Smart grids are expected to enable high penetration levels of renewables whilst maintaining grid stability and reliability. Among other benefits, smart grid technology has the advantage of automation and extensive systems performance information, which can enable self-diagnosis and repair in the event of a failure.
Dr. Chen Yen Haw, Deputy Director of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, observed: “Smart Grid is the key component required to integrate the value chain between Green Energy and traditional energy”.
Emerging smart grid technology is being rolled out in partnership with the state utility the Taiwan Power Company (TPC). As technologies reach maturity they are initially trialed at TPC’s research campus before large-scale installation.
Among the existing smart grid demonstration projects are microgrid installations on the Taiwanese islands of Dong-Ji and Tai-Ping. In island and remote locations smart grid technology is particularly important for reliable power supplies. Taiwan and other countries in the region can be affected by typhoons where high wind speeds can bring down transmission and distribution lines, leaving communities without power for periods of a week or more.
Taiwan’s diverse smart grid strategy falls under phase II of the country’s National Energy Program which includes the development of energy policy guidelines and a planning and implementation program for smart grid roll out.
In addition, Taiwan hopes to establish partnerships with international stakeholders to explore elements such as smart metering and consumer energy management, transmission, distribution and microgrid systems and the emergence of virtual power plants which can bring together the various elements of the smart grid story to deliver appropriate energy capacity.
The Taiwan Smart Grid Industry Association was established back in 2009 to facilitate the development of the smart grid industry in the country. In a recent report the association noted that sales of smart grid products in Taiwan are growing at a compound annual rate of more than 51% and is already worth above US$500 million a year.