Buzzwords of Today: Demand Side Flexibility & Renewables in Buildings
Date: October 23rd 2020
Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič
Integrating renewable energy into the grids is a challenge for each and every energy player, whereas ‘managing flexibility’ became the buzzword of today, but at the same time, it is far from new, said Kurt Reynders, Head of Business and Product Development at Engie, at Montel’s Green Week 2020 on Thursday, explaining how Engie tackled this issue. The sentiment was echoed by Danijel Muršič, CEO of Slovenia’s high-tech company Menerga, at a recent webinar, at which he quoted the renowned economist and political adviser, Jeremy Rifkin, who said that green technology, which is based on renewables, is already here, so we do not need any more R&D and there are no more excuses (for inaction).Managing flexibility has actually become a core business at Engie (in addition to optimising energy production) and the company believes that it will become even stronger with new types of flex, whereas Engie wants to extend its capability to manage flex to new types of assets, including batteries, EVtoGrid, and B2C flex. This area has therefore become a part of the corporate innovation, including activities from research to innovation, explained Kurt Reynders.
Business opportunities “in front” and “behind the meter”
The potential added values are recognised “in front of the meter” (for the distributors) as well as “behind the meter” (for the consumers). “Stacking revenues is essential to a positive business case, and since services have different features in terms of energy and power, a careful evaluation must be performed,” added Reynders, naming several technical solutions for the system, from the already mentioned EVs to other storage solutions, from Li-ion, mobile, alternative, electric boilers, industrial load, H2 generators, redox flow batteries, onsite generation to local energy communities.
Product and business development at Engie therefore includes packages with ‘smart EV’, local energy communities, demand-side management plus batteries, as well as mobile storage, or a package with PV/Wind plus storage, and finally a flexible power plant, Reynders explained, adding that – of course – offering such new solutions brings also price risks for the company. It therefore tries to share the risks with the customers – partners, he concluded.
There is already a huge demand for system flexibility and it will get even bigger, agreed Philip Gladek, founder and CEO of the Dutch system integrator Spectral Energy, which has in its services portfolio solutions for hybrid renewable power plants, microgrids and smart buildings, which – of course – include renewable energy sources (RES).
How can the imbalance costs be reduced? According to Tor Wilhelm Havag from Norway’s Tussa Energy, this is possible with AI predictions, based on weather forecasting models, which are 35% better in forecasting in comparison to the previous manual forecasting. This is especially important for day-ahead market trading. Additionally, there are more megawatts available for intraday and regulation market, Havag concluded.
Renewables more than just a buzzword
Renewables, like flexibility, are clearly more than just a buzzword, as they represent something that is acknowledged and tackled all over the world, said the CEO of Slovenia’s high-tech company Menerga, Danijel Muršič, at the company’s recent webinar. As he pointed out, the buildings that we design today are actually being built for the next 30 years or more and need to be in line with EU directives – otherwise one faces environmental taxes. Those that fail to recognise that phasing out fossil fuels is a necessity and that the transition to renewables is unavoidable in the long-term will be the losers in this scenario. Muršič also quoted the renowned American economist, political advisor (to figures such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron), and climate activist, Jeremy Rifkin, who said that we need to have renewables in every building.
As stated by Rifkin, green technology, which is based on renewables, is already here, so we do not need any more R&D and there are no more excuses. He further noted that wind and solar have never made out a bill to us, whereas for every year that we invest in RES infrastructure, we will get 2 to 3 years of GDP back. At Slovenia’s Menerga, green buildings are created by examining every possibility and opportunity to reduce energy consumption, to recycle energy and reuse it.
This article is available also in Slovene.
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