Renewable energy sources tend to be intermittent and fluctuate according to the weather conditions, such as the amount of sunshine or how strong the wind is on any given day. Passing clouds and wind gusts can cause spikes in energy production. Despite this, renewable energy production is on a huge upward curve. This is especially true for solar and wind energy.
As limited fossil fuels supplies are being depleted and the public’s concern for greenhouse gas emissions rise, more industries, communities, and private citizens are starting to turn to renewable energy sources to supplement their energy need, but switching to renewable energy brings its own set of challenges.
The instability of renewable energy production can lead to power frequency disturbances such as voltage sag and swells, unexpected power supply failures, electronic communication interferences, and the need for oversized installations to cope with the electrical stress. Poor power quality can impact country-wide grids as well as private homes and commercial facilities, leading to an increased need of maintenance. In some cases, the fluctuations in power can even damage or destroy equipment, machinery, and production lines.
The financial losses caused by these issues are significant. In the EU-25 area alone, financial losses amount to 150 billion euros yearly. As the four biggest producers of renewable energy, China, the United States, Canada and Brazil are dealing with even larger losses.
Fortunately, many of these challenges are being addressed by the advanced Skeleton Technologies' ultracapacitors, which provide the solution for many issues, such as levelling the electrical power load and providing fill-in power when renewables are temporarily underperforming (e.g., sun behind the clouds, wind speed drops), and storing energy during the optimal renewable conditions (e.g., bright sunshine, wind gusts) for later use.
New technologies are aimed at designing smart grids and “demand response", which includes systems that monitor and adapt to meet the demand level and total energy consumption. These systems incorporate ultracapacitors to reduce the strain on the power grid and charge uninterrupted power systems (UPS) for periods when customer demands temporarily surge.