Designing Better Electric Grids: Storing 100% Renewable Energy in Iceland

University of Iceland
EcologyEngineering
Open Access
DOI: 10.18258/0619
$5,000
Raised
100%
Funded on 8/23/13
Successfully Funded
  • $5,000
    pledged
  • 100%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 8/23/13

About This Project

It is important for Iceland, a model country in renewable generation, to lead by example and set a precedent for developing its electric grid. Our formula for success will be vital to the rest of the world moving towards 2020 and beyond.

This August marks the 10 year anniversary since the 2003 North American blackouts. Many of you can remember this summer. The cause of the second worst power outage in our modern history, that left over 50 million people in the U.S. and Ontario without power for several days, was reported due to a tree branch touching a power line in Ohio... That's all folks. We are hoping to avoid these gaffes in the future with our work.

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What is the context of this research?

Our planet is entrenched in a global energy crisis, and we need solutions. A template for developing the world's first renewable green battery is proposed and lies in storing electricity across the grid. Iceland generates 100% of its electricity from renewable resources including 73% from hydropower and 27% from geothermal energy. Is it possible to help Iceland become the world's first renewable green battery?


Research indicates high-capacity electricity energy storage (EES) has the potential to be economically beneficial as well as carbon neutral, all while improving power control and quality, dampening load variation, and smoothing out natural fluctuations in renewable energy (RE) sources. The role of EES integration into Iceland’s electricity grid will be explored with primary focus on improving energy efficiency, transmission control, and maintaining infrastructure. Modeling EES configurations and achieving grid optimization will be done using Grid CommandTM software (provided by Battelle) which can digitally analyze distributed energy resources, maximize improvements in voltage control, power quality, and predict future scenarios with electric vehicles (EVs) interactions. It is important to state that we do not intend to overexploit Iceland's renewable resources and ruin it's natural beauty. It is a beautiful country!

Landsvirkjun is the largest energy producer in Iceland, and has helped install the very workable transmission network across the country; therefore the goal here is assessing how best to implement EES devices for storing Iceland’s annual energy surplus of about 10%, all while providing a template for other countries to follow for modernizing their grids.

What is the significance of this project?

With aging infrastructure and renewable energy (RE) generation on the rise, there has never been a more urgent need for a modern electricity grid. Many envision this modernized smart grid based on its capacity to integrate RE sources, being virtually carbon neutral, and featuring improved voltage control, demand response and supply flexibility.

Currently, the leading technology for achieving these modifications rests in grid electricity energy storage. The technology exists today, however the need now is to provide tactical solutions.

Researching EES in Iceland offers many valuable outcomes, and must be used as a template by other countries for improving existing grids. It is important for Iceland, a model country of renewable generation, to lead by example and set a precedent for developing its smart grid. Our formula for success will be vital to the rest of the world moving towards 2020 and beyond.

What are the goals of the project?

Originally when we set out on this idea, the leading-edge technology for digitally modelling our fancy electric grid was the Grid CommandTMDistribution package developed by the brilliant minds at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio. Our university team, without grants, was able to secure a 90-day trial version of the software FOR FREE, however, under licensing agreements, Battelle attached a firm-fixed price for $9,000 to be used for training and technical support. While there are other models for download on the web, such as Balmorel and STREAM, Grid CommandTM Distribution is far more robust and ideal for new-age electricity energy storage applications. Grid CommandTM really offers us the best bang for our buck, so to speak, and would make the University of Iceland the first university in the world to use the program!

Conferences and Airfare: This research has already been accepted to be presented at the Arctic Energy Summit 2013 as well as The International Workshop on Simulation for Energy, Sustainable Development & Environment (SESDE 2013) in Athens, Greece. We plan to attend, proudly, and showcase our research... backed by your tremendously generous contributions.

Thank you.

Budget

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Grid CommandTM is expensive software, and the developers deserve remuneration for their work. All of your donations will be used to pay Battelle for training and technical support throughout the course of our research. You can follow our progress through the Lab Notes (above) and keep up-to-date as we model better grids for the planet.

Meet the Team

Michael E. Sugar | Rúnar Unnþórsson
Michael E. Sugar | Rúnar Unnþórsson
Lead Researcher, Master's Student

Affiliates

M.Sc., Environmental Engineering, University of Iceland (2012-2013)

B.Sc., Honours, Earth System Science, Queen's University (2007-2011)

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Team Bio

Michael is determined to solve the world's energy crisis. Dedicated to the environmental sciences for over a decade, he eventually became fascinated with the marriage of ecology, design, engineering and policy structuring involved in urban planning and sustainable development. Currently, Michael is working towards a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Iceland, where, time spent in the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavík, was noteworthy for it provided him with the ability to work directly with the international leaders in renewable energy, sustainability, energy efficiency and ecological economics. Now, his research focuses primarily on electric grid modelling and high-power energy storage. The energy crisis is in his sights.

Michael E. Sugar | Rúnar Unnþórsson

Michael is determined to solve the world's energy crisis. Dedicated to the environmental sciences for over a decade, he eventually became fascinated with the marriage of ecology, design, engineering and policy structuring involved in urban planning and sustainable development. Currently, Michael is working towards a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Iceland, where, time spent in the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavík, was noteworthy for it provided him with the ability to work directly with the international leaders in renewable energy, sustainability, energy efficiency and ecological economics. Now, his research focuses primarily on electric grid modelling and high-power energy storage. The energy crisis is in his sights.

Additional Information

The current Icelandic grid as provided by Landsnet. This infographic is a visual representation of the transmission network across the country, for instance, the most populous area of Iceland, Reykjavík, is located in the southwestern portion of this graphic where the greatest grid density and electricity consumption may be seen. Other regions of note, especially with the highest rate of use (speed of lines) represent aluminum smelters and heavy industry. The roles of electricity energy storage (EES) will be explored at various locations across this grid!

Note: If map appears empty please refresh page. Best viewed in Chrome. LINK: Landsnet Grid

EES offers a wide degree of voltage control or frequency regulation, and power flow management. The diagram below shows how EES absorbs and injects electricity to the grid, keeping voltages within a narrower frequency band. This shows how EES can manage power surges and sags, helping maintain power lines and power plants in the process.

Grants and Press


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