Smart grid for smart energy (38)
By Kim Joong-kyum
KEPCO is all about green and smart technology. It was a great privilege to receive a prize for our integrated next-generation power distribution system at the Green Energy Awards.
It was in recognition of our dedicated efforts to invest and promote green energy – including renewable energy – and the contribution that we can make to the development of the energy industry.
KEPCO won the award, given by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning, among tough competition for its integrated next-generation smart power distribution system.
Green and smart technology
This is perhaps the result of KEPCO’s relentless efforts in research and development in green and smart technology, including new recycled energy, clean energy, micro grids and smart grids.
Through these research and development programs aimed at low-carbon green growth, KEPCO is securing a strong position in foreign markets, providing diversified technological solutions and creating profit-making business models.
The pursuit of new recycled energy and smart power distribution systems can certainly bring benefits to consumers and there are significant consequences to the development of the integrated operation of energy resource distribution.
All over the world, there are concerns over the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, increasing the supply of recycled energy and the increase in the use of electric vehicles.
The Korean government adopts the Renewable Portfolio Standards from this year, making it mandatory for public buildings to reduce the use of electricity by 10 percent and will increase the number of electric cars to 1 million by the year 2020.
There is also the portion of the program that calls for the “20-20-20” plan, under which heavy investment will be made for the increase in the use of renewable energy by 20 percent by 2020.
The development and advancement of green energy are going to take the form of distributed energy resources for providing efficient sources of energy on a smaller scale.
However, there are safety concerns in pursuing this project. It is high time that we abort the “fit-and-forget” principle and adopt an integrated operation for voltage-reactive power control which helps resolve power factor and power loss problems.
The integrated next-generation renewable smart power distribution system is the result of the Smart Distribution System Initiative of the central government.
The initiative is leading to the development of renewable energy, energy storage devices and diversification of energy resources and their related systems and control units so as to be able to improve the efficiency of the power distribution network.
New era in power distribution
Utilizing these systems and devices, we will be able to secure the next-generation technology for analyzing power distribution on a real-time basis and operate in enhanced safety and stability the ideal control environment, making it possible to reduce pollution to the lowest level.
This is an energy management system which boasts not only next-generation technologies for the most efficient operation of the power distribution network, it is an optimal system believed to be the most advanced in the world.
Such technology is essential in an era when power and resource distribution networks are becoming more and more complicated, making it necessary to develop solutions for the optimal utilization of renewable energy.
The distribution energy management systems in operation combine a smart distribution management system and a home energy management system which effectively monitor and control micro grids.
Distribution energy management systems not only enhance operational efficiency but connect with T-SCADA/energy management systems to function effectively as a regional energy management system.
One of the other important aspects in the operation of such advanced energy management systems is the implication it has on the environment since power generation is often a major source of pollution.
Environmental considerations are a vital part of the development of this technology and implementation in the field.
The system is currently undergoing trials at the Gochang PT Center with the aim of improving the practical capability of actual application in the field and checking on its environmental implications.
When the Smart DMS is active, it will be instrumental in boosting the operational efficiency of the integrated energy management system by combining the distributed energy resources.
In the future, KEPCO plans to invest heavily in the supply of renewable energies in the global market, thus contributing to cleaning up the environment and abetter living conditions in many corners of the world.
Carrying out environment-friendly management
KEPCO takes corporate responsibility through environment-friendly management as a company producing and providing electric power, the prime power for national competitiveness.
The company is trying to enhance its environmental capability to rank among the world’s top five energy utility companies by 2020.
To achieve these aggressive goals, KEPCO is determined to pursue the following environmental policies:
First, actively carry out environment-friendly management and enhance environmental efficiency.
1. Observe environmental rules and regulations. Establish and operate an environmental management system based on the international standard. Continue to improve the system to realize sound environmental management results.
2. Execute proper education and training so that management and staff can participate actively in environmental management. Strengthen the communication system with major stakeholders.
3. Reduce the environmental load by promoting resource recycling and environment-friendly product use. Contribute to realizing a resource-circulating society with high environmental efficiency.
Second, make efforts to realize an environment-friendly electric power supply chain, including production, transportation, sales and the consumption of electricity.
1. Strengthen the environment-friendly supply chain management and related cooperative systems to enhance society’s sustainability with environment-friendly production and distribution.
2. Make efforts to construct and operate facilities that can coexist in harmony with the regional community. Minimize loss of electricity through efficient operational management.
3. Execute activities for energy conservation such as load management and electricity efficiency enhancement projects. Enhance the energy use rate at a national level.
Third, understand the seriousness of global challenges to the environment such as climate change and react responsively.
1. Show leadership in encouraging the joint efforts of electric power groups to tackle the global environmental issue of climate change.
2. Consistently reduce the amount of greenhouse gases discharged by developing and distributing environmentally-friendly energy and promoting energy conservation and improving equipment.
3. Actively support the reduction of greenhouse gases discharged indirectly during electricity use by systematically managing electricity demand and improving electricity transmission and transformation.
Towards the end of the 20th century, electricity demand patterns were established: domestic heating and air-conditioning led to daily peaks that were met by an array of “peaking power generators” that would only be turned on for short periods each day.
The relatively low utilization of these peaking generators (commonly, gas turbines were used due to their relatively lower capital cost and faster start-up times), together with the necessary redundancy in the electricity grid, resulted in high costs to electricity companies, which were passed on in the form of increased tariffs.
Since the early 21st century, opportunities to take advantage of improvements in electronic communication technology to resolve the limitations and costs of the electrical grid have become apparent.
Technological limitations on metering no longer force peak power prices to be averaged out and passed on to all consumers equally. In parallel, growing concerns over environmental damage from fossil-fired power stations have led to a desire to use large amounts of renewable energy. Dominant forms such as wind and solar power are highly variable, and so the need for more sophisticated control systems became apparent, to facilitate the connection of sources to the otherwise highly controllable grid.
Kim Joong-kyum spent a good part of his career with Hyundai Engineering & Construction, playing a critical role in introducing environment-friendly construction techniques.
Kim, who graduated from Korea University, served as chairman of the Korea Housing Association before taking up his current position as president and CEO of KEPCO.