Engineering & Mining Journal

MAR 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY MARCH 2019 • E&MJ 35 www.e-mj.com In countries that may have hundreds of remote communities and a large num- ber of off-grid mining operations, the intermittent nature and power fluctua- tions of RE sources, combined with low inertia of small isolated power systems, give rise to power quality and stability issues that require advanced dynamic load-generation balance control. In addi- tion, with multiple generation assets on a system, power dispatching becomes com- plicated. As NRCan, Canada's federal nat- ural resources agency pointed out, remote and isolated microgrids require a resilient real-time control system. Recognizing the need, consulting engineering compa- ny Hatch was awarded $2.22 million to develop a commercially viable controller that facilitates the integration of renew- able power and energy storage into remote microgrids while maximizing performance and maintaining system stability. Hatch, employing research performed at the University of Waterloo, designed and developed the Hatch Microgrid (HμGrid), described as a utility-grade controller. HμGrid incorporates modules for power system measurement, dynamic power shaping, supervisory control, opti- mal economic dispatch, as well as energy storage, generator limit, smart load and output management. When fluctuations occur in a pow- er grid, the first few seconds determine whether a blackout will occur. Last Au- gust, Siemens introduced what it calls "the missing link in the energy transi- tion" — its SVC Plus Frequency Stabiliz- er (FS). Siemens claims to be the world's first supplier to combine reactive power compensation capability with the use of so-called supercapacitors. Superca- pacitors' charging mode is electrostatic, which means that electrons are moved instead of molecules. As a result, they are charged and discharged much faster than storage batteries. According to the company, SVC Plus FS can feed the reactive power needed for stable grid operation in less than 50 mil- liseconds. At the same time, up to 200 MW of electric power stored in the super- capacitors can be transferred to the grid at full load. As a result, the voltage and frequency, and thus also the grid, remain stable. This automatic procedure is trig- gered whenever the voltage or frequency exceeds or drops below certain limits. This capability, said the company, is par- ticularly important in power grids that are exposed to volatile infeeds. For example, from increasingly more distributed and RE sources. Siemens buys the supercapacitors from Maxwell Technologies, and is responsible for managing the static var capacitors and supercapacitors, connecting to the grid, and integrating the system. It said SVC Plus FS takes up approximately two-thirds less space compared with a battery storage solution at reference power of 50 MW. And, while it's unlikely that any man- made mechanism will be capable of tam- ing the variability of wind and solar sourc- es, their predictability may be a different matter, thanks to advances in Artificial In- telligence (AI) technology. Deepmind, an AI research company owned by Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, recently

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