Two of the major issues facing the energy sector are decarbonisation and resilience. If we are to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees, action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions in the next ten years.
The energy sector is a major producer of carbon emissions, so it is vital for the industry to decarbonise by phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them with renewables. Even if decarbonisation is achieved this decade, climate change will still bring about increased shocks and stresses to energy supply networks in the future. This means supply networks will need to be more resilient if they are to meet the ever-increasing demand for reliable and stable power supplies.
In Princeton, New Jersey global technology company Siemens has created a ‘living lab’ to explore how we can tackle these twin issues. Siemens has retrofitted their research and development facility to create a ‘microgrid campus’. Using solar technology, the latest energy storage systems and integrating them with building management systems, Siemens hopes to demonstrate the power of microgrids, and to research and demonstrate how energy generation, storage and building management can work together.
The Resilience Shift’s Global Executive Director, Seth Shultz, recently featured in a film about the Princeton campus. He said:
“The Siemens project is an open laboratory that helps to raise the awareness and understanding of the importance of interconnected power infrastructures. The project is being closely watched as a possible model for setting distributed energy resilience and decarbonization trends over the next 15 years.”
The project is not just about energy technology, it is also about researching the best way to run microgrids and demonstrate examples of best practice.
- A ‘digital dashboard’ keeps the occupants informed about how much energy is being generated and where it is flowing in the building, allowing them to make any changes to maximise efficiency.
- The buildings use ‘digital twin’ technology to optimise power consumption by modelling any changes digitally before implementing them in real life.
- A variety of technologies including third-party components and software are used to evaluate how well a mixture of technologies work together.
- The complex relationships between multiple partners in the microgrid’s contruction and operation require communication and collaboration, early and often.
The project involves internal Siemens teams and external partners like the US Department of Energy National Laboratories, as well as interactions with outside bodies like local authorities.
Siemens is developing a body of best practice as the Princeton microgrid evolves and this is capturing the need to be flexible and able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Read the case study here: Siemens Resilient Princeton
You can find out more about the project on the Siemens USA website: https://usa.siemens.com/princeton