Economic, scale. The applications include power support at substations,

Economic, technology and environmental incentives are changing the face of electricity generation and transmission. Centralized generating facilities are giving way to smaller, more distributed energy resources partially due to the loss of traditional economies of scale. Distributed Energy Resources (DER) encompasses a wide range of prime mover technologies, such as internal combustion (IC) engines, gas turbines, microturbines, photovoltaic systems, fuel cells, wind-power and ac storage. Most emerging technologies such as microturbines, photovoltaic systems, fuel cells and ac storage have an inverter to interface with the electrical distribution system. These emerging technologies have lower emissions and the potential to have lower cost negating traditional economies of scale. The applications include power support at substations, deferral of T&D upgrades, high fuel efficiency through capturing waste heat, use of renewable energy, higher power quality and smarter distribution systems. Today’s high voltage transmission network is reliable and controllable but suffers from cascading failures. Its efficiency and use of resources are also poor. Central plants are at best 35% efficient because of line losses and smoke stack waste heat. Approximately 20% of the generation capacity exists to meet peak demand 5% of the time. These issues become compounded with high penetration of renewable sources due to their intermittent behavior. Revolutionary changes are not expected in the transmission network but improvement through continued evolution can greatly reduce events like the 2003 blackout 1. The distribution system provides major opportunities for smart grid concepts. Public policies involving global climate change initiatives, reductions in CO2 and other polluting emissions, and incentives for renewable energy will increase issues related to the distribution system. The retail customers also have increasingly sophisticated energy service requirements that require much higher power quality than in the past. The distribution system needs to be redesigned assuming high levels of distributed energy


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