Smart Solutions to Manage Peak Electricity Demand in Saudi Arabia




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


Electricity consumption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) grew at an annual rate of about 7% in the last two decades as a result of population and economic growth. The consumption of the residential sector accounts for over 50% of the total energy generation. Moreover, the energy consumption of air conditioning (AC) systems reaches up to 70% of the total electricity consumption of residential buildings in the summer months, leading to a situation where peak electricity demand occurs in early afternoon and lasts for about five hours. This thesis aims to tackle this challenge, using renewable energy technologies and smart grid management options. It proposes promising and practical solutions for mitigating the electricity peak demand of the residential sector that will conform to national strategies and policies. Firstly, the deployment of PV panels, whose slope and orientation are optimized with respect to the shape and timing of the energy demand profile so that the time that the maximum amount of energy is produced by the solar systems matches the time when energy demand is at its peak, is proposed. The optimization of the slope and orientation also takes into account the reduction in the performance of solar PV systems due to the accumulation of dust. Numerical results are presented for PV panels installed on government buildings – particularly on the roofs of schools, malls and mosques in residential neighbourhoods – in the city of Riyadh in KSA. Secondly, to reduce the energy consumption due to AC in the residential sector, the use of smart control of thermostat settings, via (i) scheduling and advance control of the operation of AC systems, and (ii) remotely setting the thermostats appropriately by the utilities, is proposed. Crucially, to gain an understanding of the short-term and the long-term occupancy behaviour for residential buildings, a survey is carried out to investigate some of the behavioural factors causing high energy consumption and the insights gained enabled the development of the proposed practical approaches so that the comfort of occupants is not compromised. Thirdly, the use of solar water heating (SWH) systems for the supply of domestic hot water is proposed. A study on the reduction in peak electricity demand achievable when domestic hot water is supplied using SWH systems is presented. KSA has high potential for developing electricity generation via PV solar and SWH systems and for reducing energy consumption of AC systems in residential sector, and this study includes new insights on achievable energy production and savings should these technologies be adopted on a large scale in KSA.





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