Island communities have small-scale grids which are generally disconnected and independent from mainland power systems. In these types of locations, most energy is produced using fossil-fuel powered diesel generators.
Powering these generators, however, has become a challenge to island communities over the years due to the rising costs of fuel, and its transportation to remote islands. Moreover, extensive usage of these fossil fuels also increases CO2 emissions, posing numerous environmental issues.
To address these threats brought about by fossil fuels, communities are starting to introduce renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to their power grids. These new sources provide promising solutions to society’s emerging problems in generation costs and carbon emissions.
However, as promising as renewable energy sources may be, they are seen to be too challenging to implement. These energy sources are largely dependent on weather conditions, making them highly intermittent and unpredictable in nature. This unstable nature of renewables results to unwanted fluctuations and instabilities in the grid.
For example, when the amount of generated renewable energy sharply drops at a given time due to a sudden weather changes, diesel generators are forced to immediately raise output to make up for the shortage of energy supply. However, if the resulting energy supply shortage is relatively large, then there is a high chance that the generators will not be able to make up for the loss, potentially causing power outage in the whole island.
Toshiba is vigorously promoting the development of core technologies for smart grids, including system technologies for energy management systems, information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the provision of services to electricity users, and device technologies for distributed power supply systems.
With the use of Toshiba’s combined smart grid solutions: Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and Micro Energy Management System (μEMS), communities will be able to maximize the benefits they are able to reap from renewable energy usage, making them one step closer to realizing their goal of building a stable and self-sufficient power grid.