Interview to Javier Reneses
“An active management of the electrical demand will bring more efficiency, which goes with a reduction of the exploitation costs and, consequently, of the final prices for the users”
We continue with the 2020 editorial line: challenges for the climate. This month we have dealt with a social challenge: how to adapt the demand to renewable generation. We have interviewed Javier Reneses, Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Research in Technology (IIT) at Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid.
Today, hourly electrical demand forecasts are very precise, can you explain to our readers how these forecasts are prepared?
These forecasts take into account historical patterns, together with temperature forecasts and working days of the different regions. From these variables, an hourly demand forecast is drawn up, using advanced statistical techniques such as time series, AI techniques or machine learning.
However, renewable generation forecasts are less reliable, well, not only the forecasts, but renewables themselves are very variable, what does this variability imply to a system with a high penetration of renewable generation?
It is true that renewable generation forecasts can have more mistakes, even though last years they have improved a lot and they have become more and more accurate. Anyway, these forecasts lose reliability in the long-term. I mean, there are more mistakes in forecasts for next week than in the ones for tomorrow.
It means that the generation mix must be flexible enough to, on one hand, absorb the variability of the renewable generation and, on the other, respond to possible mistakes in the forecast. Particularly, hydro plants —specially pumping— and combined cycle power plants. In a future, storage and demand management systems will take on this role.
What is demand management, then?
Electrical demand management refers to a group of strategies and measures that aim to get a more active participation of consumers in the market to increase the efficiency of the system. That is to say, it is about allowing consumers to react to the changes in the market, such as a sudden variation of renewable generation.
How can technology help in demand management? Could consumers use technologies to help them to adapt their energy consumption to renewable patterns?
Obviously, technology is basic to an efficient demand management. There are systems that can be installed at home or in businesses to make the consumption automatically react to the conditions of the system in the most ideal way. In particular, cooling, heating and AC systems allow some flexibility that will become more and more important with time.
Now, there are already prototypes that comprehensively apply these concepts to home automation apps. And, in a future, electrical vehicles and home energy storage systems will also provide consumers and the system in general with more demand management tools.
Finally, what social benefits could a good electrical demand management bring?
An active management of the electrical demand will bring more efficiency, which goes with a reduction of the exploitation costs and, consequently, of the final prices for the users. In the present context, when distributed resources —such as storage systems, renewable generation and electrical vehicles— are increasing, it is basic that users can respond to the economic signals in real time.
- IIT Comillas | Active demand management for a more efficient Europe
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Javier is an Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Research in Technology (IIT) at Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid. He also was a Visiting Scholar at the Berkeley Lab from September 2016 to August 2019. He has worked and lectured extensively on operation, planning and regulation of energy systems, and particularly on operation and planning of electricity markets, regulation of electric systems, tariff design and natural gas markets. He has been a consultant for governments, international institutions, industrial associations, and utilities in many countries on these topics.