Tomorrow's Power Play

Dutch researchers from the Technical University Eindhoven have developed three scenarios which would enable the country transform its electricity grid into something similar to the internet by year 2050.

Jos meeuwsen has said that the increasing demand for electricity will require a shift from present 'supply meets demands' scenario, under which circumstances it might become necessary to develop a grid that exhibits many similarities with the internet.

A step-by-step integration of energy technology, ICT and power electronics will allow everyone connected to the system to, within certain limits, upload and download packages of "electrical energy" whenever required.

An important condition would, however be to ensure the technical feasibility of the centralised and/ or decentralised storage of large amounts of electricity.

Meeuwsen said his three different scenarios for the future of the electricity grid differed mainly in the size of the electricity generation facilities.

While the scenario "super networks" would consist of large-scale production locations, transportation via high voltages, a considerable import of sustainable energy (in the form of biomass) and energy from offshore wind farms, the "hybrid networks" would include large plants with high voltages that originate from offshore wind parks and large biomass stations.

Additionally, small-scale electricity generation would take place in and around cities and villages (wind, biomass and solar energy).

Lastly, the "local scenario" the number of local generators (in the form of micro-cogeneration units, solar energy panels, small-scale biomass plants at neighborhood level and land-based wind turbines) would be the greatest in number.

Large industrial processes and small consumers would, nevertheless, make part use of electricity from large-scale production resources, he said