The Chilean Energy Ministry plans to develop smart grids in the Andean country and to this end it has awarded to ECLAREON the development of the study ” Smart grids: opportunities for development and implementation strategy in Chile”. This work will allow to identify development opportunities and establish a strategy for smart grid implementation (RI for its acronym in Spanish) in Chile.
ECLAREON is an international business consulting firm specializing in renewable which is leading the consortium for the project implementation. This report assesses international success stories in the development of smart grids to understand how these technologies have been implemented in other countries. The study includes long-term national strategies such as that of South Korea and projects focused on a specific segment of the grid, such as that in Houston, which aims to improve the distribution network reliability.
It will also identify and examine the Chilean electric business segments with an ability to incorporate RI, and estimate the cost-benefit ratio of the top rated alternatives. This should allow for subsequent analysis of strategies for implementing the RI in Chile and to detail regulatory modifications required to this end.
Optimizing the Chilean grid
The results show that the strategy of the RI should be based on long-term specific objectives, as positive returns in short periods of analysis are hardly achieved. In many cases, the development of these technologies not only requires stability in time but also in public incentives since social benefits (eg . emissions reduction) may represent a significant portion of the total benefits.
In this sense, the study concludes that the most valued technologies for implementation in the country include smart metering, local generation and storage, micro-grids, automation and sensors as well as asset management tools.
For the smart grid consulting firm, the scope of distributed generation and industrial level applications offer the greatest potential benefit for the use of this system in Chile. From a regulatory perspective, the Chilean electricity market would require significant reforms to fully apply all the features and services that an intelligent network can provide. This, at least is observed in the power distribution segment, where precisely the most significant gains are appreciated so far if introducing the concept of RI, given its proximity to consumption.
The concept of Smart Grids proposes a major shift in the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed by putting these processes in relation with information technologies. Its implementation will allow for greater interaction between the main actors of the electrical system: generators, distributors and consumers. In the case of consumers, for example, while these are not actively involved in the current market, they may adjust their consumption habits to minimize their energy costs through smart meters.
Smart grid uses innovative products and services, and monitoring , control, and communications technologies, bringing benefits to both the environment and customers, while providing an increase in the electricity supply reliability and quality, better tools for customers to optimize their own electricity consumption and improvements to the overall system performance. It also contributes to environmental sustainability and improves efficiency in the distribution of energy flows and flexibility in peak demand management, thereby reducing requirements of new generation facilities.
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