We are constantly being reminded about the evolution of ‘Smart Cities’ and how they will improve our everyday lives. Yet whilst the concept is constantly referenced, there remains a lack of clarity about what it represents.
According to the Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills a Smart City is, “A process by which cities become more ‘liveable’ and are able to respond quicker to new challenges. It brings together hard infrastructure, social capital and digital technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.”
It becomes evident from the definition that a Smart City infrastructure is about more than just digital connectivity or the ‘Internet of Things’, (IoT) a Smart City is about improving the way we live, enhancing services for the benefit of everyone, services that include the supply of electricity.
Microgrids in the Smart City infrastructure
As part of the Smart City evolution, microgrids, a smaller version of a national electricity grid – the main difference between a microgrid and the national grid is that a microgrid is powered by energy sources, including renewable, that match power with local demand rather than national demand – will not only allow energy suppliers to deliver tailored services to local communities, homes and business, they will allow new innovative technologies to become a fundamental part of a network infrastructure.
With this in mind, energy storage systems, like Powerstar Virtue, will enable microgrids to deliver energy effectively and efficiently at a ‘micro’ level. They will not simply enable users to tap into stored energy at times of high tariffs, to avoid Triad charges, they will provide users with significant income due to FFR (Fast Frequency Response, soon to be Enhance Frequency Response, EFR), which will consequently contribute to supporting the microgrid systems.
Energy storage – Powerstar Virtue
Powerstar Virtue, voted European Utility Product of the year (2015), uses the unique patented Powerstar voltage optimisation technology to harness the induced negative power feedback to the supply to subsequently charge a storage medium.
Savings achieved from the Powerstar voltage optimisation system can then be diverted into the energy storage system to be used at a time most beneficial to the electricity user or to support local microgrids. As a result, users can save money by switching to the stored supply at any time, resulting in a constant and reliable energy supply.
As the availability of power can be easily predicted, energy storage systems can also act as a Virtual Power Station (VPS), a capability that will ensure owners are able to tap into stored energy during times of high peak tariffs.
Commercial applications of Powerstar Virtue are currently being rolled out with significant benefits to users. Systems are providing paybacks below those of renewable projects, even with Feed In Tariffs (FIT) subsidies. What’s more with FIT subsidies ending, there is perhaps currently no better opportunity for renewable projects to become part of an integrated microgrid solution – one in which energy is harnessed and provided to the final user through energy storage systems.
Powerstar Virtue can also provide full facility uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for up to two hours, therefore the need for separate UPS systems is negated and due to the modular nature of the system, storage systems can be fitted post installation to match any future needs of the site.
Additional benefits include eliminating the use of inverters on renewable installations, which help reduce costs and improve returns of investment.
Sites also benefit from reduced harmonics, voltage phase balancing and improved power factor along with reduced maintenance costs of electrical equipment and a 100 per cent savings guarantee, which is offered with all Powerstar solutions.
Energy supply landscape
Increasingly energy grids around the world are struggling to cope with a surge in demand for electricity. The volatile nature of renewable sources, such as solar and wind, generate little power, particularly if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Energy storage systems like Powerstar Virtue makes these renewable sources reliable, useable and manageable in an effective and efficient way.
Energy storage systems have emerged as one of the most cost efficient solutions to address the growing concern that power supplies around the world are struggling to cope with the surge in demand for electricity. In the UK alone peak demand on the national energy grid is expected to increase six-fold by 2050.
With this crisis set to continue it’s practical to examine solutions that could assist in controlling demand. The Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab has estimated that energy storage technologies could enable this while also generating savings of £10bn a year by 2050 in the UK alone.
For more information about Powerstar Virtue visit www.powerstar.com