Reviewing homeostasis of sustainable energy systems: How reactive and predictive homeostasis can enable electric utilities to operate distributed generation as part of their power supply services
Córdova, Felisa M.
Rother, Hans C.
Reactive and Predictive Homeostasis
Sustainable Hybrid Energy Systems
Homeostatic control (HC) of electric power systems (EPS), particularly those that fall into the distributed generation (DG) category, can enable utilities to broaden their power supply services in line with industry changes worldwide while at the same time safeguarding their customers’ power supply against environmental challenges. Such solutions are being considered nowadays by industry giants like ENEL, by far the largest electric power utility operating in Chile. ENEL is seeking to tap into the DG market with a microgrid solution that can be installed in every building that is part of its customer base. In order to accomplish this, such DG solutions should first and foremost behave like sustainable energy systems (SES). For this they ought to emulate homeostasis mechanisms present in all living organisms. Both reactive homeostasis (RH) and predictive homeostasis (PH) enable living organisms to respond early and proactively to internal changes in the grid-tied DG system as well as to environmental challenges and threats. Particularly PH does so by foreseeing when these are most likely to occur, adjusting their energy intake and expenditure accordingly to maintain a stable, efficient and sustainable equilibrium. Based on the above, this paper presents a theoretical approach with an empirical base for engineering sustainability in hybrid energy systems. The project is part of a joint research initiative between a small group of university researchers and ENEL Distribucion, formerly Chilectra1 of Chile to develop a commercial prototype to be implemented in apartment buildings being serviced by ENEL throughout Santiago. This is important in order to advance DG solutions implemented by utilities like ENEL Distribucion, to further EPS decentralization, offer a broad, more flexible and personalized spectrum of services and, at the same time, preparing them for growing environmental challenges and threats.