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The Power Forward Challenge

March 29, 2022

The Power Forward Smart Grid Innovation Challenge

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StorTera partnered with Equilibrium Engineering in Nova Scotia, Canada to deliver their A.I. enabled Smart Grid as part of The Power Forward Challenge. Several international consortiums have been competing since 2019 for a $1M award, to be announced 2022. Winner update here .


As we near the end of this 3 year project we are delighted to share our findings and reports on this innovative challenge.


CASE STUDY & PROJECT SUMMARY

PROBLEM STATEMENT


The potential benefits of smart grids are known; however, projects typically prioritise the needs of either the grid utility or the consumer. This approach limits their rapid deployment as the high capital costs must be supported by government intervention or significant price increases for consumers. Aside from being economically unsustainable, projects often fail to optimise
renewables for all stakeholders, enable rapid electrification, or address local air quality issues.

A lack of consumer engagement means that they don’t see tangible benefits for energy price increases, and the challenge of behavioural change in tackling the climate emergency remains unresolved. Affordable and clean electrification of heat is a significant challenge when oil and gas are cheaper than electricity and renewable energy is intermittent.


OUR SOLUTION

The Alba Nova team has taken a revolutionary approach by developing a highly flexible smart grid that focuses on the needs of the consumer first and leverages benefits for the grid. This has been achieved by electrifying heating, adding renewable generation with smart residential and commercial energy storage, converting electrical loads to flexible loads, and introducing innovative systems for the grid to absorb more renewable energy.





ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE


The solution is enabled by our key innovation, an energy storage platform called the TRAICON ( tri-layer artificial intelligence controller). The TRAICON utilises neural network-based machine learning to analyse large datasets, monitor, optimise and proactively control all the connected assets. The project also demonstrates an innovative financing mechanism to reduce the upfront costs of the smart grid, making it possible to scale this solution more rapidly.


Our approach requires effective engagement with stakeholders, a deep understanding of the local grid requirements, renewable energy generation, energy usage and weather predictions. We optimise overall performance for both the consumer and the utility using accurate prediction algorithms and analysis of numerous high resolution data streams.

COMMERCIAL , RESIDENTIAL & UTILITY

We have designed and integrated a wide range of hardware, software and controls to the Berwick grid comprising ten residential and two commercial installations. In total they provide 525kW of dispatchable power for over 2 hours with up to 600kW of controllable loads. We have modelled and tested several operational strategies to assess their benefits and determine the optimum control strategy for the Town of Berwick. This cost-efficient solution can be replicated worldwide.

DOWNLOAD AND READ OUR PROJECT REPORT


More info on our contributions to the Power Forward Challenge on our project partners website www.Equilibrium Engineering.ca