There are several reasons for developing the smart grid right on the island. There are a lot of wind on the island, the geographical area is large enough to carry out a full-scale projects and the island already has a modern conventional distribution system. In a limited area that Gotland is it easier to examine how a large proportion of irregular wind power can be handled in the network, without the stability of the transfer is affected.
The Smart Grid Gotland project aims to ensure that a large proportion of wind power is integrated into the electricity grid while retaining or improving the power supply quality and allowing consumers to participate more actively in the energy market. Two major activities will therefore be carried out on Gotland in order to achieve these aims:
1. The existing electricity supply network between the Källunge and Bäcks substations will be upgraded to create a smart grid.
2. The project will carry out a market test across the whole of Gotland
So what actually is a smart grid? Smart grid is a term that is used increasingly often in today’s society in order to describe a complex concept that is not always easy to define in exact detail.
The Swedish Energy Agency’s website summarises the term as follows: the term “Smart Grid” is often used to refer to an electricity-based energy system that allows for the following aspects in a cost-efficient manner:
- Connection to large-scale and small-scale sources of renewable energy.
- More efficient control and regulation of components and systems for power generation and electricity grids.
- Adaptation of the electricity grid in order to integrate energy storage solutions and electric vehicles.
- Integration of technology for adjusting consumption based on the availability of electricity. For example, systems that can automatically regulate the usage of energy based on current prices and that provide information allowing active energy usage choices to be made by consumers.
The Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate (EI) describes the term as follows: “Intelligent networks, or smart electricity grids, refer to the combination of new technology, functionality and regulatory frameworks for the electricity market etc., which facilitate in a cost-effective manner the introduction and use of renewable sources of energy, lead to lower energy consumption, and contribute to reducing power loads at times of peak energy use, as well as creating opportunities for electricity consumers to take a more active role regarding energy consumption.”