INCREASE Workshop in Graz

Joanneum Research, 19.5.2014

To highlight the unique features of the INCREASE project dealing with demonstration of intelligent smart grid solutions in the distribution network, a full-day INCREASE Workshop was organized as a dedicated session on the first day of the premier Smart Grid event of Steiermark, Austria, the Smart Grids Week. The Smart Grids Week took place between 19. and 23. May 2014 in Graz, organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund and Energie Steiermark.

The INCREASE Workshop was attended by some 20 participants from academia, administration and business who engaged in the discussion and also gave feedback on the projects contents. The speakers presented the INCREASE project, its goals and methodology, as well as the field demonstration cases in which the developed technological solutions will be showcased. Other speakers included the industrial experts who presented the national smart grid projects of interest to the audience, extending the applicability scope of the proposed INCREASE solutions.

The discussion focused in particular the practical problems the DSO face as the supply of electricity is increasingly becoming decentralized. A more decentralised electricity production leads to issues associated with local power injection, current direction changes, fluctuating and less controllable flow of energy in distribution networks. Also the network becomes bidirectional and an energy injection from DSO to TSO emerges. Within the field trials, the DSOs in the INCREASE project test possible solutions for these new challenges. For example, Eandis from Belgium presented their planned field trial in the Waaslandhaven where wind mills are used to cover local energy needs. Alliander from The Netherlands presented their test field with 50 homes where smart connection with dynamic limits are being tested and classic capacity limits can be overruled temporary.

In the current top-down architecture of the electricity system, increasing decentralized electricity production leads also to regulatory issues in addition to the technical issues. The Belgian DSOs for example face the overlapping jurisdiction of two regulators, the national and regional, with sometimes conflicting requirements. EANDIS presented an example of a DSO dealing with these issues. Also, the issue of renewable quality of the energy injected into the grid by distributed renewable energy sources is only now being discussed. Up to now, the national legislation often decreed that when green energy is being put into the grid, it is treated in the same way as energy from conventional sources. One possible solution would be to introduce a green certificate-based solution, similar to RECS certificates, or use the Guarantees of Origin to certify the green quality of this energy. On the other hand, a system needs to be in place to cater to the needs of the consumers of such green energy.

The Workshop concludes that field test as the above are of high importance to prepare the DSO for the coming challenges and minimize their risks.