By Ngozi Okpalakunne
As part of efforts to ensure constant energy supply in the country, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) held a one-day webinar where they trained over a hundred engineers on sustainable energy trend recently.
President, APWEN, Funmilola Ojelade who spoke at the webinar said the event, which came under the theme “Peer-to-peer energy trading and sharing: A concept whose time has come” had participants from across the globe.
Ojelade also explained that the webinar was part of their “Light up Nigeria webinar series, adding that the training was ideal as a constant energy supply in the country remains the key to national development.
“Electricity is one thing we know that if Nigeria can get right, our economy will experience a boost because businesses will be better positioned to make profits,” she added.
Speaking on the theme of the webinar, “Peer-to-peer energy trading and sharing: A concept whose time has come”, Bamidele Adebisi, a professor at the Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom reviewed the evolution of electricity from the 19th century until date and added that the global energy industry was progressively transitioning from unsustainable energy systems toward energy sustainability.
Adebisi added that in the 19th century, the focus was on the electrification of the society with generation and load closely coordinated ‘age of coal’ generation of electrical energy which according to him, was intensified in the early 20th century.
He also observed that towards the end of the 20th century, there was a paradigm shift in the energy system due to demographic changes, scare resources and climate change awareness.
Enumerating motivation behind the 21st-century energy system, the Professor said it includes; decarbonisation, digitisation and decentralisation agenda which he said aimed to balance energy demand and supply without impacting the quality of life.
In his words: “This ‘new electricity age’ will feature electricity as the energy source with a power grid as the backbone; a combination of centralized and decentralized generation approaches; increase the percentage of renewable energy sources; and power grids monitored, controlled and managed using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)”.
Describing Peer- to- Peer Energy (P2P) Trading as a type of trans active energy concept, he explained that the idea behind it was to enable trading and sharing of energy improving access to low-cost renewable energy while ensuring security of supply.
According to him, P2P energy platform will make energy systems to be distributed, autonomous and self-organizing.
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Highlighting some of the challenges of P2P energy trading and sharing, he said they include coordination and control of large influx of distributed energy resources and electric vehicles, alignment of technical and market arrangements with diverse social requirements,
Others are; flexibility matching of resources, maximizing utilities and distributed energy dispatch.
Some of these challenges, he said were addressed in a recent project funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) “P2P trading and sharing
Another research project that he discussed with the participants was the Nigerian Intelligent Clean Energy (NICE) Market Place project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).
“NICE aims to pilot P2P energy trading and sharing in Abuja, Nigeria with school buildings and a local community as consumers. The energy system involves solar PV, energy storage, energy monitoring, predictive analysis, machine learning, intelligent system, power grid and power distribution”, he added.
On his research project tagged,” CityVerve funded by the UK government funding agency to demonstrate applications of Internet of Things (IoTs) in a smart city, he said: “This was successfully demonstrated along Oxford Road in Manchester, UK.
“CityVerve project was designed to increase bus patronage, ensure personal safety at bus stops, curb anti-social behaviour, provide IoT- enabled bike riding schemes, create an intelligent dynamic lightning network for street lights and other campus lighting, achieve energy efficiency in buildings, ensure smart use of building spaces, and achieve energy and storage and management”.
He also shared his experience on the just concluded Triangulum, a European funded project which delivered energy optimization within buildings, mobility in electric vehicles cargo bikes, central power control, and smart microgrid in Birley campus of Manchester Met University.
At the end of the webinar, participants raised questions that bother on the willingness to pay for services, policies and regulations, interoperability of smart energy systems with existing energy infrastructures, affordability in poor household settings among others.