for pooling, optimizing and trading the production of hundreds or thousands of generating units and energy storage devices is becoming critical.
ABB Ability™ Energy Optimization for Virtual Power Plants combines distributed energy units into a virtual power pool. It provides central control and optimization, links energy sources with markets, performs day-ahead and intra-day forecasting, and issues and updates commitment schedules to pool participants. The technology is highly customizable and scalable, enabling VPP operators to rapidly expand from a few units to thousands, seamlessly and without interruption to operations. (See pages 38-39 for more on virtual power plants.)
Cutting pump energy costs by 10-20%
All over the world, night and day, tens of thousands of pumps are at work, pumping raw water into treatment plants and drinking water into the distribution network.
Pumps use a lot of energy. Often, their power consumption is minimized by variable speed drives, but usually the pumps run at the same speed round the clock.
ABB Ability™ Energy Optimization for Pumping Stations determines the optimum number of pumps needed to meet production targets at the lowest possible power consumption. Customers consistently report significant pump energy savings of 10-20 percent.
By automatically optimizing the number of pumps needed and running each one within its upper and lower flow limits and at optimal pressure, Energy Optimization PumpFit avoids unnecessary wear and tear and reduces maintenance costs. It also releases operators from monitoring decisions and manual operation. And it automatically aligns pump operating hours, ensuring each pump works the same number of hours over time.
Pump operating data is stored and analyzed in the ABB Ability™ platform and converted into actionable information on pump performance.
Reducing energy costs at industrial sites by 5-10%
Energy-intensive industries like cement, steel and pulp and paper are cutting their energy costs by 5-10 percent, thanks to Energy Optimization PowerFit solutions. For a site with an annual energy bill of tens of millions of dollars these are huge savings.
Many large industrial plants have their own power generation units - often a combination of conventional and renewable sources - as well as heat production and energy storage devices.
Through a combination of production planning, energy management and energy trading they can minimize energy costs and maximize energy revenues without impacting production targets or delivery schedules.
For instance, ABB has tailored a PowerFit solution that can reduce the $24 million annual energy bill of a large manufacturing site in Europe by 10 percent. The solution optimizes the site’s energy production - wind turbines, CHP plants, steam turbines and energy storage devices - four times a day to match factory production data and changes in weather. It also optimizes CHP and steam production at 15-minute intervals and lowers the power consumption of air conditioning by adjusting the site’s indoor temperature in response to energy availability or pricing.
Flexibility for the future - eBus infrastructure
Cities all over the world are electrifying public transportation to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. By 2020, China plans to have 200,000 electric buses in its cities, and India, Japan, the Netherlands and Sweden all have pilot eBus fleets.
As the number of electric buses expands and bus charging networks grow, the need to aggregate bus batteries into a single virtual battery that can trade electricity increases.
Buses typically spend the night parked in depots, when the energy isn’t needed and could be sold to the grid. Energy Optimization PowerFit solutions are already under development to pool, manage and optimize distributed eVehicle battery resources and trade unused power on the energy market. l