This talk will consider the long-term structure of electrical power delivery systems assuming high levels of renewable energy sources (RES) or so-called Future Grids. The issues and some progress to date will be described with emphasis on the projects led by the speaker in Hong Kong and Sydney.
The proper operation of an electricity grid involves an intricate set of balancing processes for energy, power and ramping all while achieving the regulation of system variables, e.g. voltages, frequency, line powers, and keeping the system secure following disturbances. This is achieved with layers of system control (and market) processes. These processes all need to be redesigned for high levels of renewable power due to the weather driven variability of the power supply (adding to variability already there elsewhere). Further, the solutions will vary according to interconnection topology, i.e. an isolated large island like Australia with a linear grid has a much different problem than the highly interconnected European countries aiming at high RES. Some studies have been made by governments worldwide to answer the question: what percentage levels of renewable energy are achievable?
The answer will be dependent on system topology and the control architectures. As the recent blackout in South Australia illustrates, questions on the viability of RES for major power production can be very complex (except to the eyes of politicians). The importance of good science playing a role and being seen to have a role will be given some attention. Also some recent thoughts on extending the approach to address the so-called energy trilemma (prices, emissions, security) will be mentioned.
David J. Hill holds the Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong; he directs the Centre for Electrical Energy Systems and is the Program Coordinator for the multi-university RGC heme-based Research Scheme Project on Sustainable Power Delivery Structures for High Renewables. He is also a part-time Professor and Director of the Centre for future Energy Networks at The University of Sydney, Australia. During 2005-2010, he was an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow at the Australian National University. He has held various positions at the University of Sydney, Australia, including the Chair of Electrical Engineering 1994-2002 and again during 2010-2013 long with an ARC Professorial Fellowship. He has also held academic and substantial visiting positions at the universities of Melbourne, California (Berkeley), Newcastle (Australia), Lund (Sweden), Munich and Hong Kong (CityU and PolyU). During 1996-1999 and 2001-2004, he served as Head of the respective departments in Sydney and Hong Kong.
His general research interests are in control systems, complex networks, power systems and stability analysis. His work is now mainly on control and planning of future energy networks and basic stability and control questions for dynamic networks. Professor Hill is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA, and Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, USA, the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences. He is also a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.