Laura Sanchez 2017-07-25 17:51:46
In a theory known as musica universalis, the “harmony of the spheres,” Pythagoras proposed in the 5th century that the Sun, Moon, and planets emitted their own vibrational hum based on their orbital revolution. He and fellow scholars believed that mathematical relationships expressed “tones” of energy, which could be manifested in numbers, angles, shapes, and sounds. Music was number made audible. Therefore, Pythagoras wrote, the planets’ orbital rotations produced different sounds that, in concert, produced a symphonic effect. This harmony, he theorized, was the organizing force of the cosmos. In this issue of Distributed Energy we explore the coordination of diverse generation assets, energy storage technologies, and distribution architectures. We highlight the advances in equipment and software that facilitate distributed energy resource integration and management, producing harmony from disparate tones. As distributed energy resources are added like satellites to today’s energy cosmos, it becomes increasingly important that these interconnected systems, power sources, and software functionally complement one another. In this issue we look closely at diverse approaches to aligning energy resources in ways that optimize their function and support system efficiency. Contemporary building design offers us an up-close example of this. Advanced sensor technology allows today’s buildings to gather vast quantities of data, making them increasingly adaptable and aware of occupants’ needs. In “Intelligent Infrastructure” (page 10) we see that rather than trying to coordinate disjointed data streams and mismatched equipment, that today’s buildings are incorporating protocols, common languages, and built-in network technologies to streamline communication and unify data streams. In doing so, they are able to optimize building performance and support a harmonious infrastructural network. In “An Encouraging Outlook” (page 16) we observe the market surge of residential solar coupled with energy storage. The increasing user-friendliness of contemporary panels and energy storage enclosures in addition to supportive financing options make the technology increasingly accessible and applicable. Interface software and smart inverters have further streamlined integration and technology management, making it easier than ever to create a symphonic residential energy system. Portable generators are amidst a growth spurt of their own, it seems. Today’s models feature design modifications that make them ultra-adaptable. In “Reliability and Flexibility” (page 28) we look at a number of variable architectures afforded by generator technologies designed to dexterously parallel with other assets. In “Extending The Range” (page 36) we look at electric fleet vehicles—trash trucks, specifically—that combine regenerative braking systems, energy storage batteries, and onboard energy generation to provide clean, efficient power. Advanced software technology helps manage energy resources and coordinate operational functions to effectively reduce emissions as well as costs per mile. These vehicles clearly demonstrate the enhanced productivity of a synchronous power system. In “Cool Storage” (page 42) we learn about a landmark Southern California Edison project that uses off-peak ice-production to cool buildings. It has effectively reduced cooling energy usage, supported peak shaving, and has eliminated the need for the installation of an additional power substation to serve Orange County. This thermal energy project is an excellent example of well-orchestrated technologies achieving remarkable efficiency. Businesses today are integrating individual power outputs, coordinating diverse technologies, and unifying data streams in order to optimize their operations. They are producing their own musica universalis. In doing so, they are making our energy future more stable, resilient, and harmonious. What strategies does your organization use to manage its distributed energy resources? DE
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