Keep a close watch on the Hawaiian power utilities (HECO) because Hawaii has committed to 100% renewables by 2045 and 65% by 2030. That was the recommendation of Sharon Allan, CEO of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) at a DistribuTECH2016 MegaSession on distributed energy resources (DER) in response to a question from the audience asking what should utilities do to get ready for GRID 3.0.
Hawaii already has 487 MW of solar PV capacity, 90% of which is residential rooftop panels. At DistribuTECH2016, Talin Sakugawa from HECO and Matthew Shawver from in2lytics gave an insightful presentation on distributed energy generation (DER), big data and analytics at the Hawaiian power utility. Hawaii has seen an exponential rise in rooftop solar PV. As a result since 2010 the utility has been experiencing a reduction in net load and revenue. The most dramatic drop in load is during daytime hours as is readily apparent by comparing the utility's load on clear and cloudy days which reflects the impact of residential solar PV.
Challenges facing utilities
The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has published an analysis of the economics of leaving the grid. The central thesis is that solar PV and electricity storage enables consumers to leave the grid completely. Solar PV has already reached grid parity in about 10% of the U.S. and declining PV prices suggest that this trend will continue. However, without the ability to store electric power, consumers with rooftop PV still require the grid for nights and cloudy days. The development of combined solar PV and batteries from Tesla and others promises to make solar + storage accessible for increasing numbers of consumers. These consumers could form their own microgrid, either by themselves or with their neighbours and disconnect from the grid. Alternatively they could become a source of dispatchable power and become an energy provider. Increasingly they could find that either of these options is economically advantageous. This has serious implications for local utilities because if this trend develops it will seriously erode the traditional utility revenue base. It could also lead to a completely decentralized grid comprised of many microgrids. From an operations perspective it increases the complexity of managing the grid compared to the centralized model in use today.
The other challenge for a utility with a high penetration of intermittent, distributed generation (DER) is load balancing, ensuring that generation meets demand. The German power industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, Hawaiian power utilities, California power utilities, ERCOT, and many others are working to address this challenge. HECO's presentation at DistribuTECH gave an insightful overview of what they are doing to meet this technical challenge.
HECO collects a large amount of data from diverse sources. It is comprised of internal operational data plus data from esternal sources. It includes weather forecasts, data from customer sited PV, consumer/public resource data, phasor (PMU) data, renewables power quality, feeder data, irradiance meters, generator and substations power quality, SCADA, and vendor data such as forecasts and data from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The data has widely different time resolutions ranging from real time such as PMUs sampling 30 times per second, SCADA reporting every 2 seconds, calculated gross load every 2 seconds, PV inverter data reporting every 5 minutes and aggregated monthly, weather forecast reporting every 15 minutes and aggregated daily, transformers collecting data every 15 mins and aggregated monthly, and smart meters reporting every 15 minutes and aggregated quarterly. Much of the data includes location. The data comes in different formats and has different levels of quality.
Fundamental to distributed energy are weather maps. Maps of irradiance and wind velocity can be directly used to estimate or predict solar and wind generation in different parts of the islands. Temperature maps are also important because the efficiency of solar panels depends on temperature. The more accurate the weather forecasts are, the more predictable the generation. Knowing that there it will be cloudy over the south of Oahu, but sunny over the rest of the island, or cloudy over the whole island, but with moderate to strong winds allows operations to estimate how much backup generation is required and where.
Data from new sources relating to distributed renewable generation are integrated with traditional sources in a distributed energy management system which enables operations and planning visibility into how distributed generation is impacting thte grid. It not only provides a view into the status of the grid (situational awareness) but also allows simulations to assess the impact of different future renewable generation scenarios on the grid. This helps to determine where backup generation may be required because high demand and low generation from renewables or curtailment when there is excess generation and insufficient load. Location is fundamental to the analytics, because wind and irradiance varies widely over the islands.
Traditional input sources include SCADA and data from transmission, generators, protection, and so on. The new input data sources include GIS-based infrastructure models and data from the distributed generation sources. Also new is weather forecasting which enables predicting generation from renewable sources. It also includes historical and actual weather reports, and satellite and other weather data.
HECO uses an IT platform from In2lytics (a spinoff from Referentia) which integrates all of these time series data with EMS, SCADA, CIS, and GIS and makes it available to operational users, planners, modelers and the public. in2lytics is a high performance time series database that is specially designed to provide instant data accessibility for planning and operational decision making. in2lytics enables load, query, analysis using MATLAB, and sharing of the "big data" required to monitor and manage today’s complex electric grid. in2lytics has native high performance interfaces for MATLAB in addition to programming languages. It translates data from different sources into its internal time series database. All data is archived in a spatially enabled time series database for future analysis. Matthew said that in2lytics is able to analyze large volumes of historical time series data very rapidly. For example, a longitudinal analysis on two years worth of archived data can be run in an hour or two.
Accounting for renewables requires a lot of data. Some areas that use this data include generation planning, load forecasting, distribution planning, and contract administration. One of the first applications is a customer facing web site called Renewable Watch - Oahu that reports the total renewables generation, solar and wind, on Oahu in real-time.
An example of an application that will be used for contract administration beginning next month estimates how much power is lost from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the case of curtailment. It uses weather information to estimate wind speed and irradiance meters to estimate wind and solar generation potential.
Another analytical application was used to study how solar PV variability affects transformer tap changes. This application allows HECO to relate frequency of tap changes to solar PV variability and to determine which transformers are most affected by solar variability.
HECO has a number of projects with the Department of Energy and other partners.
Department of Energy's Integrating System to Edge-of-Network Architecture and Management" (SEAMS) A federally-funded research initiative on high penetration grids which aims to streamline grid planning and operations for utilities in regions with high concentrations of distributed generation (DG) resources.
Department of Energy's Distributed Resource Energy Analysis and Management System (DREAMS) Department of Energy system to provide useful information about the distributed grid to grid operators.
Partners: Siemens, Alstom, DNV, AWS Truepower, Referentia, Sunshot
Advisory Team:SMUD, Southern California Edison, California ISO, TEP, APS, Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative, Western APA
Making sense of synchrophasor data for utilities. The Synchrophasor Visual Integration and Event Evaluation for Utilities (SynchroVIEEU) with High Penetrations of Renewables. Accelerate the integration of synchrophasor information into production grade data visualization and analysis platforms/models. Leverage PMU capability at many substations – explore ways to tap resources and provide real-time visibility and real-time data. Make synchrophasor data accessible for efficient and reliable operations of a modern grid in light of high penetrations of renewable resources
Partners: SEL, DNV GL, Referentia
Monitoring, planning, and modeling high PV penetration microgrid. Decision support for microgrid design and operation at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has launched an ambitious program to demonstrate and evaluate energy technologies using Navy and Marine Corps facilities as test beds, known as the Energy Systems Technology and Evaluation Program (ESTEP). Program management is being handled by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific). ESTEP was established in 2013. It brings together the Department of the Navy, academia, and private industry to investigate and test emerging energy technologies at Navy and Marine Corps installations. At present, ESTEP conducts over 20 in-house government energy projects, ranging from energy management to alternative energy and storage technologies.
- Remote light sensor technology at the Kahuku wind farm on Oahu to measure and forecast windspeed and direction to support reliability;
- Sonic detection and ranging technology to remotely measure wind speed and direction;
- Network of solar irradiance sensors to measure light and to make forecasts;
- EV Race to the Sun, a joint Japan-U.S. showcase event for electric vehicles,to take place on Haleakala;
- Battery storage technology development, including the JUMPSmartMaui project.
The ultimate objective for HECO is to become a company offering diversified services providing value to engaged customers, of course with satisfied regulators and sustainable costs and margins.
Big data and spatial-temporal analytics
It was clear from this presentation that essential for HECO, or to any utility, with a high penetration of solar or wind are weather maps, forecasted, actual and historical because these enable the utility to project generation. The also allow utilities to analyze the historical record in conjunction with other data to discover trends that may help improve forecasting. Collecting and analyzing temporal geospatial data is fundamental for distributed energy management. This is in addition to the expanded application of geospatial technology for utility operations and planning in the smart grid era.