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Switched Intelligent Grid Network System (SIGNS)

Thorogood, Alexander (2014) Switched Intelligent Grid Network System (SIGNS). Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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This report considers the research, analysis and development of an alternative process for controlling end-user electrical power quality, as well as reflected load modulation and transients on the incoming electricity supply grid. In the past, power quality issues associated with the grid network, were usually generated by the connected loads, this has changed in today’s grid system with embedded intermittent renewable energy being included on the energy profile. The intermittency of the added input is being smoothed by the large scale generation on the network. A high level of renewable penetration is said to have been reached when additional effort is required to optimise PV integration.

The analysis is built on the assumption that the electrical supply grid will continue to play a vital role in supplying electrical energy to industry and domestic customers for the foreseeable future.

A report released in 2009 by the Australian Federal Government in Smart Grid Technologies recognised that through a communications network the consumer could play a vital role in maintaining power quality, offsetting peak loading and integrating embedded power generation.

The concept of Switched Intelligent Grid Networking Systems (SIGNS) to control end-user electrical power quality is to act as an intelligent buffer between the electrical grid supply and the load to select the most appropriate energy source. In addition SIGNS could effectively absorb a proportion of any surges and transients, at the same time as offering a path for augmented alternative energy. The concept is built on a harvest, storage model as illustrated below (rain water tank water storage). In this system energy, like water, is collected over a period of time, stored and then used as required, allowing the storage medium to absorb peaks and surges in power.

Over the past five years domestic energy costs to the consumer have risen by 91%, this cost has not been driven entirely by production of energy, but more so by;

• the expense of maintaining power quality over the distribution network,
• the cost of money, the global financial crisis and availability of funds,
• aging infrastructure,
• the complexity of the distribution of and the uncontrolled nature of, feed-in generators,
• growth in demand,

It is expected that the price of electricity will experience further increases as the Advanced Metering Infrastructure AMI is rolled out to accommodate the complexity of metering across the National Energy Market (NEM) and the Wholesale Energy Market in Western Australia (WEM), which is expected to be completed by 2017. The price of electrical energy between 2017 and 2018 is expected to be stable because increases in energy costs will be offset by the reductions in costs associated with rolling out the AMI.

The complexities of power distribution networks, the growing demand for efficiency providing cheaper energy and the increased demand for power quality are eroding the viability of the current network structure. The tried and proven method of maintaining stability by oversizing the generating capacity is at odds with deregulation and the struggle for new efficiencies. If the suppliers were to refocus energy quality as a joint responsibility of both suppliers and consumers, it would possibly enable the existing infrastructure in the NEM and WEM to extend its offerings, increase efficiency and potentially lower energy costs.

The research undertaken vii exposed a number of problems associated with switching energy systems in and out of the network, in particular when switching inductive loads with poor power factors (pf). These factors are exacerbated where the final switching components, utilise mechanical devices, which also further impede efforts to synchronise power sources. Use of these devices is a requirement of AS/NZ 3000 clause 2.3.22, where it is stated that generation equipment must be isolated via a mechanical contact. Nevertheless, research into, Switched Intelligent Grid Network Systems (SIGNS) has shown that it is possible to;

• increase the renewable energy component, assisting the grid, without actually exporting energy to the grid,
• assist in maintaining energy quality to within specified limits,
• offer a degree of autonomy from the grid, especially during power outages,
• reduce peak loading on the grid,
• lower greenhouse emissions through improved efficiency and solar energy harvesting.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Notes: Completed for the fulfilment of the requirements of PEC624 – Renewable Energy Dissertation and as an element of the Masters of Science. Switched Intelligent Grid Networking System (SIGNS) aims to control end-user electrical power quality and to act as an intelligent buffer between the electrical grid supply and the load, selecting the most appropriate energy source. In addition SIGNS could effectively absorb a proportion of surges and transients, at the same time as offering a path for augmented alternative energy. Thorogood, C, Thorogood, A (2012), Patent #2012101597, Eco Drive Intelligent Renewable (Sustainable) Energy Power System, Innovation Patent, Australia.
Supervisor: Hettiwatte, Sujeewa and Burton, Richard
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