Increased use of renewable energy is imperative for businesses, communities and individuals around the globe. But when it comes to large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, reliability has traditionally been the biggest factor limiting wider adoption. For societies that depend on power every moment of every day, reliability is quite simply non-negotiable.
With powerful software and our automation portfolio, we see a future where renewable and reliable power is realized at scale. It starts with a reimagining of the power plant – transforming the single-source, physical plants of the past into “virtual power plants” that aggregate multiple smaller power resources (called distributed energy resources, or DERs) and shift power generation among them in real time to deliver the highest levels of reliability. Imagine a virtual plant that combines wind, solar, hydro, biomass and other clean energy sources, using these renewable sources when available and switching to backup natural gas or other traditional resources when needed.
At Emerson, we are making that vision a reality for our company and customers. We recently announced our commitment to Net Zero and joined RE100, a global initiative bringing together businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. At the same time, we’re providing the solutions our customers need to generate renewable, reliable power and achieve their own sustainability and business goals.
Take, for example, the Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) from Emerson’s AspenTech subsidiary. This advanced software enables the “virtual power plant” by managing renewable energy sources in real time, forecasting availability among distributed energy resources (DERs) and economically optimizing power generation to safely and smartly provide reliable power to the grid. The software is currently operational and being deployed at several major North American utilities, empowering active management of DERs to enable increased, reliable use of renewable energy in the years ahead.
Of course, the shift toward “virtual power plants” also creates a new environment for operators to manage, accelerating the trend toward integrated, remote operations centers, as opposed to plant-by-plant management. Centralized operations make it more efficient to manage disparate energy sources across large geographic regions.
AspenTech’s digital grid software platform helps operators manage multiple plants and energy resources in one location – allowing them to optimize performance, maintain operations and support grid stability. As Emerson works with major energy providers globally to remotely centralize operations of geographically dispersed renewable energy sources, our innovative platform can help them securely connect hundreds of sources into one center.
Combined with five decades of power expertise embedded into Emerson’s Ovation™ distributed control system, companies can put a reliable, innovative power platform to work while protecting plant reliability and bringing more renewable energy sources onto the grid.
And this is just the beginning. With centralized management and solutions like DERMS, renewable energy sources will become increasingly more automated, boosting the efficiency of a wide range of sources, from wind, solar and hydro to biomass and energy storage. As we effectively marshal the resources of a wider and wider array of renewables, we see an opportunity to meet the imperative to deliver reliable and affordable renewable energy.