Get Smart – the sensible solution
08 Mar 2010 11:03:05
Leading Executives from the utilities industry are meeting at the NGU EU summit this week to discuss EU renewable targets.
An illustrious meeting of the most influential Power and Energy suppliers took place this week in Germany. Chaired by Michael Lewis MD Eon Renewables, the challenge of the meeting was to look at innovative ways to source 20% of energy needs from renewables.
“The EU has set itself an enormous energy policy challenge over the next decade which will involve massive capital investment into new technologies, huge investment into grid infrastructure and replacing existing capacities as older plants reach the end of their lives,” says Michael Lewis (EON, MD EON Climate and Renewable) at the Next Generation Utilities Summit (hosted by GDS International).
To reach a 20% Renewable energy share in the EU will mean raising the current figure by around 35%. Even with a moderate increase in EU power demand to 2020, renewable share in power production would be more than the current power generation of France and Germany combined.
How can this demand be met? Key solutions discussed were Technology and process changes required to integrate Renewable and Distributed Generation resources, Emerging energy technologies such as Virtual power plants, Energy storage, Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Information technology implications deriving from the "new generation", technology and process changes required to support energy efficiency, demand response programs and goals and smart metering/smart grid programs and Market development and utility deployment of renewable and distributed generation.
Electricity is the most flexible and efficient energy source we know. In fact, electricity is the only energy source that makes power from renewables directly available without any detours. And just as important, the efficiency of electricity generated from renewable energy sources is far higher than that of fossil fuels. This gives electricity a clear advantage, particularly when the goal is to achieve a sustainable energy system and this was concluded at the summit.
“Smart Grids will be indispensible in the future” Eckhardt Günther – VP Smart Grid, Siemens AG who spoke out to leading representatives from E.ON, EDF Energy, BKK, and CEZ at the NGU EU summit.
For some years now, the share of small and medium-sized power generation plants using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has been growing. These smaller units making the overall energy system far more complex and difficult to operate, since the renewable energy units don't produce a steady output of electricity. Their power feed-ins to the main grid fluctuates since their operation ultimately depends on whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. This requires a flexible, optimally managed and controlled network infrastructure, not least in order to reduce the danger of blackouts to a minimum. The sudden lack of power output from a wind farm through a lull in the wind, for example, can force quick responses with the grid's controlling power range.
We are entering a new age of electricity! And the number of electric applications – as well as the consumption of electricity – will continue to grow, concluded the NGU summit.