Integrating renewables into power grids

Rena Kuwahata

At the beginning of gridXdays 2023, keynote speaker Rena Kuwahata, Energy Analyst of Power System Transformation at the International Energy Agency (IEA), shared an insightful presentation about how renewable energy can best be integrated into power grids. "Electricity will take center stage as electricity becomes the pillar of society, electricity security comes into the spotlight as well," she said.

She also shared that the "invisible giant" (i.e., the grids) is slow moving and it seems to be already causing bottlenecks. "The slow pace of progress in grid investment," she said, "means that today numerous solar PV and wind projects are waiting for grid connection." IEA's analysis shows that at least 1500 Gigawatts of advanced stage renewable energy projects are in connection queues today.

"Investment in digital technologies," she continued, "in the way of smart meters, automation communication devices, electric vehicle charging and data analytics have been increasing in recent years. These technologies enable resources to be visible and have a higher granularity than today with the information about the type of resource and its availability. And in time, this can help make better decisions about how to optimize the operation of our power systems."

Finally, she concluded by saying, "We all want to avoid this scenario – the grid delay scenario – where we fail to pay enough attention to grids and let it become a barrier to the energy transition. We, and at least me, would like to be a powerful enabler instead. So, this action needs to take place today."

hexagonal turquoise background detail