French-based energy intelligence company Metron has been selected by the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) to collaborate on its Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator Singapore (REIDS) project, an energy management and optimisation initiative.

REIDS is the largest hybrid microgrid test and research platform in the tropics, made up of eight microgrids located on Semakau, an island 8km south of Singapore.

Each of the microgrids house generation systems, such as wind turbines and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, as well as loads and storage systems for hydrogen and Li-Ion. A desalination plant is also due to be installed for the examination of water-energy nexus in the area.

METRON’s role will involve facilitating interoperability between the microgrids through monitoring and controlling the various storage systems, generators and desalination plant.

The company brings its energy intelligence platform, Energy Virtual Assistant, to the collaboration, which was developed to help industrial facilities achieve energy transparency. The platform uses multiple data sources accessed through industrial systems to identify energy saving methods and will be used to identify the optimal microgrid strategy.

METRON innovation manager Anthony Gadiou said “The energy virtual assistant is our artificial intelligence [AI] which will manage in real-time the microgrid to optimise the sequencing between the demand, the supply and the storage. Algorithm, forecast, data analytics and data science are use in this energy AI core.”

METRON will also simulate the operation of a virtual power plant (VPP), incorporating energy market data such as spot price and demand response into its research.

REIDS was designed to aid the development and commercialisation of distributed energy systems in South East Asia. The region is particularly in need of these projects as many islands in the area face energy-related challenges, including accessibility and high energy prices, which act as a barrier to power access.

NTU estimates that around 125 million people in the region have either no or very sporadic access to electricity.

Off-site microgrids provide a viable solution to such problems and are tipped to become a key energy infrastructure for South East Asia, providing cheaper, more accessible and reliable power.

The initiative adds to Singapore’s growing status as a leading force in energy management technologies.

Taking advantage of its tropical location, Singapore has become a forerunner in solar PV technologies, launching the world’s largest floating solar PV testbed at Tengeh reservoir.  Developing its expertise in distributed energy grids would allow such renewable energy methods to be incorporated into the current system, while keeping the electricity grid stable.