EurekAlert! has an article / Press Release from the American Institute of Physics that discusses the need to manage local power fluctuations and centralized planning. Below is an excerpt.
To enable expansion of NZE districts to create more sustainable urban areas, researchers have integrated power grid considerations into the model of a newly planned NZE district and examined energy fluctuations at 15-minute intervals. The analysis and recommendations are presented in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing.
“We had a unique partnership between electric utility suppliers, building developers, landowners and other stakeholders, which enabled us to look at this from a holistic perspective and come up with a solution that is better for everyone at a lower total cost,” said Bri-Mathias Hodge, who led the study at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.
Centralized planning provides a means to proactively ensure a reliable service of electricity to the districts. One way to achieve central management could be through utility ownership or operation of distributed devices, such as solar power systems and batteries.
To model this new centralized framework, the team combined power distribution software and energy efficiency modeling. They applied their integrated model to the 100-building solar-powered residential district planned in Denver, Colorado — Peña Station NEXT.
Using much more detailed solar and building data with higher time and geographic resolution than previously considered, the team was able to compute an exhaustive number of potential scenarios, finding the best way to achieve NZE at the lowest costs and with the least reliability impacts.