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Energy storage is the backbone of networked energy generation

published: 2016-06-03 10:11

ees Europe highlights the potential of virtual power plants

The future belongs to smart networks of decentralized energy generation plants: Energy consumption and generation in households, commercial enterprises and industry will only be balanced in the future, preferably at all times of day, when PV installations, wind power plants, micro CHP plants and other energy producers and consumers are digitally connected and controlled. Modern information and communications technology (ICT) and energy storage devices are essential for realizing the energy supply of the future. Batteries, heat storage tanks, power-to-gas plants and power to heat aggregates guarantee the frequency stability in the grid, and form the basis for flexible coordination between energy supply and demand in the smart grid. Europe's largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, ees Europe, together with Intersolar Europe, the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners, provide visitors with an international platform on this topic at the Smart Renewable Energy Forum from June 22–24, 2016. Economic, technical and scientific questions concerning the interaction between solar and wind energy and storage devices will be discussed at the platform, where virtual power plants take center stage.

Restructuring energy generation from a centralized to a decentralized, sustainable and cost-efficient structure necessitates an optimization of the supply system. This increases the importance of achieving the perfect interplay between grid expansion, smart grids, the application of coordinated storage devices, and conventional and renewable generation systems connecting the electricity and heating markets. The result is a virtual power plant – over the course of this development, they have become the backbone of the energy supply of the future.

Storage solutions play a central role in intelligent networking. As energy sources like the sun are not always consistently available, it is essential that energy supply and demand are flexibly coordinated. This is only possible through intelligently networked power grids and with the help of energy storage systems, which absorb excess energy and then make it available again when required. A study carried out by Prognos AG on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has recently shown the considerable future potential of such solutions, also in view of lowering costs: The study revealed that smart solar storage systems reduced the costs of grid expansion by over 100 million euros per year in the distribution grid of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg alone.

Virtual Power Plant Neckar-Alb drives forward the energy supply of tomorrow

Subsidized by the Ministry of the Environment Baden-Württemberg, part of the Cooperation Network Virtual Power Plant Neckar-Alb has been working on a demonstration environment for a functioning, smart grid-compliant virtual power plant (VPP) since October 2015. A computerized summary from the various decentralized energy conversion plants then takes place in a control room. Innovative components, processes, procedures and technologies which are not yet available on the market in this combination are set to be installed. “The innovative approach lies in the fact that we are setting up a complex test environment for all components of virtual power plants, and are therefore able to investigate their interaction with each other and the impact on the grid stability or supply safety”, says Network Coordinator, Mirjana Apostolov. “We are able to address all questions concerning virtual power plants and smart grids and develop new solutions at the highest technological level.” The demonstrator is currently in the planning stages. Construction begins at the end of 2016 with the integration of the first generation systems, storage systems and building services engineering installations. “Here on the university campus in Reutlingen, the demonstrator VPP Neckar-Alb will serve as an innovative platform for teaching and research purposes for our lecturers, graduates, industry partners and project participants” says Apostolov. “The aim is to demonstrate the integration of renewable energies in the decentralized energy system of the future. Then we will be able to put the first new projects in the area of storage solutions for PV installations into practice here.”

Mirjana Apostolov is set to present the project together with Prof. Dr. Frank Truckenmüller at the session Wind meets Solar and Energy Storage: Virtual Power Plants & Combined Power Plants at the Smart Renewable Energy Forum. The title of the presentation is DEMONSTRATOR VPP Neckar-Alb: A Demonstration and Testing Environment for VPP Components and Technologies“ (June 23, 2016, 4:00pm–5:30pm, hall B2, booth B2.130).

Visitors can learn everything they need to know about technologies for the smart future of energy at the first ever Smart Renewable Energy Forum, taking place at ees Europe and Intersolar Europe in hall B2 (stand B2.131). Exhibition tours focusing on the forum’s main topics are available for delegations and groups. The forum is sponsored by Siemens AG, SMA Solar Technology AG, E.ON Energie Deutschland GmbH, Fronius International GmbH and Viessmann Photovoltaik GmbH.

ees Europe 2016 takes place alongside Intersolar Europe at Messe München from June 22–24; the ees Europe Conference is held on June 21–22 at ICM – Internationales Congress Center München.

Further information on ees Europe 2016 can be found at www.ees-europe.com

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