Assessing the Potential Benefits of Smart Grid on Energy Management Systems at Distribution Side in Egypt: A Prototype

This research project aims at tackling the problems of the current power grid in Egypt through utilizing smart grid capabilities. A smart grid is an integration of electric power grid with bidirectional communication network system as it integrates three major subsystems: the smart infrastructure subsystem, the smart management subsystem, and the smart protection subsystem. The smart grid research has gained significant attention in the past few years. However, most of the previous studies have been of theoretical nature with no validation of their theoretical results in practical environments. Some researchers have resorted to Testbeds and prototypes to address this research gap. However, those prototypes are customized to each country conditions and most of them are too small to draw concrete conclusions regarding their applicability for national-wide scale or other countries with different conditions. Limited research has been found in literature for the potential impact of smart grid in Egypt. The available research was devoted to prototype smart grid on the transmission side of Egypt’s power grid. Accordingly, the applicability of smart grids in distribution side in Egypt needs to be evaluated before adopting any ad-hoc policy from other research conducted in other countries. In addition, we found several research gaps in the literature regarding the capability of the smart grid in the demand side management and energy efficiency improvement.

Therefore, the objective of this project is to assess the potential of smart grid on energy management system at the distribution side in Egypt. In particular, we aim to propose and evaluate the potential impact of incentive schemes and load scheduling programs to control load profile. In addition, we propose to utilize smart grid capabilities to improve the power factor. We assess the potential of integrating the solar energy sources with the power grid and its impact on power factor and load management.

The methodology to achieve the above-mentioned objectives consists of two stages. First, we will develop a Smart Grid prototype at a University). This prototype will include sensors and actuator nodes to collect data and control electric devices. Second, we will attempt to test the available international practices for energy management through utilizing the capabilities of smart grid infrastructure.

The project is aligned with the context of Egypt Vision 2030 as smart grids reduce losses and promote the efficient use of energy. In addition, smart grids efficiently integrate renewable energy sources. Furthermore, the project helps our community as it would be a seed toward having a green campus. It also includes an establishment of a preliminary energy research lab in embedded systems, renewable energy and energy systems management. The lab is a seed for extended energy research lab at our university that can be used for supporting teaching and research activities. Last but not the least, different incentives and load scheduling schemes will be evaluated on the prototype and efficient schemes matched to our environment and culture would be available to Egypt Decision makers.

We will have four milestones during this project. Each milestone will be accomplished in six months' period. In the first milestone will include the design of the prototype and solar energy generation system. In addition, it we will Establish a Preliminary Energy Research Lab. The second milestone will include the prototype deployment. Technique on improving Power Factor will be tested in lab. In the third milestone, Mobile application will be deployed. The design of incentive policy schemes will be finished and tested on our prototype. Moreover, Load-Scheduling optimization in lab will be tested. In the fourth milestone, Cloud computing infrastructure will be deployed. In addition, Load-Scheduling optimization and power factor improvement techniques will be tested in our Campus-based prototype.

Up to our knowledge, the proposed prototype represents the first medium-size smart grid prototype at distribution side in Egypt. In addition, the project has original research contributions that can help to advance the knowledge in the domain of smart grid research. In particular, we have found several research gaps in the literature regarding the utilization of the smart grid capability in the demand side management and energy efficiency improvement. Therefore, we contribute to the smart grid research by developing new methods and approaches to improve power grid efficiency utilizing the smart grid capabilities. In particular, the project investigates the potential use of smart grids to improve the power factor at distribution side. Furthermore, demand side management approaches will be investigated within realistic prototype.

The project spans interdisciplinary research and areas of interests. In order to accomplish the project, it is needed to form an interdisciplinary team with high competency in the areas of communication and electronic systems, electric power systems, mathematical modeling and optimization, demand modeling and forecasting. The team members have experience matched to the project objectives. The team has expertise in embedded systems, IoT, wireless Communication, Cloud Computing, Parallel Programming, data modelling, forecasting, scheduling and optimization techniques, Artificial Intelligence techniques, power systems, and renewable energy system design and analysis.