If our nation and world are to harness renewable energies and become truly independent of fossil fuels, it will take more than new technologies to complete the transition. We will also need some way in which to manage the various resources so we can keep our energy grid operating at maximum capacity with minimum down time—in short to maintain a state that delivers as much power as the current electrical grid, at less cost and damage to the environment. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and other energy sources are all subject to large changes in the amount of power they can produce at any particular time. Clouds block the sun, the wind dies, water flow changes—how can we balance our energy needs with what we can produce?

A company in California has taken a first step towards anticipating and managing renewable energy sources. Space Time Insight has developed geospatial and visual analytics solutions that synthesize real-time meteorological, geothermal and other data into intuitive visual displays that help energy managers anticipate power production. Several utility companies are already using the company’s software to help them augment power from the traditional electrical grid. By monitoring conditions, energy managers can tap into available sources and plan for shortages before they happen.

Photo: a graphical representation of solar power generation (green) and availability (red) in California and Arizona, with cloud cover.

 

Nextek Power Systems’ Direct Current equipment and systems are part of this movement towards energy independence, and use a similar approach. Our building and microgrid solutions, which are based on solar power generation, automatically manage available power sources, drawing from solar panels, then battery storage, before they tap into the AC grid, to keep energy expenses as low as possible for customers. This is the future of electric power.

 

Comment