Energy transition project moves into its second phase

Energy transition project moves into its second phase
Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production.

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project is now being replaced by IREN2. The initial project focused on building a smart grid in the municipality of Wildpoldsried in the Allgäu region of Germany. The project partners are now using the grid to examine ways to stabilize the electricity supply using intelligent sub-units that operate with a decentralized electricity generation system. Specialists are also looking at ways to combine several small power generation units, and possibly battery storage devices as well, in a manner that would enable them to contribute to system stability in much the same way conventional power plants do.
Wildpoldsried sometimes produces more energy than it needs because many of its residents operate solar power units, windmills, and biogas power generation systems, or cogeneration systems. The municipality's power supply voltage is controlled by variable local grid transformers, distributed power generation units and storage devices.

As part of the IREN2 project additional diesel generators are being installed and these are playing a role similar to that of gas-fired power plants in large grids - i.e. making electricity available when it's needed. Some of the participants in the Wildpoldsried grid are now being combined in an independent grid equipped with its own energy management system. Among other things, project specialists are testing the process by which the grid automatically restarts itself as an insulated grid (separate network) after a sudden unforeseen power outage in the overall . They're also testing the planned process for disengaging an insulated grid from the distribution network and then reconnecting to it. Concepts for safeguarding grids have to be redesigned as well. Today's over-current protection devices mostly need more short-circuit capacity than is availably from decentralized generation untits.

Key role for intelligent inverters

For future control and protection intelligent inverters will play a key role in times of high output from decentralized units. Together with other generation units and energy consumers they will be combined to topological power stations.

This is the term used to describe a setup in which several distributed power generation units in a grid area are linked together and then operate like a single large power plant. IREN2 is studying how tasks such as regulating supply voltage and frequency, making available short-circuit power, and planning schemes can be carried out with such topological . A consequent decentralization of power generation can only be achieved if the control systems are also distributed.

Siemens Corporate Technology joins forces with Siemens experts for Smart Generation Solutions and Smart Grids together with Kempten University of Applied Sciences, RWTH Aachen University, the Allgäuer Überlandwerke power utility, and ID.KOM. The project is scheduled to run for three years.


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Citation: Energy transition project moves into its second phase (2014, November 27) retrieved 17 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-energy-transition-phase.html
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Nov 27, 2014
These folk are doing it right. We will learn from them. This task of cleaning up our environment is not an easy one. We have to develop better technologies then integrate them into an existing system.

But they will succeed. Their battery installation for Power Quality is the world's first, as well.

Nov 28, 2014
From the Wikipedia page on Wipoldsried:
Today, the effects of this are an unforeseen level of prosperity resulting in construction of nine new community buildings, including a school, gymnasium, and community hall,
...
By 2011, Wildpoldsried produced 321 percent more energy than it needs and generated 4.0 million Euro in annual revenue.

For comparison: annual tax income for Wipoldsried in 2010 was 1.5 million EUR. Total investment in all the renewable projects was 24 million EUR.

So something like this can make a huge positive impact on a community and pays for itself over a very short time (not counting environmental benefits).

Nov 28, 2014
These folk are doing it right. We will learn from them.


Well...

As part of the IREN2 project additional diesel generators are being installed and these are playing a role similar to that of gas-fired power plants in large grids - i.e. making electricity available when it's needed.


This to me really just sounds like explaining black to be white. What exactly is the major improvement they've achieved here?

What they're doing is attempting to buid a power "island" that has a significant portion of renewable energy in it, but so far it's proving to be just same old same old, and the cost is horrendous.

So something like this can make a huge positive impact on a community and pays for itself over a very short time.


Of course when the main income is FiT subsidies. Money from the entire economy is put to benefit a small community.

Yet when counting the entire economy and not just the community, it's a net loss.

Nov 28, 2014
But they will succeed. Their battery installation for Power Quality is the world's first, as well.


To my knowledge, similiar battery systems have been in use the world over. There's at least one 40 MW system in Fairbanks, Alaska, that was installed in 2010, which was the world's largest at the time if it still isn't.

I remember reading of similiar smaller units in Texas, and Japan all the way back in the 90's.

Nov 28, 2014

What they're doing is attempting to buid a power "island" that has a significant portion of renewable energy in it

No. What they have done is build a contributor to the energy grid that can be taken offline when needed. This is a solution to the danger of widespread blackouts due to cascade effects if the frequency in the energy grid gets too far out of whack (e.g. due to a large powerplant suddenly shutting down or a major powerline being disrupted). In such a case you would not have half the country without power but only a tiny region around the affected powerplant - as adequately outfited regions could switch over to island mode for a time until repairs are made. Especially in winter this would prevent all kinds of ancillary damage.

main income is FiT subsidies

The money comes from the sale of the power to the grid. Not subsidies. 'Enormous cost' utterly wrong. They recoup their investment in 6 years. If they did it in 60 that would still be worth it.

Nov 28, 2014
No. What they have done is build a contributor to the energy grid that can be taken offline when needed.


Aka. a power island. A rose by any other name...

The money comes from the sale of the power to the grid. Not subsidies.


The sale of the power into the grid happens under the Feed-in-Tariff system. Every kWh from solar and wind power is subsidized that way.

If they did it in 60 that would still be worth it.


No it wouldn't, because 60 years is longer than the average rate of replacement for the system components.

Nov 28, 2014
Meanwhile in Germany on the whole, businesses have started to generate their own power under rising grid electricity prices. One company in six is already making their own electricity to avoid the heavy taxes and surcharges, because it allows them to save up to 50% on the cost. The number has doubled from the previous year. Some are building renewables and getting FiT subsidies from the state for it.

http://greenzone....tricity/

This can be spun two ways:

Good: because it encourages independence from the grid and decentralization of energy production, which increases energy security.

Bad: the cheaper form of energy that most utilize to save money is natural gas and other fossil fuels. The renewable energy they make is sold off to the grid for the FiT money and very little of it is used in the actual processes because it is intermittent and non-dispatchable.

Nov 28, 2014
When you look at the economics of it, it's very simple and very depressing.

You can make your own electricity from natural gas at X cents per kWh, buy power from the grid at Y c/kWh, and sell renewable power to the grid at Z c/kWh where X < Y < Z

Therefore anyone who can count concludes that you can maximize your profits by making all the power you need at price X from fossil fuels, and invest in renewable power to sell it at price Z out to the grid, but never touch the renewables yourself unless someone (the gov) pays you the difference. Using renewables to save fuel is a net loss when you could get Z for it.

As a result, everyone wants to sell renewable power, nobody wants to buy it, and the taxpayers are left to pay it, and the power utilities have nothing left to do but export it.


Nov 28, 2014
My gosh, Eikka, you have a terminal case of powernoia.

You are afraid of alternative power.

Nov 28, 2014
My gosh, Eikka, you have a terminal case of powernoia.

You are afraid of alternative power.


No. I'm afraid we aren't getting enough soon enough.

You're assuming that I rail against the current government subsidies and laws about renewable energy because I'm against renewables, because you're still under the illusion that the subsidies and policies are actually working and accomplishing their intended purpose, whatever you think that is.

They're not.

Unrealistic government attempts at controlling the market through incentives and disincentives simply are simply causing the industries to skirt the rules and fake progress to appease the naive politicians and their supporters - and collect public money. It's corruption.

The policies are geared towards things like building more windmills - so windmills you get - whereas the real question of producing cleaner energy while reducing emissions gets left to the wayside.


Nov 28, 2014
The point is, that as long as you can produce "alternative power" at costs that are not economically sustainable, because it's being propped up by clueless governments, nobody is bothering to make anything that could actually survive on its own.

It's slowing down our progress.

Suppose the government would pledge to pay 50% of the price of electric vehicle batteries. Well then, who would bother to develop better, chepear batteries when they can sell them as they are?

The battery industry would just jump up and make lots and lots of the old kind of expensive crap batteries in a bid to catch the money, and those who would spend the least in developing anything new could spend the most in producing more of the old stuff and steal the whole market.

Sounds familiar? Again: Solyndra. Govs subsidized solar power, the Chinese started dumping old tech on the market at slightly lower prices, progress halted and western PV companies went bust. Job Well Done?

Nov 28, 2014
Why blame the effects of international politics on the science? They just proved we can still find better ways of doing things, and do not have to wallow in the past.

The more I read of you, the more I think this is a political stand for you, because you resent using public money for alternative energy. Is it that you do not like progressives? Government involvement in energy? What? Did you complain about nuclear power, which is the world's biggest subsidy hog?


Dec 01, 2014
Why blame the effects of international politics on the science?


This is hardly science. This is more Public Relations. Little projects to showcase how "green" your company is.

They just proved we can still find better ways of doing things, and do not have to wallow in the past.


What have they really proven so far? That you can build a small power island that can operate independently as long as it has an ample supply from diesel generators?

he more I think this is a political stand for you, because you resent using public money for alternative energy. Is it that you do not like progressives?


Incorrect as always. Don't project your own political prejudices on me.

Why not accept the simple fact that the subsidy policies as they are don't work as intended? One doesn't have to object to progressives or to government involvement in the energy sector to realize that.

Dec 01, 2014
A good government energy policy would see the government as an investor in alternative energy, with expectations of return of interest and ownership in the company to weed out the charlatans and abusers. What happens instead is that the government has others invest and simply pays their dividends by paying for the output.

The quality of power, availability of power, reliability, dispatchability, cost... anything that would make it worth paying for are ignored in favor of raw kWh output, so the industry could put their hands in your pocket with the government's blessing and aid.

it's just money from your pocket to their pocket, mediated by the government, and the energy produced in the middle is merely a token that doesn't really matter in this subsidy scheme.


Dec 01, 2014
Did you complain about nuclear power, which is the world's biggest subsidy hog?


Nuclear power still has recieved, and recieves, a small fraction of the subsidies per kWh produced.

Partly because it isn't subsidized by the kWh. Subsidies to the conventional power industries tend to be investment subsidies where the government provides some money to build it, but the company has to sell their power in the market to actually turn a profit.

Subsidies to the renewables are completely different. The government first provides some money to build it, and then also pays for the output to guarantee profit, and changes laws so that you can always output. The government is only interested in how many kWh you put out, which means you can build just about anything regardless of whether it makes sense.

It's like in the Soviet Union where factory output was measured in kilograms, so workers simply made their products heavier to meet the quota.

Dec 01, 2014
"It's like in the Soviet Union where factory output was measured in kilograms, so workers simply made their products heavier to meet the quota."
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Yes, . . . I'm sure you are correct, . . . and everybody else is wrong. Especially those who make this technology actually work.

You put in wind, then complained that it made too much power. Why should we trust you with nukes, if you cannot even put regulators in your energy sources? Are you folk new to electricity?

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