Offshore wind to float

In a recent article published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, the challenges for the future of off-shore wind were discussed, considering Spain as a case.

The need for floating structures is a clear cornerstone for the development of off-shore wind in countries like Spain, where swallow waters are not convenient or restricted.

The development of these technologies to a commercial level will bridge the difference from on-shore connected windpower and off-shore or off-grid generation. Energy harvesting as discussed in this post with multi-use offshore platforms can be envisioned as a next step.

Picture from Yarik Mishin on

Picture from Yarik Mishin on

Excluding the technological and environmental challenges, there are other hurdles.

As it is highlighted usually, the unstable regulatory framework causes a lack of interest for investment, specially if paired with complicated administrative procedures.

Publication: Superconducting Fault Current Limiter

Recently we got published an article on short circuit current limiting on Elevier’s Electric Power Systems Research, were I’m a co-author;

Cover image Electric Power Systems Research

“Performance analysis of a Superconducting Fault Current Limiter in a power distribution substation”, Volume 136, July 2016, Pages 89–99

Antonio Colmenar-Santos, , J.M. Pecharromán-Lázaro, Carlos de Palacio Rodríguez, Eduardo Collado-Fernández

The results of the research and pilot project for this technology are promising. The short circuit current limiting with a superconducting system (SFCL-Superconducting Fault Current Limiter) is an example of FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission System) for the Smart Grid. It allows a real-time response, that is an automatic reaction, reducing short circuit currents, thus avoiding damage to equipment. This enables a more meshed operation while the energy losses are kept low.

The paper presents the operational benefits and performance of an installed system in a distribution network. These benefits are translated into economic terms, with the goal of setting a target price for economic feasibility of such systems. While the difference between the economic target of 100 k€ and the cost of the real project is tenfold, it remains a trigger for market adoption. Moreover, it is likely that economies of scale and technology improvements drive the implementation cost down in the coming years.

The consequence of widespread use of SFCL would be more reliable and resilient distribution networks. We will see more of this coming, in the near future.

The complete article is available for some days on the link:

Publication: PV on water channels. Avoiding evaporation through power generation

We recently got published the following article on Elsevier’s Solar Energy:

Solar Energy  Water canal use for the implementation and efficiency optimization of photovoltaic facilities: Tajo-Segura transfer scenario

Solar Energy, Volume 126 , March 2016, Pages 168-194 A. Colmenar-Santos, Ángel Buendía, Carlos de Palacio, David Borge-Diez,tRczt1q

(Note: The article can be accessed for free for a short time!)

FI 2014:  3.469

You might want to have a look at the results… Sigue leyendo

Research article: Asessing Islanding Microgrids

The article we recently published, presents a method to assess the most appropriate microgrid configuration, depending on the costs of grid energy, renewable prices, storage, islanding conditions, etc:

Article Microgrids

Our definition of microgrid includes any network on household or building when including control, generation, storage or islanding capabilities. These microgrids must ask themselves what configuration is their best option, from full utility dependence to off-grid… The thing is: You ARE a microgrid, so what kind of microgrid is best for you to be?

Timer Plug off-grid TICTAC

Image from newkemall on

Actually, to turn every household and every residential, industrial or commercial building into a microgrid, with a Home – Building Energy Management system, with renewable generation (and storage) is the way of implementing the Smart Grid bottom-up and also Democratizing power generation.

It also pushes the system towards net-zero energy buildings which is the way forward pointed out by the EC, for example.

You also wonder what the Grid Independence Cycle is?

Read the article and take a look at Spain, where the menace for a toll on self-consumption and the fact that fixed costs are higher than variable costs may lead the system into the circle, with increasing partial or complete islanding (even with an additional toll, who knows) from the network.

Artículo sobre Electrónica de potencia y Smart Grids

Las aplicaciones de electrónica de potencia están presentes en todos los niveles de la red eléctrica, desde grandes instalaciones de generación o de transmisión eléctrica hasta en pequeños sistemas de baja tensión. Es interesante ver cómo ya la mayor parte de la energía que consumimos ha pasado por sistemas de electrónica de potencia, como inversores, convertidores, variadores, etc. Y dentro de poco será el total de la energía, especialmente si aumenta la generación renovable y el autoconsumo, que utiliza intensivamente electrónica de potencia.

Modulo IGBT Por: ArséniureDeGallium (2005) (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Modulo IGBT Por: ArséniureDeGallium (2005) (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Sobre este tema escribí un artículo en la revista Energética s. XXI, en el que planteo que conforme van utilizandose cada vez más estas soluciones, la red se vuelve más smart grid. Esto es así porque permiten mayor control, aumentan la eficiencia (i.e. con variadores), la calidad de red (i.e. con filtros activos), la flexibilidad (i.e. con SVCs), la fiabilidad (i.e. con convertidores de almacenamiento), la capacidad (i.e. con sistemas HVDC), y la sostenibilidad (i.e. con inversores solares). Menciono estos valores porque forman parte de las definiciones típicas de smart grid de fabricantes, reguladores y empresas de servicios.

Por tanto, el uso de electrónica de potencia hace más inteligente a la red y es por tanto una tecnología clave de las smart grids. Además, con ella no sólo se construye la smart grid “bottom-up” (como con las smart homes, que planteaba en este articulo anterior) sino simultaneamente en todos los niveles de la misma,

II Congreso Smart Grids, Madrid

Organizado por: Grupo Tecmared, Futured, AFME, Promovido por Eseficiencia y Esmartcity

Lugar y fecha: Ifema Madrid, 27-28 de Octubre 2014

Web del congreso:


Para este evento, presentaba desde ABB un artículo sobre rehabilitación energética orientada a tecnologías smartgrid. Tecnologías como el autoconsumo, los sistemas de automatización de edificios o los puestos de carga de vehículo eléctrico en parking de edificios de oficinas. Como ya he discutido anteriormente en el blog, la automatización de edificios es una de las mejores inversiones en smart grids. El ejemplo del edificio de ABB en Madrid, con estas tecnologías implementadas recientemente sirvió como muestra de los impactos positivos de eficiencia energética.

El artículo está colgado online en el siguiente link.

Building the Smart Grid bottom-up

I strongly support the democratization of energy, understood as the access to energy for all and the open participation of the people in the energy market, for example by generating energy for self-consumption or through energy cooperatives. (I already posted on this subject here)

I see energy independence is of less importance. Having energy inter-dependencies with other countries may be positive. As an example, electric grid interconnections, even if they meant energy dependence, are built for increased efficiency and optimized use of generation assets. Increasing the interconnection of France and Spain, would increase competition and efficiency, although it could lead to greater inter-dependence. How about islands interconnections? That makes them dependent on the mainland, but energy less costly, more reliable and allowing greater renewable penetration.

Democratization gives an additional momentum to any change, with this I mean, once some technology market is democratized, accessible to all, and each individual can invest in it, the speed of it’s implementation and development is exponential. An example that anyone can understand is the development of apps for mobile devices.

In the energy industry, the democratization of power generation is mainly due to solar power. Germany has built more than 30 GW of solar power plants, thanks to individuals and cooperatives, not concentrated by traditional big utilities and concentrated power plants, now more decentralized.

Ulm church bottom up (tallest church in the world, built by the citizens of Ulm), by Szeder László (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Ulm church bottom up (tallest church in the world, built by the citizens of Ulm), by Szeder László (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

On this subject I wrote an article for Energética s.XXI on their international publication July-August. Individuals not only can have important effects on the grid, they have also have the responsibility to act with sustainability and energy efficiency.

Smart grids have brought the prosumer, as part of a more democratized system where the consumer can also be a producer of energy and participate in the energy market. Building rehabilitation, making homes prosumer microgrids increases the efficiency, the reliability, the sustainability, the security of supply and is also has a very good return on investment. (An example I also wrote about is the V2H business case, part of these home microgrids)

A widespread implementation of smart homes as microgrids would build a smart grid, from the bottom up, from where the energy is consumed, but with effects on the whole grid and energy landscape.