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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds The coexistence of centralised and decentralized energy systems enables new models such as microgrids. A microgrid is a local group of electricity sources and loads, that normally operates in connection with the traditional centralized grid (macrogrid), but can nonetheless be disconnected and function autonomously, in accordance to physical and/or economic conditions. Scaling up the concept of microgrids is technically possible, but still has to be legalized in several member states of the European Union.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds However, a new package of energy regulation at the European level, “Clean Energy for all Europeans”, also known as Winter Package, aiming to legislate on Local Energy Communities, could be a promising and efficient way of managing energy at a community level, with or without a connection to distribution systems, fostering local energy generation, distribution, aggregation storage, supply or energy efficiency services, including across borders.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds Microgrids can be a key player in increasing the flexibility of the electric system. To make it technically possible, electric networks at the distribution level must be digital, with new sensors, upgraded telecommunications, models based on real time data, sensors, cloud database systems, among others. In order to optimize the electric system, a digital, self-managed system based on distributed intelligence for decision-making processes, would be able of interacting with several sensors, matching the demand with the production of local resources, informing of supply failures and disconnecting automatically should any excessive loads take place. As power can be exchanged digitally, the DSO can deliver electricity to the network, which is made up of energy cells or nodes with IP addresses.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds This means that each element can be identified and operated independently: any household on a smart network would thus be able to use power selectively,

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 seconds being able to choose which loads to connect to: either its own or the ones close-by.

Skip to 2 minutes and 40 seconds Estabanell is a century-old electric distributor near Barcelona that understood very well the challenge of the digitalization era in electricity markets, as well as the new opportunities arising from a gradual transition to more robust and reliable grids. The Rural Smart Project, co-financed by the 7th Framework Program, aims to digitalise the grid by providing multiple different paths to reach the final consumer redundantly, as the World Wide Web does. The Smart Rural Grid project aims to develop the smart grid and explore the best ways to make the transition from the current rural distribution network to the new, using novel smart grid technologies and associated business concepts.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 seconds The project intends to reconsider rural network distribution architectures that are currently in use and introduce, combine and test telecommunications, control and storage technologies and other systems and devices to ensure a successful inception of the new concept. The project provides a secure operation and complies with all market rules

Skip to 3 minutes and 48 seconds and communication standards, and embraces the following: Enhanced control of electricity distribution, incorporating low voltage Intelligent Distribution Power Router (IDPR) devices at the level of the secondary substations that will enable enhanced electricity routing distribution mechanisms. IDPR are power electronic devices allowing to control electricity flows for different purposes, and will have inbuilt control technology allowing semi-automatic best-mode selection functionality, in isolated or in electrical coupled mode. By embedding telecommunications into rural electricity networks all gathered grid data will be seamlessly made available to the operation centers, under centralized or distributed transactional modes.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds The communication will consist of both fall-back network connectivity in support of the operations of electricity distribution and transport networks, and also the grained connectivity at consumer/prosumer endpoints, smoothly integrating them into innovative business models of proactive and predictive distributed electricity distribution operations. The integration of energy storage based upon battery and ultra-capacitors technology enabling novel resilient network modes at segment level of the rural distribution network whilst contributing to further securing the quality of the service. Boosted network management capabilities will allow innovative software platforms to predictably analyse all available electricity distribution data, related with both offer and demand.

Skip to 5 minutes and 26 seconds The concept is tested live in full scale at the village of Vallfogona del Ripollès. The village is located in a typical rural area in Catalonia. The density of customers is sparse. All of them are connected to a single radial supply system. The project is going to focus on those at the end of this electric network. This will put the project results to a severe test. The target area has a great need for improved resilience, and the type of benefits that Smart Grid technologies provide develop are in high demand.

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 seconds The low-voltage part of the grid is called to be the backbone of distributed energy resources. It implies a new approach of energy and information flows that digitalises the electricity network. DSOs can leverage new technical and business opportunities, and also, consumers can organise themselves to become active around their local energy communities. The current state of the art shows that there are lots of options available, such as microgrids, but there is a lack of regulation to really take these new electric systems a step forward.

Micro grid at distribution level

The coexistence of centralized and decentralized energy systems enables new models such as microgrids. In this video, professor Pep Salas will introduce you to microgrids and how these operate in connection with the traditional centralized grid.

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This video is from the free online course:

Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions

EIT InnoEnergy