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Leveraging experience in integrating power and ICT systems, Tatung aims to expand presence in micro grid industry

Micro grid is a traditional power grid with downsized power generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption. With modernized scheduling and management, micro grid meets the special needs of local areas and effectively increases renewable energy usage and electricity quality of these areas. The importance of micro grid will continue to increase amid a distributed energy boom.

In fact, both traditional and micro grids have their own specific sides of supply and demand. In the past, electricity was transmitted in one direction but as the distributed energy can be integrated with energy storage, the electricity needs to be considered in both directions between supply and demand sides. Because of this, it is necessary to build a whole new structure with smart grids on top of micro grid to effectively adjust electricity between supply and demand. This allows to maximize the installed capacity of the renewable energy without affecting the power quality.

Mr. W. L. Chen, general manager of Tatung's Smart Grid BU, Sales Dept., System Business Group, points out the differences in the range of coverage, for the different scales of micro grid. Large-scale micro grid is useful for providing power to cities while medium-scale one is suitable for commercial buildings, communities, and factories. Small-size micro grid can be applied to smart home appliances, home energy management, residential energy storage, electric vehicles, and green households. Micro grid, from large-scale to small-scale one, can be connected to form a comprehensive grid. Each level involves distributed energy and therefore once they are connected to the comprehensive grid, the challenge is to allow the electricity to flow back and forth.

What is the challenge? According to Philip Wang, project manager from Tatung's Smart Grid BU, Sales Dept., System Business Section, the distributed energy generated from solar, wind or tidal power is volatile with turbulence during power exportation. In addition, the power grid has flow limits and once the flow fluctuation exceeds a certain limit, it might cause both the generator and the receiver equipment to malfunction. Therefore, smart control can minimize the uncertainties of power grids.

Micro grid solutions effectively increase the penetration of renewable energy

According to the government's smart grid master plan, the goal is to increase the percentage of renewable energy usage to 30% by 2030, which means there is much room to grow from now until 2030. Against this backdrop, Tatunghas been eager to develop micro grid in hope to support the government, industries, and society to increase the percentage of renewable energy adoption.

I.P. Chen, director at Tatung's Smart Grid BU, Sales Dept., System Business Section, stated that the foundation forTatung to develop micro grid is its 50 years of experience working with the Taiwan Power Company on electricity infrastructures. Tatung has a comprehensive product line for power generation, transmission, distribution, and usage. W.L. Chen added that Tatung not only has experience in developing power grids, but has also been engaged in other major software development and system integration projects for the Taiwan government on household registration, medical information, automated airport customs clearance systems, the management system for Taiwan's Hsuehshan Tunnel, and the electric railway in Hualien and Taitung. The firm has accumulated years of experience in information-communication technology, which is crucial to developing smart grid and micro grid systems.

I. P. Chen noted that Tatung has competitive advantages in micro grid industry, such as its cutting-edge energy and ICT technologies. In addition, the firm fully understands the thought of utilities: They seek stable, safe, and reliable products rather than innovative designs and technologies that are usually seen in the consumer electronics market. Utilities do not allow any lapse that requires a restart of the system. Compared to firms who have yet to work with power companies, Tatung understands what the utilities look for. I.P. Chen indicated that Tatung will not limit itself to Taiwan market as the firm plans to enter the international market. However, I.P. Chen added that the challenge of entering the international market is that in order to win the trust of international utilities, Tatung needs to grow the numbers of customers and installed equipment, and achieve successful commercial runs for the systems.

Therefore, Tatung has been cooperating with the government on projects, such as the establishment of micro gridon the Taiping Islands (or said Itu Aba Island) and setting up a smart micro grid demonstration site in low-carbon Pingtung Island. The firm hopes to gain more experience and recognition from these projects to advance into the international market.

The benefits of micro grid, according to I.P. Chen, can be actualized by combining energy management and energy storage systems with the grids. This can effectively lower Taiwan's reliance on fossil fuel and solve the problem of intermittent power supply from renewable energy. Whether or not the benefits can materialize relies heavily on the smart management system's ability to provide good load and generation forecastings enabling the making of an efficient schedule for the battery's charging and discharging. This will effectively increase the penetration of renewable energy being connected to the existing power grid.

W.L. Chen concluded that Taiwan cannot expand and establish thermal and nuclear power plants endlessly, so the government and industries have been searching for the ways to increase the penetration of renewable energy in the existing power grid. Micro grid, which adopts ICT technology as a tool is undoubtedly the best solution to reaching this goal of energy utilization.

Tatung has experience in providing and constructing power systems from generation, transmission, distribution to power consumption. The firm also has rich ICT software development and system integration experiences, which is crucial to developing micro grid solutions. From left to right: W.L. Chen, general manager, I.P. Chen, director, and Philip Wang, project manager of Tatung's Smart Grid BU, Sales Dept.