The second stage of the Smart Grid Test Bed is being actively carried out. The first stage consisted of early infrastructure construction led by the government, whereas the second stage focuses on communications with consumers in order to apply the technology to the realities of life. When technology and services developed during the test bed period are used by consumers, they are expected to contribute to preventing blackouts and the more intelligent use of electric power.
Its first project Juju Test Bed is a project to supply smart grid facilities to 6,000 households in the Gujwa-eup area and other parts of Jeju City. The first stage was implemented from December 2009 to May 2011, while the second stage will be conducted from June 2011 to May 2013.
The project has five sectors -- Smart Place, Smart Transport, Smart Renewable, Smart Power Grid and Smart Electricity Service. The project will involve 12 consortiums consisting of smart grid-related companies, such as those involved in electric power, telecommunications, automobiles and electric home appliances.
KEPCO is Leading the Test Bed Project
The leading company in the test bed project is none other than KEPCO. KEPCO is taking part in all five sectors of the project with a total investment of 97.2 billion won (20 billion, followed by 38.5 billion won from the government and 38.7 billion won from other participating companies. KEPCO has been carrying out systematic R&D activities on core smart grid technology, together with the construction of various test bed environments regarding the foundation of excellent domestic electric power technologies in order to manage electric power networks and information and communication technology.
With the goal of taking the lead in low-carbon green growth and becoming a global top green and smart energy pioneer, the company is devoted to developing smart grid technology and developing smart grid technology into a national export item. Hitting its stride in the test bed project, KEPCO has laid the foundation for the early commercialization of smart grid technology and developing it into an export item.
Harnessing such know-how, KEPCO announced that it will turn Gapa Island in Jeju Province into a “carbon-free island.” Heo Yeop, head of the Test Bed Business Division at KEPCO, held a ceremony for the “Second Smart Grid Day” at the Jeju Smart Grid Information Center and signed an agreement to build a carbon-free island with Jeju Province on November 1.
The power system for Gapa Island is not connected to the mainland. Power generation facilities, most of which are diesel power generators, supply electric power to approximately 200 households in accordance with the Act on Promoting Supply of Power to Agricultural and Fishery Areas on Gapa Island. The Carbon-Free Island project is to build a carbon-free island that only uses new and renewable energy by utilizing smart grid technology. The project will be carried out in the sectors such as electric power, automobile, life of the residents and vitalization of local economy. To this end, KEPCO will build the relevant infrastructure by August, 2012 and use it as a visit course for the 2012 WCC (World Conservation Congress).
KEPCO will build an electric power supply system that replaces diesel power generator-based electric power with new and renewable energy and power storage devices. During the process, the company is planning to implement an intelligent power distribution system through the use of smart grid technology. In addition, the company will build a system that maximizes energy efficiency by applying smart meters and home smart devices. KEPCO will apply a 100% new and renewable energy-based power supply system, independent from separated from the one of land, on the foundation of its experience in the Jeju smart grid test bed project and technological power. Due to the independent system, the company will optimize power distribution systems for islands. In addition, the company is planning to export the power supply system to nations and regions with poor electric power distribution systems.
KPX actively engaging in the second stage project
KPX is also actively engaging in the second stage project, participating in the Smart Electricity Service sector. “The main point of the second stage project is to review the possibility of expanding basic districts and later, covering the entire nation by analyzing the results of the first-stage project,” said Chae Yeong-jin, a manager of the Smart Grid Team at KPX. “When the possibility is finalized, we will need support from the government.” That is to say, the focus of the second stage project is to check whether or not any negative side-effects occur and to secure a footing to help private companies make a foray into the sector.
The KPX opened the TOC (Total Operation Center), which will play the role of the brain for the Jeju Smart Grid Test Bed, with a view to beginning the second-stage project on June 1. The center can be called “a general control center” for the Juju test bed. The center gathers electric power information regarding each household and delivers charges in real time.
Accordingly, existing electricity business operators, companies participating in the test bed consortiums, new and renewable energy generation companies and consumers in Jeju Province, can trade electric power by participating in the electric power market. People will charge their electric cars with electric power generated through sources of new and renewable energy, such as solar energy and wind power. In addition, consumers will be able to use electric power by selecting a time slot when electricity is cheap.
The Total Operation Center has a smartboard which shows the operation of the systems for the test bed. The board shows various data collected in real time, such as the status of power distribution systems, the volume of power generated through new and renewable energy, and the operation of electric cars.
One of the key functions of the operation center is the offering of real-time price information through an interactive bidding system which features not only power generation volume but also the resources of those who need power. Each consortium participating in the test bed project bids the amount of its purchase after predicting consumer power usage and delivers price information to each household.
If demand is strong, charges will rise. Consumers are able to decide when to use electric power while checking real-time price information. With the electricity market following consumers in this way, it is possible to disperse demand. When a response-based electric power market is activated, various electric rate systems can be developed for customers, just like the mobile phone service charging system.
It will be possible for people to trade electric power by using new and renewable energy power generators and electric cars. The KPX expects the emergence of “prosumers,” who actively use and sell electric power. In addition, the KPX expects that there will be a base for expanding new and renewable energy power generators and dispersed power generators, resulting in numerous power sources for those who need electric power, as well as decreasing the investment needed for power generation facilities.