Humanity is increasingly reliant on electrical energy as the primary means for fulfilling it’s energy needs. This trend will just increase as the society develops, and it’s energy demand increases. In fact, one of the reliable indicators of the progress of a society is it’s energy usage.
First, there was AC – in production, transport and consumption. But the advent of the transistor started to roll out a slow but steady change in the way the electrical energy is being used. Nowadays, most of household appliances are in fact DC – TV, LED, washing machines, air conditioners… to name a few. And in production we see ever increasing penetration of renewable energy which in fact generate DC natively (PV panels) or have DC as an intermediate stage in power conversion (wind turbines). Adding to this electrical vehicles and battery storage (both DC) and we come to inevitable conclusion – the future belongs to the DC, at least as far as the distribution grid is concerned.
But before we reach that future, there are numerous obstacles that we need to overcome. And in doing so, we need to be very carefully and diligent, as the cost of subsequent correction is prohibitively large.
Presently DC grids are at their infancy, with universities around the world actively developing suitable control and protection strategies, and only a handful of companies venturing into the unknown – the unknown where even the standardization needs to be developed. But to make this transition into the DC future smooth and painless, we need to talk. We need to discuss the issues and develop harmonious standards that will be widely accepted.