Data and digitilisation enable flexible and green electricity consumption

State of Green
By State of Green, September 27, 2019

The EcoGrid 2.0 demonstration project has concluded. Involving 800 households on the Danish island of Bornholm, the project shows how consumers’ energy consumption can be remotely controlled and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.

Since 2012, 800 households on the island of Bornholm have given the EcoGrid 2.0 project access to their heat pumps and electric panel heaters. Results gained from this exercise help answer how Denmark can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, which is a key objective of the country’s new social democratic government.

A climate-proof future requires the conversion of massive amounts of renewable energy into electricity for cars and heating. This places new demands on the Danes’ energy consumption, which needs to be consumed in lime the fluctuating production of green electricity.

“The prerequisites for green energy consumption are investment in the electricity grid and smart consumption management. The Bornholm experiment shows how we can squeeze more renewable energy through the electricity grid and manage consumption in relation to green electricity production. The experience gathered and the tools used during the project may serve as the basis for knowledge sharing with the rest of the country,” says Jacob Østergaard, Professor and Head of Centre at DTU Electrical Engineering.

Group CEO of Bornholms Energi & Forsyning, Rasmus Sielemann Christensen, looks forward to seeing the experiences gathered from the project benefitting the green transformation in the rest of Denmark:

“Bornholm is the right place to carry out demonstration projects that can lead the way towards structuring the energy system of the future as intelligently as possible. In future projects, we should consider and examine how changes in the regulatory framework can assist the development towards supporting flexibility in consumption. Here too, Bornholm is ideal—and we’re ready,” he says.

-Related solution: EcoGrid 2.0 Flexible electricity consumption in private households

Consumers can contribute

The heat pumps and electric panel heaters in the 800 households were provided with control boxes and sensors that make it possible to control the heating remotely and push electricity consumption over time within the limits of comfort defined by each household.

The consumers’ electricity consumption was shifted from when the energy was most expensive to when it was cheapest. Consumers can furthermore choose to shift their consumption to when the share of renewables in the electricity supply was highest. This has reduced the households’ electricity consumption by at least 30 per cent during the winter season in periods when the electricity grid is under the most pressure.

-Related solution: Methods for intelligent consumption

Concretely, the EcoGrid 2.0 project  succeeded in activating flexibility from private households on a large scale and utilising this flexibility in the power system. This is a solution for the green electricity market of tomorrow. The flexibility can be used to

  • integrate more green energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
  • reduce costs for consumers through better utilisation of power grid capacity, by keeping consumption below the load limits in the transmission and distribution grids, and thereby reducing the need for investments in the power grid.
  • maintain a balance between production and consumption

“Consumers want to be green, but many do not know exactly how to achieve this. With EcoGrid, we have shown how consumers can easily do something good for the climate without sacrificing their comfort. They can help integrate more green energy into the energy system and make it cheaper to operate,” says Jørgen S. Christensen, CTO of Dansk Energi.

The report’s concluding report can be accessed in full here.

Source: The Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Photo: Colourbox

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