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Evolving technologies

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evolving technologies
Smart grids

It is early days for the “Smart Grid” Brand and care needs to be taken to ensure implementation is successful recognising that not all project will be successful. Electricity is delivered over a network – a grid of power lines and processing stations; they simply transfer whatever power is available to the consumer. Almost always, the energy flows from large, centralised generating plants to consumers dispersed over a large area. Generating capacity has to be sufficient to meet the highest level of demand, even though it may only occur once a year. Smart grids aim to change that by introducing a range of monitoring, storage and embedded generation technologies. Smart meters and smart appliances in homes and businesses will allow consumers to choose when they use electricity and opt for off-peak rates.

Abu Dhabi has invested in different technology towards achieving a smart grid, for example: Communication Infrastructure, Network Automation, AMR, Network Characteristics and Renewable Energy projects.

This will smooth demand patterns eliminating the need for some generating capacity. Advanced smart meters, already being introduced in Abu Dhabi, this will give the consumers control of their energy usage and the amount they wish to spend on energy. Smart monitoring at the industrial end of the process, in generation and distribution, will allow intermittent sources of power, such as wind farms and solar plants, to be effectively integrated with conventional generation.

Storage technologies, such as battery storage, and vehicle-to-grid technologies will allow smart grids to hold some power for peak demand periods, again reducing the need for costly peak generating capacity. Embedded generation technologies, including small-scale solar and wind power, will be enabled by smart meters which allow a two-way flow of electricity. When solar panels or wind turbines produce more power than a home or business needs, the excess power will feed into the smart grid.

The management of complex smart grids will depend on real-time communications and highly adaptive control systems. Sector companies and customers will have real-time information from across the network on the performance of grid installations. This information will also allow intelligent automated devices to help manage and control the networks.

Various smart grid technologies are already being put in place and this process will accelerate as cost and efficiency benefits are realised. Smart grids are particularly significant because they are an enabling technology. Just as software applications thrive on the internet, smart grids will allow a variety of other dependent technologies to thrive.

Renewal energies Integration

Abu Dhabi is committed to encouraging renewable energy (RE) technologies in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. RE projects are already established and developing further in the Emirate. The Masdar city is mostly powered by a 10MW PV plant which was the first RE project in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi continued to develop RE project:

Shams 1 is the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation in the world and the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa. The plant located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, the 100-megawatt, with 258,000 mirrors on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors harnessing the sun's energy to power a steam turbine, the plant developed by Shams Power Company occupies an area of 2.5 square kilometers or 285 football fields t is expected to generate sufficient energy to power 20,000 homes and divert 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year.

Sir Bani Yas - Onshore wind farm with a target capacity of between 20 and 30MW

  • Sir Bani Yas is a natural Island located 250 km southwest of Abu Dhabi city
  • TDIC promotes Sir Bani Yas Island as a premier tourist destination.
  • Masdar has an agreement with TDIC to develop renewable energy projects on the island

Nour 1 - Solar PV plant with a planned capacity of 100MW

  • East of Al Ain
  • Extends over an area of 3km²
  • Annual electricity generation 170 GWh

2 MW Solar roof top PV systems in Abu Dhabi:

  • A joint initiative was led by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) in partnership with Masdar and RSB to study the performance of solar rooftop installations on 10 government buildings in Abu Dhabi. The study is based on the analysis of one year’s data starting from January 2012 with the objective of developing a clear understanding of the issues associated with the operation of actual solar rooftop installations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and to document the findings for the benefit of the power sector as a whole.
Zero-net energy buildings

Zero-net energy buildings start with exhausting all energy efficiency measures in a given building followed by integration of local generation and energy storage to supply the electricity needs of the building. While the local generation will be connected to the grid to supply electricity at the time when the building in not in need for it, the building will also be connected to the grid which will supply electricity whenever there is a shortage of local generation. Over the year, although the amount of energy supplied and injected to the grid will fluctuate, the building net import and export will be zero.

There are several advancements in the areas of passive building designs, energy efficiency, energy storage and embedded generation which can make this possible. This would significantly improve end-use efficiency and contribute the overall sustainability of Abu Dhabi.