We are shaping the future of Renewable Energy!
All of continental Europe is connected through a single shared power grid. This provides numerous advantages such as reducing generation costs or shared energy reserves. However, this also poses certain challenges. Traditional power grids rely on a constant utility frequency to ensure stable operations. In Europe, the frequency of the grid is locked at 50Hz. While minor deviations from this frequency may lead to smaller inconveniences such as the desynchronization of electric clocks hooked up to the grid, bigger deviations may lead to partial outages or an outright collapse of the entire system. One example for this was the 2006 European blackout, which affected the entire continent and led to over 10 million people losing electricity for up to 2 hours. While this event – which was caused by the badly timed disconnection of a 400m long power line in Germany – was singular, and even though a total collapse could be averted, it serves to illustrate the potential problems with maintaining a stable energy grid. This is further complicated when more and more Renewable Energy Sources – or RES – are added to the grid over time.
In simplified terms, peaks and lows in utility frequency result from an over- or undersupply of electricity within the grid. These fluctuations are generally mitigated by powering up or down (conventional) power plants accordingly. However, when including Renewable Energy Sources (RES) this becomes more difficult, since the natural fluctuations in sunshine or wind are not concerned about the fluctuations of demand in our energy grid and also because storing large amounts of energy over an indefinite period of time provides considerable challenges. EASY-RES aims to solve these problems through a complex bottom-up approach, which intends to ensure energy security even in a grid powered 100% by renewable energies.
This will be achieved by segmenting the distribution grid into smaller semi-autonomous parts called Individual Control Areas (ICAs). These ICAs will produce, store and consume their respective required energy and automatically detect and address fluctuations within the local. A vital tool helping with the proper administration of electric grids are so called “Ancillary Services”. In a traditional grid, these Ancillary Services are provided by the grid operator. The services include, but are not limited to, ensuring a constant voltage within the grid or managing the limited energy reserves. To successfully operate a grid powered by renewable energies, additional Ancillary Services will be required. An example for such a new service could be the usage of electric vehicles as mobile batteries, which would return energy to the grid should the need arise. Envisioning and developing a plethora of such new Ancillary Services is also a part of EASY-RES.
Technical description and implementation
To achieve these ambitious goals, the EASY-RES project is divided into eight different Work Packages (WPs), all contributing different parts about which we have provided short descriptions for you to learn more about them below.
You can learn even more about the Work Packages by heading over to our Work Packages Webpage.
WP1: Quasi Steady-State Operation
The task ofWP1 is to develop new methodologies to stabilize two very important parametersn in electrical power grids: Voltage and frequency. Since these tend to become increasingly unstable when increasing the amount of RES within a grid, WP1 will take measures to mitigate this problem.
WP2: Development von DRES/BESS Converter Functionalities for Dynamic & Transient Response
WP2 will develop methods to make the DRES/BESS behave like conventional generators. For this, models will be developed in the first phase, which will then be used to implement the envisioned functionalities.
WP3: Protection and Coordination
WP3 aims to increase the resilience of the grid by making it smart enough to automatically detect problems with itself and then counteract them. This can happen on a pure software basis without the need for additional hardware, keeping the increase in cost minimal.
WP4: ICT Infrastructure for ICAs &
WP4 develops a communication network which will serve as the backbone for the exchange of data within the grid which in turn is the basic requirement for a functioning smart grid. Imagine it like the grids own miniature internet.
WP5: Cost analysis, new market opportunities & development of AS-based business models
WP5 develops various business models, so that EASY-RES will eventually be able to make the jump from a simple but interesting case-study to a viable alternative for conventional energy grids.
WP6: Validation & Evaluation
WP6 serves as the control mechanism of the project. It is concerned with ensuring the validity of the results and suggesting improvements for the project.
WP7: Dissemination & Exploitation
WP7 works on the dissemination of the project, which means making it and its results known to the wider public and special interest groups through means of social media and other media.
The project is expected to improve EU energy security by allowing very high penetration (up to 100%) of RES in the grid. This will have a profound positive impact on the environment and will contribute to solving the global climate and energy challenges. The high RES penetration will be achieved by making their generation more predictable and grid friendly. Since the EASY-RES approach will also enable the individual DRES owners to participate actively in the future operation of the electricity grids, we also expect a profound socio-economical impact. Furthermore, the EASY-RES project will verify that the support of the European Commission in supporting larger RES penetrations in the electricity grid, and transforming the prosumers into active players of the future smart grids, is a feasible vision.