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Changes coming to electricity grid?
October 18, 2018

Changes coming to electricity grid?

The electricity grid today is not sufficient for the future. The building sector is number one customer, therefore buildings professionals can help with transition to a new 21st century model for the electricity sector. In smart grid the buildings in 21st century become dynamic partners, instead of putting just passive loads on the grid.

Did you know these facts behind changes coming to the electricity grid?

In 2014, the world is inhabited by 7,2 billion and 53% live in cities. By 2050, the world population will increase to 9,7 billion and more than 66% are expected to live in cities. This will put strength on construction new buildings in large cities to accommodate the growth.

Today, 85% of world population has access to electricity now and 15% wants to have it. Buildings use 60% of electricity worldwide and in developed countries it is more than 70%. And by 2040, 33% of all vehicles will be electrical.

Today´s electricity grid: from generation via transmission to distribution!

Nowadays the electricity grid is based on generation, transmission and distribution. Traditionally, electricity is generated in large quantities by power plants remotely located and distributed to end customers, majority being commercial and residential buildings.  It is a fact that thermal generation stations (excluding solar) have about 30-40% efficiency. There can be up to 5% of transmission losses. Grid is structured as one-way flow – from generation via transmission to distribution to end customer.

Buildings represent more than 70% of the electricity grid load in developed countries. Grid loads from buildings differ by climate and season and can change rapidly because of weather or activities within the building, or both. Traditional model provides reliable generating capacity, and transmission and distribution systems must respond instantly to load changes and must meet the peak demand. There is no forecasting, just doing it. Because buildings and the grid “don´t talk”, but grid must meet building demands anyway.

Is a net zero energy building the answer?

A (net) zero energy building (nZEB) is an example of building design that is driven by societal values around energy efficiency and renewable energy. The design both responds to and puts stress on the current grid model.

Electricity is generated on site from renewable energy (solar photovoltaics) and energy can be stored using battery storage. When generated renewable or battery storage do not meet building loads, the grid fills the gap. When excess renewable energy is generated, it may be contributed to the grid.

nZEB design is a great way to promote the health and well-being of occupants, while maximizing energy efficiency and using renewables. High-performance, low-energy-use buildings are critical for our future. And nZEB and also other energy and environmental certification schemes for buildings will play an important role.

Read more about nZEB:

More information about electricity grid and future:

Read more interesting facts about “Building Our New Energy Future” at https://www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/About/Leadership/new_energy_future_web_061518.pdf