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FuturENERGY February 2020

Founded in 2005, Guangzhou Sanjing Electric Co., Ltd (SAJ) is one of the largest global inverter specialists for renewable energy conversion, transmission and storage. It supplies grid connection inverters (0.7 – 60 kW), hybrid inverters, retrofit kits and monitoring platforms. In 2017, the company enjoyed a 24% market share of China’s residential PV market and was ranked among the Top 10 global manufacturers of residential solar inverters by IHS. In 2019, SAJ achieved 25% of the market share for residential storage inverters in the Australian PV market. Its latest product range, the R5 Series rooftop grid connection solar inverter, won the TÜV Rheinland “All Quality Matters” Award for the PV Inverter for Home Use Category in 2019. SAJ has now launched this product range in Spain to respond to the different needs of the solar market…

Foto cortesía de/Photo courtesy of: Toyota

At Digital Solar & Storage 2019, SolarPower Europe launched a new report on solar mobility, thought to be the first of its kind, which explores the potential of clean mobility solutions and solar power. The report documents various solar mobility business models, illustrating the experience of European and global pioneers with detailed case studies. Three solar mobility models are highlighted: (1) solar-powered mobility, (2) solar smart charging, and (3) vehicle-integrated PV, all of which can lead to vast carbon reductions in the transport sector.

Decarbonising the transport sector, responsible for one quarter of European CO2 emissions, is a crucial step in achieving the European Union’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Electrification, direct and indirect, appears clearly as the fastest and most cost-efficient technological solution to decarbonise transport. EV battery costs have achieved important cost reduction in the past years, with prices decreasing by 85% between 2010 and 2018, allowing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of small and medium electric vehicles to be the same as conventional vehicles by 2024. Technology improvements and investments in fuel cells and electrolysis technologies have enabled a reduction in vehicle and fuel costs that could support the future cost-competitiveness of indirect electrification for certain segments of transport.

The electrification of transport makes even more sense when done in parallel with the deployment of renewables in the EU electricity mix. Without significant additons of renewable capacities in Europe, the full potential of electrification to reduce CO2 emissions in transport cannot be harvested. A study from the Paul Scherrer Institute shows that electric vehicles charging on fossil fuel-based electricity (e.g gas or coal) do not lead to an optimum reduction in CO2 emissions compared with conventional gasoline and diesel cars, while the CO2 emissions decrease by 50% with electric vehicles driving on CO2 -free electricity. The electrification of transport must therefore be thought of in synergy with the deployment of renewables in the power mix.

Solar energy is the ideal candidate to fuel green, electric mobility. As an illustration, in light road transport only, a typical rooftop, 5-kW PV module can easily produce the daily amount of electricity needed for the average commute of an electric vehicle, even though the adequacy of the PV system will depend on its geographical location and on time variations, including seasonal.

Solar energy is also a cost-competitive fuel for transport. It has achieved important cost reductions in the past years. The LCOE has reached €0.04/kWh worldwide and keeps decreasing, as a result of decreasing manufacturing costs and increasing cell performance. The deployment of solar can therefore support a cost-efficient energy transition with limited public support. Furthermore, in many countries, direct sourcing of solar energy is already cheaper than grid electricity.

Solar installations are modular and can adapt perfectly to the energy needs of the end-consumer or various means of transportation. Small solar installations can therefore fit well in urban landscapes, on rooftops, parking lots, rail infrastructure, etc. and can be installed as close as possible to the consumption point, be it a charging point or a refuelling station, thereby reducing reliance on the power grid.

Looking at the physics, solar is complementary to electric mobility, particularly in certain use cases like day charging at work places or combined with battery capacity at home. Solar has a predictable generation curve and produces electricity during the day. This PV generation curve matches well with the time at which the majority of electric vehicles are parked and can be charged, for instance at workplaces or public parking – a match that can be optimised with smart charging devices. Solar generation also matches perfectly the load curve of trains, trams or metros that run and consume energy during the day, making them good candidates for solar consumption.

Finally, recent surveys show that solar is the most popular source of energy and can support the public acceptance for sustainable transport policies. In Europe, solar has the highest level of support among citizens. Solar empowers consumers to invest into their own energy transition and gives them a sense of independence. As a result, one can easily observe the mutually reinforced dynamic between solar energy and electromobility: a recent survey by EuPD Research on electric-mobility has shown that for 77% of the respondents, the main reason to purchase an electric car was to charge it using their own solar energy, making it the most important motivator for purchase.

The synergies between solar and clean mobility can unlock significant benefits to accelerate the European energy and transport transition. The solar industry must therefore be imaginative and forward-looking to exploit these synergies and offer solutions to consumers that wish to drive on solar energy.

The benefits of solar mobility are vast, and include significant improvements in air quality for European citizens, as well as the reduction of noise pollution. Smart mobility strategies that rely on the increasing deployment of solar energy can lead to a more affordable and reliable solar electricity supply. This has the effect of optimising grid integration of future vehicles, unlocking new flexibility sources, and ultimately creating new business models for solar prosumers, EV owners, and charging station operators. Further, solar mobility and all of its related technologies can help Europe lead the global energy transition.

This aim of the report – the first of its kind developed by SolarPower Europe’s Solar Mobility Taskforce – is to look at existing and promising business cases of solar mobility and draw a first benchmark of renewable mobility models. It features existing case studies and pioneering projects.

Source: SolarPower Europe

ABB has won a contract from ST Engineering Land Systems Ltd. to deliver and com-mission integrated smart charging points for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) in the new Tuas port of Singapore. Deliveries of the vehicles, which will be deployed to transport heavy shipping containers at the port terminal, are scheduled to begin from September 2020 through to August 2022, with the ABB chargers and supporting infra-structure set to be installed towards the end of 2020.

The contract includes 450 kW High Power Chargers, design and supply of charge point prefabricated skid and container solutions with integrated chargers, medium- and low- voltage switchgear, transformers and associated control and monitoring equipment. This integrated solution enables fast installation on site, ensures the highest levels of operability and mitigates risk.

The future port is a major milestone in Singapore’s next generation container terminal development with an annual capacity of 65 M containers (TEU) and is slated to be the largest port in the world by the time it is complete in 2040. The first berth will be op-erational in 2021.

The breakthrough project marks the first time ABB’s chargers will be used to power a fleet of autonomous vehicles for commercial operation. A specially designed and cus-tomized connection to the chargers will be enabled for end-to-end integration with the fully-electric AGVs.

Nissan and EDF Group have signed a cooperation agreement to accelerate the delivery of e-mobility together – particularly through the smart charging of electric vehicles. This agreement applies to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Italy. The cooperation agreement focuses mainly on developing smart charging solutions (vehicle to grid, or V2G) by bringing together technologies developed and mastered by both companies. Smart charging refers to technologies that optimise the charging or discharging of an electric vehicle in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

As part of the cooperation agreement, Nissan is responsible for the sale of V2G compatible electric vehicles, and EDF Group in charge of V2G charging solutions and related services.

Fundamental to Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision is the integration of electric vehicles into society, with V2G technology offering significant benefits to electricity grids and providing new financial opportunities to businesses. As increasing numbers of drivers and businesses make the switch to 100% electric vehicles, Nissan achieved record sales for both the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 van in Europe last year.

EDF Group is committed to promote clean mobility for everyone, in particular by developping “smart charging” solutions with tangible benefits to customers. These fully integrated solutions include the management of the battery’s charge and discharge as well as flexibility services to the grid available through storage. They are carried by Izivia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the EDF Group specialising in charging infrastructure, and Dreev, the newly launched EDF-NUVVE joint venture, specialising in V2G commercial solutions.

Today’s agreement follows a previous partnership in the UK between EDF Energy and Nissan. Signed last year, the two organisations agreed to collaborate around the development of shared offerings in the areas of electric mobility, smart charging, second-life battery use, energy storage and renewable energy sources.

What is smart charging?

Smart charging solutions include technologies to control when vehicles charge and how quickly they power up, as well as allow the two-way flow of electricity between vehicle and charger. Thanks to V2G technologies, the energy accumulated in the batteries of electric vehicles can also be used for businesses own energy needs or the grid when required – a benefit that will become increasingly important as greater numbers of electric vehicles arrive on our roads and to help balance intermittent renewable generation.

The energy that is stored in a electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 van can be sold back to the grid by the customer, generating additional revenue to offset vehicle ownership costs. The financial, environmental and societal benefits of V2G have made it a highly anticipated innovation in the market, but one which has not fully progressed to this point. Today’s new collaboration between EDF Group and Nissan marks a huge step towards realising this electric future, creating a practical solution that benefits businesses and wider society alike.

Source: Nissan

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Sulzer Schmid, a Swiss company pioneering UAV technology for rotor blade inspections, and NNAISENSE, an artificial intelligence specialist, have partnered to develop an artificial intelligence engine to automatically detect rotor blade damages on wind turbine. This leapfrog technology is expected to bring the twin benefits of improving the productivity and consistency of blade inspection processes.

With this new development effort, the two partners are aiming to build the industry’s most powerful artificial intelligence engine able to recognize damages based on inspection image material. The initial version will be able to flag all areas of concern on any given damaged blade. Ensuing upgrades will add other capabilities such as the ability to establish damage categories and severity levels.

The autonomously flying drones of the 3DX™ Inspection Platform of Sulzer Schmid assure high-definition quality and consistent image acquisition time as well as 100% blade coverage while minimizing human errors and operational risks. The cutting-edge image assessment tools of the platform ensure detailed and efficient damage assessment. With the support of an AI-enabled inspection software, the review work of blade experts will be greatly facilitated. Instead of having to review the entire surface of the blades, they will simply need to focus on the pre-selected areas of concern. This technology progress will not only significantly boost the productivity of the reviewing teams but will also improve the quality of damage annotation processes.

Source: Sulzer Schmid

Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle. With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

EVs at scale can create vast electricity storage capacity, but if everyone simultaneously charges their cars in the morning or evening, electricity networks can become stressed. The timing of charging is therefore critical. ‘Smart charging’, which both charges vehicles and supports the grid, unlocks a virtuous circle in which renewable energy makes transport cleaner and EVs support larger shares of renewables,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

Looking at real examples, a new report from IRENA, Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles, guides countries on how to exploit the complementarity potential between renewable electricity and EVs. It provides a guideline for policymakers on implementing an energy transition strategy that makes the most out of EVs.

Smart implementation

Smart charging means adapting the charging cycle of EVs to both the conditions of the power system and the needs of vehicle users. By decreasing EV-charging-stress on the grid, smart charging can make electricity systems more flexible for renewable energy integration, and provides a low-carbon electricity option to address the transport sector, all while meeting mobility needs.

The rapid uptake of EVs around the world, means smart charging could save billions of dollars in grid investments needed to meet EV loads in a controlled manner. For example, the distribution system operator in Hamburg — Stromnetz Hamburg — is testing a smart charging system that uses digital technologies that control the charging of vehicles based on systems and customers’ requirements. When fully implemented, this would reduce the need for grid investments in the city due to the load of charging EVs by 90%.

IRENA’s analysis indicates that if most of the passenger vehicles sold from 2040 onwards were electric, more than 1 billion EVs could be on the road by 2050 — up from around 6 million today —dwarfing stationary battery capacity. Projections suggest that in 2050, around 14 TWh of EV batteries could be available to provide grid services, compared to just 9 TWh of stationary batteries.

The implementation of smart charging systems ranges from basic to advanced. The simplest approaches encourage consumers to defer their charging from peak to off-peak periods. More advanced approaches using digital technology, such as direct control mechanisms may in the near future serve the electricity system by delivering close-to real-time energy balancing and ancillary services.

Advanced forms of smart charging

An advanced smart charging approach, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), allows EVs not to just withdraw electricity from the grid, but to also inject electricity back to the grid. V2G technology may create a business case for car owners, via aggregators, to provide ancillary services to the grid. However, to be attractive for car owners, smart charging must satisfy the mobility needs, meaning cars should be charged when needed, at the lowest cost, and owners should possibly be remunerated for providing services to the grid. Policy instruments, such as rebates for the installation of smart charging points as well as time-of-use tariffs, may incentivise a wide deployment of smart charging.

We’ve seen this tested in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. For example, since 2016, Nissan, Enel and Nuvve have partnered and worked on an energy management solution that allows vehicle owners and energy users to operate as individual energy hubs. Their two pilot projects in Denmark and the UK have allowed owners of Nissan EVs to earn money by sending power to the grid through Enel’s bidirectional chargers.

Perfect solution?

While EVs have a lot to offer towards accelerating variable renewable energy deployment, their uptake also brings technical challenges that need to be overcome.

IRENA analysis suggests uncontrolled and simultaneous charging of EVs could significantly increase congestion in power systems and peak load. Resulting in limitations to increase the share of solar PV and wind in power systems, and the need for additional investment costs in electrical infrastructure in form of replacing and additional cables, transformers, switchgears, etc., respectively.

An increase in autonomous and ‘mobility-as-a-service’ driving — i.e. innovations for car-sharing or those that would allow your car to taxi strangers when you are not using it — could disrupt the potential availability of grid-stabilising plugged-in EVs, as batteries will be connected and available to the grid less often.

Impact of charging according to type

It has also become clear that fast and ultra-fast charging are a priority for the mobility sector, however, slow charging is actually better suited for smart charging, as batteries are connected and available to the grid longer. For slow charging, locating charging infrastructure at home and at the workplace is critical, an aspect to be considered during infrastructure planning. Fast and ultra-fast charging may increase the peak demand stress on local grids. Solutions such as battery swapping, charging stations with buffer storage, and night EV fleet charging, might become necessary, in combination with fast and ultra-fast charging, to avoid high infrastructure investments.

Source: IRENA

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Iberdrola has completed the process of digitising its distribution network with the installation of 10.7 million digital meters in Spain and their supporting infrastructure, as well as the adaptation of around 90,000 transformation centres, to which remote management, supervision and automation capabilities have been added. This digitisation process has meant an investment of €2 billion.

This transformation to an intelligent infrastructure in the networks means the company is moving forward in its strategy of energy transition. It is contributing to the decarbonisation of the economy, improving the efficiency of the network, optimising demand management and promoting the integration of more renewables and electric mobility.

This means it is also responding to new trends in relations with its customers, who are demanding more personalised products and services and a more active management regarding how energy is consumed.

Customers are more involved

The network’s digitisation means the electricity consumer is in a position to know in real time about, among other information, their consumption curves, as well as their demand for maximum power, or the way in which their electricity consumption is distributed. This allows for a more efficient use of electricity, being able to decide on the rate type that best suits their profile and way of life.
Iberdrola uses international standards and robust, maximum security encryption algorithms that guarantee the authentication, confidentiality and privacy of every one of its digital devices by means of unique user name and password identification. Furthermore, the digital meters use high-security cryptographic keys, in accordance with international standards, ensuring data packages leave encrypted and authenticated.

Greater efficiency and quality of supply

Customers are not the only ones offered possibilities by digitisation, but also the electrical system, since smart networks use remote management which allows for just that, quick and remote management of everything related to the point of supply and services.
An automated and digitised network has a very positive effect on the efficiency of the service and the quality of supply by reducing incidents and how long they last. In addition, more information is available to detect fraud and minimise losses, as well as to increase the security of both employees and providers who work on the network.
To manage and store all this information which the new smart meters provide, Iberdrola has updated its systems and has developed applications based on big data technology.

10 advantages of smart grids

• They facilitate a more efficient and sustainable power supply
• They allow a higher level of security and quality of supply
• They detect anomalies before they occur
• They allow you to get more precise information on electrical consumption and to personalise your use
• They contribute to giving you greater control over the use of energy
• They encourage a more client-active role in decision making
• They facilitate new business models
• They reduce the environmental impact
• They make it possible for the introduction of more renewables
• They foster sustainable mobility with the integration of the electric car.

Source: Iberdrola

Groupe Renault, Morbihan Energie, Les Cars Bleus and Enedis have joined forces to create FlexMob’île, an innovative programme aimed at accompanying the energy transition on the French island of Belle-Île-en-Mer. This smart electric ecosystem is founded on three core activities, namely the sharing of electric vehicles, the stationary storage of solar energy and smart charging. FlexMob’île sees Groupe Renault continue to develop the principle of smart islands, the first of which was Portugal’s Porto Santo, which has been operational since last February.

For the next 24 months, Groupe Renault and its public and private partners will be developing a smart electric ecosystem that has been conceived to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and increase its energy independence.

From 2019, Belle-Île-en-Mer residents and visitors to the island will have access to a fleet of electric cars by means of a self-service hire programme featuring Renault ZOE and Kangoo Z.E. These vehicles will be powered thanks to a network of charging stations located close to the island’s main attractions.

This new carsharing service will take advantage of surplus energy produced by solar panels installed on the roofs of the island’s main public buildings. For instance, solar panels on the school’s rooftop provide heat and lighting for classrooms during the week, while the energy produced at weekends or during school holidays will be used to charge the cars.

By promoting the use of locally-produced renewable energy, FlexMob’île will offer the island’s economic stakeholders enhanced flexibility while at the same time promising substantial savings.

For example, Groupe Renault plans to provide second-life electric car batteries for the island’s largest holiday residences facility. These batteries will be used to store energy produced during the day by solar panels for use in the evening, chiefly to heat the bungalows. This should allow the centre to extend its season which until now has been restricted by central heating costs.

Source: Groupe Renault

Groupe Renault and EEM Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, SA, which produces, transports and distributes and sells electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), has announced the launch of a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo. This world-first smart island uses electric vehicles, second-life batteries, smart charging and V2G to boost the island’s energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. Groupe Renault, EEM and their partners have been working since the beginning of the year on this project, which is expected to last 18 months.

The government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira will roll out an innovative programme in Porto Santo, known as Sustainable Porto Santo – Smart Fossil Free Island, to facilitate the energy transition. EEM, which is in charge of the programme’s energy and electric mobility, has chosen Groupe Renault as its partner for electric mobility solutions.

The project comprises three complementary phases. First, 20 volunteer users in Porto Santo will drive 14 ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E.s for their everyday use. These vehicles will be able to benefit from smart charging thanks to the 40 public and private charging points set up by EEM and Renault on the island.

Second, by the end of 2018, the vehicles will step up their interaction with the grid by providing it with electricity during peak hours. In addition to being smart charged, the electric vehicles will therefore also serve as temporary energy storage units.

Third, second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles will be used to store the fluctuating supply of energy produced by Porto Santo’s solar and wind farms. Stored as soon as it is produced, this energy is recovered by the grid as and when needed to meet local demand. Some of these batteries come from Madeira Island. For the first time, Groupe Renault demonstrates real life re-employing of second-life batteries in a local ecosystem.

About the smart electric ecosystem

Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of users’ needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks. Charging ceases when demand for electricity outstrips supply by the grid, thereby optimising the supply of local renewable energy.

In the case of V2G charging, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging, but they will also serve as a means to store energy temporarily.

Once life as a power source for electric vehicles is over, EV batteries continue to be capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy in less demanding environments, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today able to cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, factories, schools and apartment blocks, and even the charging of electric vehicles.

Source: Groupe Renault

Scandinavia’s biggest urban development project is rising in Copenhagen. It’s a lab for future smart energy technologies and an opportunity for Danfoss to demonstrate the art of intelligent and climate-friendly heating and cooling.

During the next 50 years, the Nordhavn district, one of Europe’s largest metropolitan development districts, will host 40,000 new inhabitants as well as 40,000 jobs. Supporting the vision of Copenhagen to be the world’s first CO2 neutral capital, sustainable urban development is integrated into all aspects of the new city district.

The project called EnergyLab Nordhavn will develop and demonstrate energy solutions available for the future. It will show how electricity and heating, energy-efficient buildings and electric transport can be integrated into an intelligent, flexible and optimized energy system based on a large share of renewable energy.

Danfoss leads the way

Danfoss is leading the Nordhavn project about smart components in the integrated energy systems. The purpose is to demonstrate and analyze the technical and economic feasibilities of smart control of specific components and systems – with main functions to provide heat and cooling services in buildings.

The Danfoss technologies for Nordhavn deliver efficiency and flexibility in the energy system and include district heating substations based on ultra-low temperatures, remote-controlled radiator thermostats for the regulation of building space heating, and utilization of surplus heat from a supermarket’s refrigeration system.

Gold certificate

Nordhavn is unique. Due to the highest level of certification on sustainability at district and building level, it’s the only new urban development area to have received gold in the DGNB certification system.

EnergyLab Nordhavn is a key part in reaching Copenhagen’s overall goal of being CO2 neutral by 2025. The Copenhagen district heating system is already one of the world’s largest, oldest and most successful, supplying 98% of the city with clean, reliable and affordable heating.

Improvements in the heating sector in the Danish capital are important to reach vast energy savings and to meet the climate goal. In the past 40 years, energy consumption in Danish buildings has been reduced by 45% per square meter. But if the district heating unit in every property in Copenhagen was operated to its full potential, the city would still be able to use 10% less heat. And that would save the Copenhageners up to $70 m per year on heating bills.

As Greater Copenhagen accounts for 40% of Denmark’s population, solutions in Copenhagen like EnergyLab Nordhavn will contribute substantially to the national targets.

Source: Danfoss

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