Making renewables smarter

While an era of abundant renewable energy lies ahead of us, multiples actions are needed to move towards a cleaner, more electrified world. Larger flows of renewable energy, digitalization and the electrification of transport, industry and households make power networks more complex. To ensure a reliable electricity supply, we are helping the energy industry and large energy users manage the complexity of this fast-changing environment.

New players

Renewable energy sources are no longer expensive alternatives to fossil fuel power generation. Renewables are becoming more competitive as a result of the decreasing cost of generating electricity from them. At the same time, there is increasing political and business pressure to transfer to cleaner energy sources. 

Although the cost of investing in renewable assets is decreasing, the extent of the growth in their usage needed to meet climate policy goals means that financing requirements will continue to increase. Financiers, however, are relatively new players in a renewable energy market based on complex technologies and variable generation capacity. 

We help our customers to understand the technical aspects and implications of renewable power plant investments, whether they concern a new project, a stock swap, or the acquisition of assets by performing due diligences to mitigate a project’s financial risks. In parallel, we review and test new technologies relating to generation, storage and transmission & distribution. 

In 2017, we updated our global GRIDSTOR recommended practice for energy storage and further developed our solar irradiance database Sunspot. We also launched the 2017 edition of our solar module reliability scorecard and created Navigator for geothermal projects.

A bright future for renewables

In its 2017 Energy Transition Outlook report, DNV GL predicts that solar photovoltaic (PV), onshore wind, hydropower, and offshore wind, in that order, will account for 85% of global electricity production in 2050. The installed wind power capacity will reach 9000 GW in 2050, and the offshore wind capacity in China and the US will outstrip that of Europe in the 2020s. 

Cost competitiveness is driving intense efforts across the industry to reduce the levelized cost of energy for wind and introduce new technologies. One of the findings in the subsequent report ‘Certification for the wind energy of tomorrow’ suggested that certification by DNV GL could add more value if it continued to deepen the technical insight into the design, in-service or lifetime-extension phase. DNV GL is taking these valuable messages from the industry seriously by developing and adapting the certification schemes, including shop approval certification at the manufacturer’s facilities.

Digitalization of the energy system

As the renewables industry matures, there is constant pressure to reduce costs and increase revenue. There is little room for downtime and under-performance is no longer tolerated. Our wind energy customers’ challenges are to actively manage turbine performance and reduce downtime whilst simultaneously decreasing maintenance costs and extending the life of assets beyond their original design life. 

We developed WindGEMINI as a digital twin which models different aspects of an operating wind turbine. It uses a range of innovative algorithms and physics-based simulation models to analyse the vast amounts of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) data and provide prognostic analytics and remaining-life estimates. 

Our services add value in the field of monitoring and managing solar PV and wind assets producing 14 gigawatts of installed power at 2,300 facilities in 51 countries. In addition, we offer integrated tools for financial, operational and maintenance management. 

We also launched an upgraded Smart Cable Guard 2.0, which is a data-driven online monitoring solution that locates weak spots and faults in power cables within minutes, avoiding costly repairs and downtime in power supply.

A lifetime in high-voltage testing

In 2017, we officially opened our upgraded ‘Queen Máxima High-Power Laboratory’ in Arnhem, the Netherlands. This newly extended KEMA test laboratory is the world’s first and only facility capable of testing power transformers up to 800 kV and switchgear up to 1200 kV. 

The new laboratory will help the power industry successfully transition to so-called ‘super grids’ to meet the rapidly growing demand for sustainable electricity and the transportation of power over long distances. 

In the field of high-voltage direct current (HVDC), we have conducted the first type test of a 320 kV cable system at our laboratories. No technical standards for HVDC switchgear currently exist. 

We chair the EU R&D programme PROMOTioN, we are committed to demonstrating the testing of HVDC circuit breakers using our existing AC short-circuit generators. The project outcomes will pave the way for the standardization of DC switchgear testing, with an eye on the development of HVDC offshore grids.

Cyber security of critical energy infrastructure

The electricity grid is a critical infrastructure providing essential services for the smooth functioning of modern society and serves as the backbone for economic activities. A smarter energy system can perform generation, grid-management and market-related tasks with better precision and faster response times than a human-dependent system, but is more vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

New technologies introduce intelligent components that communicate in more advanced ways. Utilities, independent power producers and system operators need to be able to proactively address cyber-security related concerns to ensure their systems are immune from attack. 

Our risk-based advisory and testing services bridge the gap between information technology and operational technology to enable operators of critical infrastructures to be prepared for and protected against cyber threats. We support our customers with SCADA implementation and upgrade projects, development of smart grids and smart meter testing, cyber vulnerability assessments and NERC compliance.

Energy management and energy efficiency

A sustainable energy economy requires major commitments to both energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. Implementing energy efficiency and energy conservation measures is highly cost effective. Besides investing in renewables, these topics are the core of policy debates over climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Our B-READY building resilience assessment tool translates climate-related risks into building-specific resilience strategies. Global enterprises wish to be 100% renewable, like Google which has powered its data centres and the offices for its 60,000 staff entirely by renewable energy since 2017. 

In the US, we run several energy efficiency programmes, like the one for ComEd in Illinois. We also received the ‘Supplier of the Year Award‘ from the Arizona Public Service Company after achieving energy efficiency savings and customer satisfaction goals. 

In Europe, our energy management services are mainly focused on changing the energy culture and performing energy audits. We help customers to reduce their organization’s energy consumption through a change in their operational excellence culture.

Sustainable solutions

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Wind energy

We launched the digital twin tool WindGEMINI and the upgraded WindFarmer: Analyst.

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Solar energy

We published the PV module scorecard 2017 and increased the power monitored by DNV GL owned Green Power Monitor from 6 to 14 GW, meanwhile integrating the solar and wind monitoring tools.

Energy management

To achieve sustainable buildings and communities, we have developed the B-READY building resilience assessment tool.

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