The International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) has recently published its discussion paper “micro vs MEGA: trends influencing the development of the power system”, with the contribution of SuperGrid Institute experts.
The team during one workshop and meeting in Montreux (Swiss) © ISGAN
ISGAN, an International Energy Agency (IEA) Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP), produced this paper with the aim of analysing the main trends that are shaping the development of the future power grids and summarising two main visions that currently appear to oppose one another: micro grids vs. mega grids. This report is intended as a guide for policy makers in Europe and worldwide.
Several members of our team co-wrote the paper alongside energy experts from across the globe. Working on this report offered a fantastic opportunity to compare our vision of the development of electrical power systems with those working the in the field internationally. Our main contributions were focused on the architecture of future transmission grids, the challenges involved in their control and maintaining their stability.
The two trends laid out in the ISGAN report, micro and mega grids, both facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into the electrical grid but each one has its own approach. Micro grids focus on localised solutions for the distribution of energy at consumer level and can work as part of the larger grid or independently. Mega grids look to transport large quantities of energy from far-off production centres to consumption sites and to strengthen national and international links.
While the report set out to demonstrate the different strategic trends that are currently driving the energy industry, we believe that micro and mega grids are complimentary. “These two visions will continue to exist and assert themselves independently but we believe that the key to creating a successful energy transition for electrical grids will come from an efficient combination of these two ideas and will give rise to a solution that draws on the complementary aspects of each approach”, explains Paul Vinson, contributing author and Collaboration Project Developer at SuperGrid Institute.
Many challenges remain in the pursuit of an optimum solution that brings these two trends together. Our work at SuperGrid Institute is therefore crucial for the sustainable development of electrical grids, as we continue to research and innovate to find solutions to these challenges.