Clean renewable energy power grid and off-grid developments

Substantial new investments have and still have to be made in many emerging economies and developed countries globally to upgrade their national power electricity grids so that these can better accommodate the variable clean renewable energy supplies. Good country examples included the modification and expansion of the national electricity grids in leading emerging economies and developing countries, including India, China and Jordan, so as to enable them to better transmit the rising variable renewable power supplies generated in these countries. These major new investments in grid improvements together with reforms in their national power markets have been essential to better utilise their newly installed clean renewable energy supplies.

The developments of new technological innovations for off-grid clean renewable energy power supplies will be very important for more than one billion

Clean renewable energy growth management 15 people worldwide, who currently do not have easy access to electricity supplies. Most of these people are living in remote rural communities in the emerging economies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. New clean renewable power generation systems integrated with power storage and new advanced digital distributed power off-grid energy management systems appear to be attractive. These new advanced systems could help to offer new cost-competitive power supply options for these people, especially those living in rural areas far away from the national grids in their countries. Many countries have been considering these new cost-effective options to provide electricity access for their remote villages and rural communities. A good example is that the number of off-grid solar PV power generation systems integrated with power storage and decentralised power distribution systems has been increasing rapidly in many rural communities in developing economies in Asia and Africa. Multilateral and bilateral financing institutions globally have also been providing ethnical impact investment funds to enable accelerated deployment of these renewable energy projects (Wang, FT Asia Climate Finance Summit, 2018).

Globally in both emerging economies and developed countries, there have been expanded applications of new decentralised electricity mini-grids, together with clean renewable power supplies. These have been driven in part by the strong desire to improve the reliability of power supply in the face of rising numbers of extreme weather events, which have been occurring more frequently due to climate change. These included hurricanes, typhoons, flooding, etc., which have often caused more frequent power cuts. So many leading companies, especially those in the IT, digital and data service sectors, have decided to make major new investments in their own secured renewable power generation and storage systems. A good business example is that the leading IT and data companies in the United States and other developed countries have been investing heavily in their own electricity mini-grids together with stand-alone power generation and storage capacities. These have also resulted in a rising number of interconnections of these new local mini-grids with regional or national electricity grids in many developed countries. In a rising number of developing countries, renewable power mini-grid systems have also been applied. These are also helping to meet the important UN goal of providing electricity access for all, especially for remote villages and rural communities (UNFCCC, Distributed renewable power generation and integration, 2015).

Looking ahead, there are also some ambitious plans to consider interconnecting existing national electricity grids across different countries so as to build up some “super-grids” across key regions. These plans are still in very early stages of consideration. There are also many technical, commercial, controls and political hurdles to overcome. Good regional examples included the potential new future super-grids being discussed for Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Many of these potential new super-grids should help to advance the integration of renewable energy supplies across countries and continents. These should then help to promote clean renewable energy growth and applications plus improved international power security across different countries globally.

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