NovoGrid, a start-up specialising in energy-management software, has developed an intelligent control system to enable wind-farm owners reduce energy losses associated with the transfer of electricity to national grids, writes Dr Peter Richardson
Elec

 

Author: Dr Peter Richardson, senior researcher, Electricity Research Centre, Engineering and Materials Science CentreUniversity College Dublin

It is estimated that wind farm owners lose up to 10% of their daily revenues due to the energy losses that are associated with the delivery of their energy production to electricity grids. This equates to an estimated €2.3 billion in lost annual revenues for wind-farm owners globally.

With wind farms becoming more and more popular as an alternative source for generating electricity, it is estimated that such losses could triple by 2020. The EU European Energy Efficiency directive, which has been in effect since 2014, mandates all Member States to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain. This directive, along with the related National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, provides a strong impetus for the electricity sector to address energy efficiency as a priority.

Some of current solutions available for reducing losses in power systems include installing devices such as capacitor banks, static synchronous condensers and static volt ampere reactive compensators. However, such devices require large amounts of hardware and can be extremely capital intensive.

NovoGrid is a new start-up company that has developed an intelligent control system solution for wind farms. The idea behind the technology is to reduce energy losses on the electricity grid while also increasing their energy output. The control system harnesses the in-built wind farm technology to intelligently exploit its full capability, thereby significantly reducing energy losses.

Reduce losses and increase energy export


NovoGrid UCD

Andrew Keane, Paul Manning and Peter Richardson — NovoGrid founders at the UCD VentureLaunch Awards evening

The revolutionary software-as-a-service solution can be used by wind-farm owners to optimally control operational set points, in real time. The dual benefit of reduced losses on the electrical network and increased renewable energy export offers the potential for a real and significant benefit to be delivered to electricity consumers across Ireland.

NovoGrid itself has emerged from research that has been carried out over several years in the Electricity Research Centre at the School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering in University College Dublin (UCD). This research has been carried out by co-founders, Dr Andrew Keane and Dr Peter Richardson. The development of the patent-pending technology has been supported by Enterprise Ireland from an early stage.

Paul Manning, an MBA graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School who has run his own energy services company for many years, and who has worked for several start-up companies in business development and market analysis roles, is also a co-founder of the company.

NovoGrid recently won the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Award, which has proved extremely valuable to the team in terms of increasing the company’s profile and access to supports via NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin. Since the award in November last year, numerous valuable industry contacts with an interest in the renewable energy sector have been made.

The goal for NovoGrid is to successfully complete the field trial of the controller on an Irish wind farm in the first half of 2015, in co-operation with ESB Networks. Simultaneously, discussions are under way with UK- and US-based stakeholders with the aim of commencing commercial trials of the technology in overseas markets by early 2016.

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  Author: Dr Peter Richardson, senior researcher, Electricity Research Centre, Engineering and Materials Science Centre, University College Dublin It is estimated that wind farm owners lose up to 10% of their daily revenues due to the energy losses that are associated with the delivery of their energy production to electricity grids. This equates to an estimated...