Driven by the surge in renewable energy power generation, Germany’s utility companies are beginning to halt operations in some of their fossil fuel facilities such as the highly-efficient combined-cycle gas turbines power plants. The fact that these structures only went into service this decade proves the rise and rise of renewable energy use. And it can potentially spell trouble for Germany’s utility companies. Managing this shift in energy sources perhaps lies more in services associated with power management, such as microgrids and integration renewables, and less in electricity generation.
To that end, E.ON, the country’s largest utility, recently commissioned a microgrid project in the North Sea island of Pellworm. SmartRegion Pellworm will bring together the different renewable energy facilities on the island into one energy system. The ultimate aim is to aggregate the wind, solar, and biogas capacities to lower import from the mainland and achieve power independence. E.ON plans to use batteries to keep electricity in reserve, and residences will also have their own storage system through night storage heaters and heat pumps.
E.ON sees the the project as a vision of things to come in terms of Germany’s energy future, with numerous small-scale microgeneration facilities connected to a central grid. The obvious question is to ask if microgrids can realistically be completely independent? Do cost-related issues prevent microgrids from achieving self–sufficiency? Share your views below!
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