Recent failures of electric grids have highlighted the difficulties that energy companies face in ensuring the delivery of reliable and affordable power while simultaneously switching to less-polluting energy sources. The 20th-century regulated utility sent energy is a one-way flow from generators to consumers, controlling delivery and reliability of a basic electric service from a centralized control room. The utility was the only provider of the grid services, such as voltage regulation, required for delivery and grid balance. Its profit relied on volume-based pricing determined through regulatory proceedings rather than markets and so demand was assumed to be “dumb” and inelastic.
Fast forward to today’s problem and recent cyber attacks, climate change and new regulations to usher in the electric grid of the future to promote competition in electric markets by removing the barriers to deployment of renewables. The market is moving towards a more decentralized approach premised on technologies like networks of utility-connected devices and new, cheaper battery storage, in a system meant to protect against massive power outages and transition us away from fossil fuels.The challenge is how do we work with a centrally controlled system that is inelastic while we securely integrate in new energy sources to meet our energy efficiency and decentralization goals?
The emerging edge economy weaves together all of the digital and physical strands of our future world into the fabric of a new universe where next-gen computing technologies generate a unified reality; where our digital and physical lives become one. This is a new kind of network, not merely one of interconnected computers like the original Internet or a network of interlinked pages such as the World Wide Web, but rather a “living network” made up of the interconnections between people, places, and things, their virtual counterparts, and the interactions, transactions and transportation between them.
As the www ushered in information for all, the energy edge economy will require new code, technology, decentralization and innovation to bring it to life. In the Web 3.0 energy edge economy, we will not only create an “Intelligent Digital Twin” or soft copy of our energy world and everything in it, but Intelligent Smart Twins and Energy Wallets, with its own unique ID, interaction rules, pricing, encryption and verifiable history capable of being linked and synced to its physical counterpart, spatially.
The Internet of Everything in the Web 3.0 Edge Economy era will drive economic and societal development in key areas such as efficient power for all, sustainability, and the rise of microeconomics and business for opportunities for the common good and global communities.
Borsetta’s Guardian GridAI is digital twin intelligent software, which takes an existing, clean energy product or new concept designs and integrates a distributed ledger to secure the design or asset, develop digital engineering models, and couple the physical processes threaded with AI to replicate the physical assets and how it will operate and live in the real world with its own digital twin. such as our existing energy grid.
Guardian can help companies and utilities pilot new products using GridAI to capture value out of current assets or new product investments to be deployed in existing systems. GridAI software can design an intelligent twin for managing the transmission grid (i.e. high-voltage lines for long-distance transmission), the distribution grid (i.e. lower voltage lines handling the last-mile connections to homes and businesses), and for the changing landscape of participants managing electricity markets and new services.
GridAI can be deployed to economically match supply with demand with secure blockchain-enabled protocols that use responsive IoT devices to optimize grid functionality while maintaining a high level of data security and robustness. As part of this simulation process, we can demonstrate the role of the blockchain foundation as a tool for improving energy systems and the computational and physical constraints of the various system balances of supply and demand. Web 3.0 for the energy sector will be built largely on several layers of technological innovation: connecting physical and digital assets with asset authentication, edge computing, decentralized data networks, machine-to-machine transactions, and artificial intelligence.
The GridAI Balance simulation can replicate a power system to economically balance supply and demand at a variety of timescales—from the critical seconds-to-minutes scale required to withstand unexpected outages, to the seasonal scale that matches scheduled power plant outages and maintenance with periods of lower demand. The variable resources fluctuate across various timescales, such as what is called a diurnal mismatch between the timing of peak demand and when solar and wind generation are highest during the day to significant seasonal and climate change mismatch between wind, solar, and demand patterns that is even more challenging to address
Designing reliable, stable and secure grids that rely on Inverter-Based Resources is similar to the Balance Challenge in that they both involve balancing supply and demand on various timescales. But the inverter challenge is different in that concerns are focused on a set of specific engineering considerations, as opposed to the broader economic issues associated with the Balance Challenge.
The Inverter Challenge is all about issues associated with transitioning to a grid dominated by inverter-based resources (IBRs)—primarily wind and solar PV generation, along with battery storage.
Most electrical energy in the United States is currently derived from turbines coupled to synchronous generators; the generators are electrically coupled and rotating at the same frequency. To provide a reliable and stable grid, system planners and operators have leveraged several inherent characteristics of synchronous generators, including rotational inertia (stored kinetic energy in large rotating masses) and the ability to inject large amounts of current into the grid. These characteristics are the basis of traditional power-system stability and protection.
Inverter-based resources have very different characteristics compared to our current power generators, including a lack of physically coupled inertial response and limited ability to provide large amounts of current under fault conditions. As we migrate to DC power and rely more on inverter-based resources, they will need to provide services currently provided by current power generators—which will require changes in the way the power system is controlled and protected.
Borsetta is on a mission to help find a clear and cost effective pathway to pilot and test drive new concepts and technologies to address the Balance, Inverter and Security Challenge at the national scale. Our GridAI platform provides an intelligent foundation to evaluate a suite of leading edge technologies that can help ensure renewable supply matches demand patterns across all time periods—and that we can design for a secure future as we transition the grid from one that is dependent on synchronous machines “today’s grid” to one that is based on inverters “renewables”.