How will be the distribution company in the future? That path will be mapped by Neoenergia and will be researched in details with the Smart Future project, a computer simulation tool that analyzes in an integrated manner the economic and technical impacts of new technologies and regulatory frameworks in order to create a sustainable business model in view of the changes of the electric power industry. The project is a Research and Development (R&D) initiative, regulated by the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel), and it is under the initial research stage to identify international scenarios for regulatory frameworks and consumer behavior.
The solution developed by Neoenergia enables the evaluation of market, technology and regulation scenarios. For example: it is possible to simulate the interest of customers for solar power systems and the estimated amount of photovoltaic panel installations, in order to then set a smart grid route for the company to evaluate how much of an investment will be required and which changes may be carried out in the regulatory environment for its performance, resulting into information that may subsidize initiatives in favor of the industry with the regulatory agencies. “Thus, the distribution company has a broad view of the impact of those factors on the company's activities and may make decisions hence, with a more assertive planning, considering all future possibilities", said José Antônio Brito, Neoenergia's Research and Development corporate manager.
One of “SmartF" differentials, which name means Simulation and Modeling of the Future Regulatory and Technological Environment, is the possibility of simulating a number of long-term scenarios at the same time and with quick forecasts. “They are comprehensive and detailed simulations which take account of a great amount of the company's data and information, which result into assertive technical and economic planning models and may be used in a quick manner so we may evaluate different scenarios with the benefit of analyzing everything in an integrated manner", stated Raphael Carvalho, Neoenergia's project manager.
The keyword for the project is integration and, for that reason, there is a broad involvement of the company's areas, since the effects of scenarios taking into consideration the behavior of customers, distribution company and regulator will be evaluated. In the tool, situations related to distributed energy resources will be analyzed, such as storage systems, electric vehicles and solar power generation. All vehicle modeling will be built from the results obtained from Neoenergia's Green Corridor project, the first electric pipeline for electric mobility in Northeastern region, which will connect Salvador to Natal, passing through six capitals of the region. Another aspect related to the customers to be taken into consideration is the investments and benefits associated to the consumer relationship digitalization based on Digital Connection data.
Likewise, the evaluation of grid investments is another relevant topic, since it regards advanced operation, metering and automation technologies for smart grids, in addition to alternatives for the traditional grid investments, such as batteries. With respect to the regulatory framework, different incentives and energy policies will be evaluated in order to propose more effective, innovative and sustainable regulatory alternatives for the industry.
“SmartF" is expected to be developed within two years and will be completed by late 2022.