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Agile Energy Systems: Central Grid and On-Site Distributed Power Together

By: , Posted on: August 13, 2017

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Governments on all levels (UN, Nations, States and Cities) and their utilities (central grid and on-site power) are promoting energy conservation, efficiency and “green power development”, which involves new appliance standards, systems, codes and renewable energy on-site power along with financial incentives and educational programs. Typical programs include rebates for the purchase of energy- efficient products, energy auditing services, solar, wind and geothermal power, along with incentives for upgrading the operational efficiency of buildings, processing plants, and other facilities to make them “smart” and “green”.

Countries around the world have already started to enact and monitor such programs that encourage the purchase and use of new high-performance homes, and others that provide design and engineering support for qualifying business and home buildings. Case in point is the LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design) program created in the USA during the 1990s and now become global, including China, Japan, S. Korea and throughout the EU as noted in Smart Green Cities (Clark 2016) and especially the focus on sustainability in The Green Industrial Revolution (GIR INSERT Link here of that book), where renewable energy is combined with central and on-site power systems known as “agile energy systems” (AES) by Clark and Bradshaw in 2004 that focused upon California, but now with a global update in 2017.

These AES systems are critical plans and methods to optimize the on-site and central grid distribution of power resources in order to ensure the safety, reliability and economical efficiency of electric renewable power supply.

As California experienced a major problem from “de-regulation” of the central power grids in the late 1990s that caused brown outs around the State at the turn of the 21st Century, agile energy system grids (both central and on-site energy systems) became needed to be implemented sooner than later.

Example of an Agile Energy System

Then and now what was really needed are integrated or ‘mixed’ power generation systems such as energy units for homes, shopping malls, hospitals, government buildings, educational institutions and even government complexes which could build their own distributed on-site renewable energy generation systems. At the same time, the central power grid offers centralized power for backup and even “storage” when the wind and sun are not available, as an addition for all on-site units to balance and redistribution systems.

In America and Europe, the construction of smart power grids, are more a focus on the local community field of power distribution. The ultimate vision is to build intelligent communities such as cities, regions, states and nations that are both on-site distribution and central power systems. Some planners and experts are also seeing these energy integrated into a “global energy system”. More precisely, optical fiber composite cable network or power line carrier communication technologies need to be adopted, for the entire community. It improves the ultimate power using efficiency by systematic thinking which includes the collection of power using information, automation of community power distribution and the technology of intelligent housing and building complexes.

Furthermore, these monitors, analyzes and controls of the power equipment are for the users and public electricity facilities. In China, the concept of the smart power grid is becoming acknowledged and starting to be implemented. There as in most nations, the power production and needs remain the key problem due to the serious need to replace fossil fuels which cause climate problems and greenhouse gases, hence the need to have a balance of on-site power and central grid for their nation’s geographical distribution.

China’s smart power grid needs more attention on the field of electric transmission, as well as involving the “green development” of the power grid to reduce pollution on all levels while ensuring safety, reliability and stability of power grid for all communities and cities. In many ways, China is leading new global energy programs which other nations such at the G19 plus the UN itself will be able to use and model themselves in their states, regions and cities.


For limited time, you can download a free chapter on “The End of the Fossil Fuel Industrial Revolutions: The Case of California in the United States” from Agile Energy System, 2nd edition by Woodrow Clark.

agile energy systems

Recommend the full book on ScienceDirect to your librarian, or visit elsevier.com  to buy the book in print. Enter discount code STC317 at checkout and save up to 30%!

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Renewable energy technology and science are rapidly evolving as demand for alternative energy increases worldwide, with far-reaching implications for global economies, public policy, industrial development, and the environment. The vital research being done in these areas is reflected in Elsevier’s journals, books, eBooks, and information solutions. Our products cover fundamental scientific and technological advances in solar, wind, power transmission, smart grids, and more, with a focus on improving energy efficiency and output among key sectors.

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