Intel to Power E4S Alliance in Energy Transition

Electric powerlines and towers

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Dec 1, 2023

Intel is stepping into a bigger role in the shift to renewable energy as a solutions provider to the Edge for Smart Secondary Substations (E4S) Alliance.

The E4S Alliance aims to create an adaptive smart electricity grid. The new platform for the alliance will modernize the energy grid by shifting it from a proprietary, closed-hardware architecture to an open, flexible, software-defined energy system.

There are currently 17 million secondary substations in Europe that enable medium- to low-voltage power conversion. Intel is helping with the new system that will digitalize the next generation of secondary substations with “secure, modular, silicon-enhanced technology.”

The specifications for the new solutions are designed for some of the world’s largest distribution system operators, including Enedis, E-Redes, Iberdrola, and UFD (Naturgy Group).

The power grid will become more resilient and efficient with the new solution because the technology at the substation will enable the grid to be more flexible and power and accommodate more renewable energy sources when available.

As more renewable energy, such as solar and wind, comes onto the grid, these sources cannot always be deployed due to their inherent nature. With a more flexible power grid, renewable energy can be used more efficiently. Plus, it makes the power grid more resilient in the face of natural disasters, as utilities can access different energy sources and integrate them regardless of their location.

Intel is convening industry leaders to shift the energy industry through technology.

Intel is convening industry leaders to shift the energy industry through technology.

Intel’s role in the alliance is to provide hardware, software, security, applications, artificial intelligence, and communication technology solutions. The substation specifically is fueled by Intel Core processors and includes AI and Internet of Things capabilities and networking technology.

Energy providers can adapt to rapidly changing demands, determine the best energy source, and support more renewable and intermittent clean energy sources at the edge of the grid, Intel said. The solution also showcases real-time execution at the edge and real-time radio and cable communications between utilities and substations. 

Intel is aiming to reach 100% renewable electricity across its operations by 2030. By the end of 2022, the company achieved 93% renewable electricity globally.

“With almost 30 million substations worldwide, Intel is powering a tremendous opportunity to reduce climate footprints by adopting cleaner energy sources — an important milestone as countries work toward net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions,” Mike Bates, general manager of Intel’s Energy Center of Excellence, said in a statement. “Our technology jump-starts the evolution of the traditional electric grid to a smarter, more resilient flexible grid capable of successfully integrating large percentages of renewables at the transmission and distribution levels.”

Intel plans to deploy E4S field trials through 2024, and after adoption in Europe, the company plans for global expansion of the system. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a single substation with the solution can reduce carbon dioxide by an equivalent of taking as many as 1,800 gasoline-powered cars off the road.

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