The recently published ICF Grid Readiness Report commissioned by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) identified the Best Practices of leading Canadian utilities and system operators in preparing the distribution grid for electric vehicle charging.
The Awesense Digital Energy Platform developed specifically for distribution utilities takes best practices from report to reality. The comprehensive data ingestion and modelling capabilities of the Energy Data Model (EDM) make it ideal for tackling modern utility problems, including the immense challenge of getting the grid ready for the massive wave of EVs coming down the pike. EV adoption is critical to decarbonizing energy; the Awesense Platform provides the critical link to enable the digitalization needed to promote decentralized energy and utility decarbonization. The section below demonstrates the alignment of the Awesense Platform with NRCan-recommended best practices for the distribution grid.
NRCan-Recommended Distribution Best Practices
- EV Charging & Grid Upgrades. Studying EV charging management solutions helps utility commissions understand when penetration levels necessitate grid upgrades.
Ever more EVs promise to address significant decarbonization of transportation, but EVs are a double-edged sword: consumer gains in convenience, lower carbon footprint and lower operating cost will be offset by grid challenges to accommodate massive increases in unpredictable charging loads. Studying EV charging management lets utilities and system operators not only identify and accommodate solutions to best fit grid needs to be driven by rising loads, but also avoid the equivalent of a death sentence, where ignorance of changing grid conditions becomes unacceptable. The Awesense Energy Ecosystem includes several EV charging solution providers ready to help tackle EV charging management challenges at scale.
- EV-Enabled Changes. Beyond EV charging, associated changes will include more sophisticated EV charging management, bidirectional charging and vehicle to home/building (V2B /vehicle to grid (V2G).
While EVs will drive grid demand, other types of DER will challenge the unprepared utility. The transition from power distribution from a handful of centralized power plants to the enablement of massive amounts of DER will raise the premium on-grid situational awareness, a term that will become increasingly referenced as utility professionals seek to avoid significant disruptions. The Awesense Platform features a front-end solution – True Grid Intelligence (TGI), which features situational awareness tools to provide insights on DER impacts on the distribution grid.
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Bolstering the business case for full-scale AMI deployments.
AMI defined the transition to a Smart Grid over the last decade, but technological improvements raise the question of “what comes next?” Metering upgrades to next-gen AMI 2.0 will enable greater AMI value, such as grid edge computing and decision-making. And today’s AMI technology already offers streams of Time-series data and great analytical value, driving new use cases supported by capable analytics and a common data model as provided by the Awesense Platform.
- Electrify Everything. Pursuing broad, comprehensive and beneficial electrification customer programs.
In the end, decarbonization means “Just Electrify It All.” It’s a comprehensive and immensely challenging mandate. At the end of the day, the electric grid has become the quintessential infrastructure for all the different systems that support modern life, not the least of which is our beloved internet. Digitalization is now required to provide a detailed understanding of impacts at the device level to ensure sustained operation. All electrification programs must be tested using past data and anticipating future requirements, making the Awesense Platform an analytical solution in demand.
- EV Load Impacts. Adopting or developing methods to assess EV charging load impact.
The growth of Transportation Electrification promises that EV charging loads will be more and more prevalent in overall system demands. While many analytical use cases can be satisfied by looking at past data, sometimes the simulation of the future load is necessary. The Awesense EDM can feed preferred grid power flow modelling software easily so that EV loads can be forecasted.
- Design & Development. Reviewing design standards for new development, as well as replacing burnout of distribution assets.
As the driver of modernity, the grid has proven a reliable workhorse. But no green pastures wait at the end of the line for this workhorse. No retirement party, no gold watch. Rather we push onward, well past 100 years and onto 150 years. Edison’s Pearl Street station, the first electric grid, was a local DC system built in NYC in 1882. Four short years later, Buffalo put in place the first AC system. Now, 140 years later, AC transmission & distribution systems stretch across the globe, providing light and power for the modern world. To address burgeoning system demand and complexity, digitalization and data analytics will be needed for planning improvements. Enhanced resilience is needed for longer and more extensive power outages. The Awesense TGI Outage Analytics application provides reliable data, needed insights, and design standards on which to build more in-depth solutions to the challenge of outages.
- New Standard Design Rules. Finally, the study suggests, that “utilities should undertake a thorough review of their distribution system design practices and possibly change the standard design rules in preparation for a higher load per customer due to EV charging.”
Reliable data and reporting are necessary to modify existing standard design rules. Some use cases require the development of analytical insights and the implementation of a custom coding and analytics platform. The Awesense open data philosophy allows utility data analysts to access the data layer and develop custom analytics and applications.
As this review shows, digitalization is not for the faint of heart. A comprehensive approach is needed to manage the transition to a new digital energy system. Incrementalism, long the preferred approach in the utility sector, is inadequate for the task. Rather, a wholesale switch to data, digitalization and data analytics is needed. The Awesense Platform is a powerful analytical tool to rapidly develop and deploy hundreds of use cases inside utilities. This review of NRCan’s Best Practices shows close alignment with the Awesense Platform, with regard to transportation electrification and beyond.
Blogs in this series:
- 12 Best Practices for Implementing Electric Vehicles Into The Grid
- 5 Grid Transmission Best Practices with EV Adoption
Interested in finding out more about The Digital Energy Platform? You can contact us via our website or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.