By Myrna M. Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) is paving the pathway for Philippine power utilities to elevate service quality as well as equipment and asset deployments into the latitude of smart grid developments.
As defined in the propounded Smart Grid Policy of the country, such shall entail the establishment of a “modernized electrical grid that utilizes innovative technologies with two-way and/or multi-way communications technologies.”
At the same time, this shall enable “real-time monitoring and control systems,” and must improve “overall reliability, power quality, security, efficiency and management of the electricity grid with cyber security and interoperability systems.”
The envisioned smart grid for the country, it was emphasized, must similarly “allow suitable integration of bulk and flexible generation, distributed energy resources, micro-grids and electric vehicles with management systems.”
And on the side of the customers, smart grid systems and facilities must empower them to have access on timely information on their energy usage and must also provide them with options on energy access and service provisions.
In terms of modernizing power grids, the DOE indicated that this must be attained across the value chain in the power system: starting from the level of the power generators, to the transmission system and up to the load networks of the distribution utilities (DUs) then the supply sector.
In the power generation segment, the DOE indicated that by installing advance monitoring system in power plants, such could “lessen power plant outages and improve plant maintenance scheduling,” while at the same time, improving forecasting and generation planning.
At the level of transmission and system operation, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) must set up wide area monitoring and control systems; regional frequency and voltage stability control; and it must also achieve full transmission automation and island-to-grid interconnections.
“The integration of smart grid in the transmission system is envisioned to improve system efficiency and minimize losses in the transfer of electricity from one node to another,” the DOE said, emphasizing that “this development will allow adequate response to grid disturbances and address grid resiliency.”
On the distribution level, power utilities are required to deploy advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) or the so-called smart meters that could better inform consumers on their level of electricity consumption – which consequently could arm them with information to manage their budgets for such usage of the commodity.
Further, the DUs are prodded to “install additional energy monitoring and control devices,” that could in turn encourage end-users to pursue energy savings decisions as well as become more proactive on demand-side response” when it comes to their electricity consumption.
For the installation of smart meters, it has been noted that the DUs “may be allowed to charge additional rates” but this must be subject to the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission.
And while the country’s smart grid policy is still being re-wired, the DUs are being pushed to undertake smart grid pilot projects or develop in-house technologies that could help jumpstart their course into the smart grid track.
“The DOE and other related government agencies shall actively engage with the DUs in developing demonstration projects to ensure benefit to the future grid, while ensuring consumer protection,” the energy department said.