The Daily Campus
The Eversource Energy Center, a partnership between Eversource Inc. and the University of Connecticut, is conducting research on renewable energy integration. Integration involves identifying renewable energy resources and storage to maintain the electric grid against weather hazards.
Dr. Malaquias Peña, the Grid Modernization Team Leader at Eversource Energy Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, said in New England there is an expectation of use in terms of renewable energy, with 40% to 50% of energy expected to be from renewable sources by 2030.
Peña highlighted one of the major areas of concern when it comes to renewable energy includes not only the PV panels or wind turbines, but also batteries and other energy resources used to maintain sufficient operating reserves in the grid in order to sustain a reliable flow of energy.
The issue of weather and preparing for storms or conditions that might threaten a power grid is also pressing. According to Peña, preparing for such scenarios is critical to ensuring the efficient flow of renewable energy, but also protecting the larger power grid.
“The other issue that has been addressed is energy generation and weather, as you heard from the news in Texas, when you have big storms, there are some situations in which systems will temporarily be down, so predicting those scenarios could help us plan on the reserves needed for energy supply,” Peña said. “With enough planning, resources and simulations we should be able to cope with those situations coming up.”
Peña said not only is extreme weather a potential threat to renewable energy, but more mundane variations in weather, such as cloudiness or lack of wind, can affect the availability of wind or solar energy if precautions are not taken.