RESOURCES, the Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainability of the research association JOANNEUM RESEARCH, is a partner in the consortium of the EU project INCREASE. The project application was submitted in the course of the SMART CITIES call of the seventh EU Framework Programme for Research. Now the project – as one of four in the subject area “smart grids” (“intelligent power grid”) – was awarded the contract.

Beside five research institutions, eight industrial partners are involved in INCREASE, among them also Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH. Of an overall project volume of 4.4 million Euros, around 460,000 Euros go to Styria.

There clearly still is a need to catch up in order to realise the share of renewable energy sources demanded by the EU until 2020. Renewable energy sources must be substantially expanded all over Europe, and the grid capacities must be optimised. The insufficient grid capacity, but also the not yet optimised utilisation of existing grids can impede an increased supply with renewable power. In other words, this means a real energy loss in power supply. In order to provide the necessary capacities, on the one hand, a strong expansion of the grid capacities, and on the other hand, the optimisation of existing grids is required. In particular, problems occur in low-voltage grids, where renewable energies are increasingly fed-in in a decentralised fashion, for example from photovoltaics.

Within the project INCREASE (increasing the penetration of renewable energy sources in the distribution grid by developing control strategies and using ancillary services), experts of energy research, in cooperation with grid operators, will contribute to the optimisation of existing grids and the development of new business models for grid operators. “This Europe-wide project represents an excellent chance for Styria to establish further international links on this subject”, explains Mag. Andreas Türk of JOANNEUM RESEARCH. Together with DI Dr. Reinhard Padinger, he is supporting the work with technical test models. Simulation as well as test models are used for optimisation of existing low-voltage grids. In that, irregular availability of renewable energy sources is considered, due to, for example, the dependence of energy generation on sunny days or wind conditions. Besides that, the behaviour of decentralised generators and users are included in the models. A phase inverter developed by the University of Gent (management of the project consortium) is to increase the capacity of the low-voltage grids by optimised utilisation of the phases of three-phase alternating current. The technical tests are supplemented by the development of new market models and regulatory outline conditions, which are to accelerate an expansion of renewable energy sources. The path from the currently still predominantly centralised energy supply towards a decentralised one requires new regulations and simultaneously enables the formation of new services in order to guarantee grid stability. Essential in that is the issue as to how stable energy supply can be ensured and optimised. The project partner Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH will also perform field tests with the phase inverter.

Facts & Figures
– The project consortium consists of 5 research institutions (University of Gent, BE, as the leader institution; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR; University of Ljubljana, SL; JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, AT and Technical University of Eindhoven, NL) and 8 industrial partners (ELIA, BE; EANDIS, BE; Elektro Gorenjska, SL; Liander, NL; Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH, AT; Alenco, BE; Korona d.d., SL and Mastervolt International B.V., NL).

– The overall project volume amounts to approx. 4.4 million Euros. Around 460,000 Euros thereof go to Styria (JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH and Stromnetz Steiermark GmbH).

Mag. Andreas Türk, MBA
Telephone: +43 316 876-1337
Mobile: +43 664 602 876 1337