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In order to make the energy transition possible, the Red Eléctrica Group, through its subsidiary Red Eléctrica de España, will invest a total of 3,221 million euros nationwide in the development of the high voltage transmission grid and in electricity system operation. This figure represents just over half (53%) of the total investment of 6 billion euros that the Company plans to make in the coming years as part of its new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and that will focus on the integration of renewables.

Of the more than 3,000 million euros that have been earmarked for the energy transition, 1,538 million will be focused on the integration of clean energy (47%), 908 million on bolstering the reliability of the transmission grids and strengthening security of supply, 434 million will be allocated to continue implementing cutting-edge technological and digital tools, 215 million to boost energy storage projects and 54 million will be earmarked for energy control systems.

Both as the transmission agent and system operator, we work to respond to the needs of the energy transition, providing the technology that enables a smarter system in order to further guarantee the security and quality of supply with a higher share of intermittent renewable generation, and at the same time be able to manage an electricity system that is increasingly more complex and which makes it possible to integrate a greater number of energy sources distributed nationwide.

With regard to the development and strengthening of the transmission grid, the road map for 2019 onwards encompasses a great number of projects, many of which are already in the implementation phase. Many of them are key for achieving the European Union’s targets set out in their energy and environmental policy: for example, the interconnection with France across the Bay of Biscay in order to continue making progress towards reaching the cross-border interconnection capacity target with France set at 10%, or many other projects scattered nationwide focused on integrating new renewable generation and that seek to contribute to achieving a share of 32% of carbon-free energy in the generation mix by 2030.

2018 has seen the start of many of projects aimed at facilitating the energy transition. In this regard and with this objective in mind, the total investment made by the Company in transmission grid development in the last twelve months has amounted to 378.2 million euros.

In 2018, some particularly relevant projects were undertaken:

  • The Canary Islands Wind Energy Plan. This plan encompasses the development of the transmission grid in order to provide it with sufficient connection points and capacity to evacuate new wind energy generation.
  • The Arenal – Cala Blava – Llucmajor axis (Majorca). A project aimed at improving support for electricity distribution in the central area of the island of Majorca and facilitating the integration of renewables.
  • The San Miguel de Salinas – Torrevieja line (Alicante). This project helps provide better electricity supply to Torrevieja, as well as contribute to supporting the distribution network and increasing security of supply.
  • The Cañuelo – Pinar axis (Cádiz). This project helps support the electricity distribution network in the area and helps deal with the high level of demand coming from the Port of Algeciras and the Campo de Gibraltar.
  • The 400/220 kV La Farga substation and the associated incoming and outgoing feeder lines (Girona). This project helps strengthen the existing 220-kV grid by connecting it to the 400-kV grid in order to guarantee the security of supply and to support the electricity distribution network in the province of Girona.
  • The Arbillera line (Zamora). This project is designed to provide power for the high speed ​​train in the Zamora-Ourense railway section.
  • The incoming and outgoing feeder lines of the Moncayo substation (Soria). This project facilitates the evacuation of installed renewable generation capacity in the area and strengthens the guarantee of supply in the province of Soria.

2018 has also brought with it other relevant data that reflect the efforts being made by the Company to help make the energy transition a reality and, in particular, the integration of renewables nationwide. Thus, peninsular electricity generation that produces zero CO2 emissions reached a share of 62.5%, compared to 57% in 2017, representing an increase of 5.5 percentage points. This increase in clean generation resulted in 15% less emissions: going from 63.8 million tonnes in 2017 to 54.2 million tonnes in 2018. With regard to combined cycle and coal-fired technologies, these have decreased their share in the generation mix by 22% and 18%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

Nuclear energy (20.6%) continues to be ranked in the top position within the generation mix, nonetheless, in 2018 it was followed closely by wind energy (19%). As a whole, renewable generation has gone from 33.7% to 40.1% in the peninsular system, representing an increase of 6.4 percentage points. In the complete set of renewable energy technologies, wind represented 49%, hydro 34%, solar 11%, and the other renewable technologies represented 5%. All this data is taken from the ‘Spanish Electricity System – Preliminary Report 2018’ published by Red Eléctrica.

The five pillars of the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

Facilitating the energy transition is just the first of the pillars of the new Strategic Plan of the Red Eléctrica Group. Although the Company is especially focused on this area, in keeping with its key role as transmission agent and operator of the electricity system, there are other goals that it is also undertaking: expanding the telecommunications business to become a strategic global telecom infrastructure operator; expanding its activity abroad in the electricity and telecommunications sectors; becoming a reference in technological innovation in the fields associated with the activities it carries out, and strengthening its operational efficiency and financial soundness.

In order to achieve these goals, the Company will invest a total of 6 billion euros over the next five years based on a balanced business model between the Company’s regulated activities and those operations subject to market risk and by diversifying business in a controlled manner, thereby boosting the expansion of operations in Spain as well as in the international arena. In addition, an improved business structure will be defined and implemented within the Group and the resources of its various subsidiaries will be strengthened.

This new Strategic Plan is the Company’s response to the challenges posed by the transformation of the production system model, marked by sustainability and the technological disruption. Electricity, telecommunications and talent are considered today as the new raw materials of economic development and are also the distinguishing features of Red Eléctrica’s new strategy.

Source: Red Eléctrica de España

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SENER and Acciona Industrial have reached a critical milestone in the construction project of Kathu Solar Park. Namely, the successful synchronization was achieved on 18 November, electric power was generated and transferred on the National grid complying with all expected parameters to ensure the supply of power starts and end users can consume reliable energy once the plant is operational.

The Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant, which will provide clean and reliable energy to 179,000 homes is equipped with a molten salt storage system that will allow the plant to keep producing electricity 4.5 hours steadily in absence of solar radiation and guarantee dispatchable energy generation to meet on demand needs. Likewise, the use of SENERtrough®-2 collectors, a parabolic trough technology designed and patented by SENER, will aim at improving efficiency of the plant.

Mr Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER Southern Africa Regional Managing Director, said: “With the successful first synchronization at Kathu Solar Park we are heading into the final stages of the construction and commissioning phase of the project that will ultimately reach the COD (commercial operation date) for the plant in the next couple of months. Once fully operational, the plant will provide clean energy to the local community of the John Taole District Municipality, the Northern Cape Province and South Africa as a whole. The use of molten salt as thermal energy storage system will allow Kathu Solar Park to operate in a cost-effective manner, storing the generated energy from the sun, producing and dispatching electricity, in absence of solar radiation, to satisfy South Africa’s peak demand. At SENER, our aim is to provide the most innovative technology. It is such innovation that enabled SENER to not only provide clean energy but to ensure that it is also reliable and sustainable.”

Francisco García Bueno, Project Director at Acciona Industrial, said: “For the EPC consortium, plant synchronisation is one of the most important final milestones that will enable us to complete a process that began in 2016, and we achieved it with success and the greatest guarantees. The participation of local companies in the construction of Kathu, as well as Spanish companies, has been key to reaching this milestone. The principle that governs the entire project is that of sustainability in all areas: economic, social and environmental. That is why all activities are planned with the rigour and detail that both Kathu Solar Park and the John Taole District Municipality community demand of us.”

Construction on the unit began in May 2016, and it is expected to be completed in early 2019. During this phase, around 1,200 jobs are being created impacting positively the local employment prospects. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years, and it will foster more local economic development through several project. These include a SENER and Acciona´s fund of R29 300 000, managed by Kelebogile Trust, for the local community that will benefit the area around the municipality of John Taolo Gaetsewe in Northern Cape, in addition to subcontracting other services to local businesses.

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Es la batería de ión-litio más grande utilizada en una aplicación industrial en Australia hasta la fecha

Kokam Co., Ltd, provider of innovative battery solutions, has announced that it has successfully deployed for Alinta Energy, a leading Australian utility, a 30 MW/11.4 MWh Energy Storage System (ESS), the largest lithium ion battery deployed for industrial application in Australia. The ESS features Kokam’s high power Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Oxide battery technology, and is being used to improve the performance of an islanded high voltage network, which supplies power to major iron ore producers in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Hybrid natural gas/battery system increases islanded microgrid’s reliability, efficiency, sustainability

Operational since April 2018, the ESS consists of five 2.2 MWh Kokam Containerized ESS (KCE) units using Kokam Ultra High Power Lithium-ion NMC (UHP NMC) batteries. The ESS, in conjunction with Alinta Energy’s existing 178 MW open cycle gas turbine Newman Power Station, serves as a hybrid natural gas/battery energy generation and storage system. This hybrid system, along with a 220 kV high voltage power transmission system and high voltage substations, form an islanded microgrid that is used to power iron ore mines.

In addition to delivering Alinta Energy the ESS used for the project, Kokam, in partnership with EPC contractor UGL Pty Ltd, also served as the system integrator on the energy storage project. Kokam contracted ABB Australia to supply the ABB PowerStore™ “Virtual Generator” used to manage the microgrid. Adding the ESS to the microgrid will improve Alinta Energy’s ability to reliably deliver energy to the region’s iron ore producers.

Alinta Energy’s hybrid natural gas/energy storage system and islanded microgrid demonstrate how innovative technologies, combined with intelligent design, can improve power reliability for industrial customers, while also providing efficiency and sustainability benefits,” said Ike Hong, vice president of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division. “The Alinta Energy Newman Battery Storage Project provides an example of how new high power energy storage technologies enable both utility and industrial customers to build hybrid natural gas/battery systems that increase energy reliability, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and boost their bottom lines.

Growing utility, industrial market opportunities for UHP NMC battery technology

The Alinta Energy project provides an example of the growing number of utility and industrial market opportunities for Kokam’s UHP NMC battery technology. Designed for high-power energy storage applications, the UHP NMC battery technology can be used by utilities and other energy services companies for spinning reserve, frequency regulation, wind or large solar power system ramp rate control, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), voltage support and other applications that require large amounts of power to be dispatched in seconds or less. In addition, the technology’s ability to quickly receive and dispatch very large amounts of power make it particularly well suited to be combined with natural gas, diesel and other power systems used to generate energy for industrial applications, where even a brief power disruption that shuts down mining, off-shore drilling or other industrial operations can result in costs totaling hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Kokam’s UHP NMC battery technology cost-effectively and reliably delivers the high power needed for these utility and industrial applications, thanks to the technology’s:

High discharge rate: UHP NMC battery technology has a max discharge rate of 10C, compared 3C for competitors. This enables UHPNMC batteries to dispatch more power when needed.
High energy density: The UHP NMC battery technology’s high energy density enables up to 3.77 MWh of energy storage to be installed in a 40 foot container, compared to 3 MWh of energy storage for standard NMC batteries, allowing more energy to be stored in a smaller space.
Long cycle life: UHP NMC batteries can last up to 10,000 cycles, compared to 3,000 – 5,000 cycles for standard NMC technologies, increasing the energy storage system’s expected life.
Improved heat dissipation: With a heat dissipation rate that is 1.6 times better than standard NMC technologies, UHP NMC batteries can be used at a higher rate for longer periods of time with no degradation in battery life or performance.

Source: Kokam

Acciona Energia has received the first ever prototype certificate for a grid-scale energy storage solution by DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body. The handover of the certificate took place at the American Wind Energy Association’s 2018 Windpower Conference in Chicago.

To explore the possibilities of grid-scale storage, Acciona Energia started up a hybrid plant for storing electricity in batteries as part of its grid-connected wind farm at Barasoain in Navarra, northern Spain.

The plant in Barásoain is equipped with a storage system that consists of two batteries located in separate containers: one fast-response battery of 1 MW/0.39 MWh (capable of maintaining 1 MW of power for 20 minutes) and another slower-response battery with greater autonomy (0.7 MW/0.7 MWh, maintaining 0.7 MW for 1 hour). Both have Samsung SDI Li-ion technology connected to a 3-MW AW116/3000 wind turbine of Acciona Windpower (Nordex Group) technology, from which they capture the energy to be stored. The wind turbine is one of five that make up the Experimental Wind Farm at Barásoain, operated by the company since 2013. The entire system is managed by control software developed in-house by Acciona Energia and is monitored in real time by the company’s Renewable Energies Control Center (CECOER).

The storage plant introduced by Acciona has now become the first in the world to undergo system-level certification. The certification process was carried out in line with the GRIDSTOR Recommended Practice, which is based on industry standards and considers safety, performance and reliability for grid-connected energy storage systems.

Key element

Energy storage is a key element in the transition to a more sustainable energy mix. It allows renewable sources such as wind and solar power to operate at full capacity during peak generation periods by storing excess energy until it is needed to meet later demand. While many energy storage technologies are well established at smaller scales, their application at grid-scale is still in its early days.
“The market for grid-scale energy storage systems is relatively unexplored, but we see rapid developments. Certifying new systems like Acciona’s grid-scale storage plant demonstrates that pioneering projects like this are meeting the required safety, performance and reliability standards and providing the industry with confidence in the quality of emerging new technologies,” said Kim Mørk, Executive Vice President, Renewables Certification at DNV GL.

Mørk added that “as part of our commitment to helping the industry transition to a low-carbon energy mix while maintaining safety and reliability of supply, we focus our efforts to develop industry guidelines on grid-scale energy storage to help designers, manufacturers, investors, insurers and authorities mitigate risks and control costs in energy storage projects”.

For his part, Rafael Esteban, CEO Acciona Energy USA Global LLC, said that “our company is at the forefront of the energy transition through our solutions to facilitate the integration of variable-generation renewables into the grid and manage the power produced. Adding the energy storage plant to our Barasoain Experimental Wind Farm will improve the quality of energy sent to the grid, allow us to explore other applications for balancing supply and demand and create a path for commercial storage solutions in our wind power projects.

With any emerging technology, technology qualification and certification is essential in understanding and managing risk”, added Esteban.“In the near future, the bodies involved in the approval and financing of storage systems worldwide will demand these certificates. Acciona also wants to be a pioneer in this area. By applying for certification from such a solvent entity as DNV GL, we can guarantee that our plant fulfils all the conditions to operate with full confidence.”

Source: Acciona

AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power supply systems and solutions for industrial, critical infrastructure environmentsand innovative power electronic applications, today announced that swb Erzeugung AG & Co. KG (swb) a Bremen-based German utility chose its innovative concept of combining battery energy storage and power-to-heat for its primary-frequency control power operations. This service is provided to grid-operators to stabilize the grid and is increasingly needed as renewable sources are integrated.

In this hybrid system, energy is stored both in a battery system and an electrical heating system which are connected to the power converter. These are controlled as one unit to provide the required bidirectional power flow (to or from the grid) to balance the frequency and ultimately to ensure the stabilization of the grid.

AEG Power Solutions designed this unique concept based on its power electronic expertise. The patent is currently under review. The company has engineered the complete solution and will provide swb with 24 storage converters integrated in ISO-metal sheet containers together with an hybrid storage option, low-voltage distribution cabinets, auxiliary power supply as well as medium voltage transformers and the heating system in separate enclosures.

This hybrid storage system significantly reduces the cost of primary-frequency power operation. First, the required battery capacity is significantly smaller compared to a conventional battery-only system (approx. 50%), and the second source of storage (heating)is considerably less expensive. Additionally, power electronics and all components for grid connection (e.g. transformer) are used twice by utilizing both storage systems which contributes to minimizing installation hardware costs.

This improves the pay back for the operators of the system and helps to reduce grid fees which is of general public interest.

The facility will be installed on site by May 2018.

Source: AEG Power Solutions

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AES Dominicana announced that it brought online 20 MW of new battery-based energy storage arrays at two sites in the Dominican Republic, which played a key role in maintaining grid reliability in September when Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island. The two 10 MW arrays, which were supplied by AES Energy Storage, are the first of their kind in Central America and the Caribbean. Located on sites in the Santo Domingo region, both arrays are providing critical grid reliability services for the island by improving the efficiency and contributing to the stability of the Dominican Republic’s interconnected national electricity system (SENI).

AES Dominicana is using its Andres and Los Mina DPP Advancion energy storage arrays to provide fast, accurate frequency control to the Dominican grid, balancing second-to-second variations between electricity consumed and produced. By adding energy storage instead of utilizing existing thermal power plants to maintain frequency, the Dominican grid operator can enable the power plants on the island to run at their most efficient generating level while the battery systems absorb and discharge energy on the grid as needed. AES Dominicana’s 20 MW of energy storage is providing fast-response, critical reliability services that would otherwise be performed by a traditional thermal power plant three times the size.

In September 2017, the Dominican grid operator put the two energy storage arrays to a critical test: asking AES Dominicana to keep them online and operational to ensure grid reliability as two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, each approached the island. Both energy storage arrays performed more than double the amount of work during the storms as normal, helping keep the Dominican grid operating during category 3 and 4 hurricane conditions, even as nearly 40 and 55 percent of the island’s power plants were forced offline during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, respectively.

From supplying day-to-day balancing services and flexible peaking capacity to making island grids more resilient in the face of extreme weather events, advanced energy storage can provide island utilities with the critical and cost-effective flexible resource they need to provide reliable power to their communities.

Source: AES Energy Storage

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi symbolically inaugurated the first phase of Siemens’ megaproject in Egypt. The event marks an important milestone towards the completion of the project, which will boost the country’s power generation capacity by 45 percent when finished. Together with its local partners, Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, Siemens broke all records in modern power plant construction by connecting 4.8 GW of new capacity to the grid in only 18 months after the signing of the contract for the company’s biggest single order ever.

Complementary to the megaproject, Siemens supports the development of future highly skilled Egyptian workforce, and has announced the details of a strategic alliance agreement between Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the company to support occupational training in Egypt. The announcement was made by Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG at an event, which was attended by local officials and business leaders.

 

As part of the agreement, Siemens will join forces with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of BMZ, for the establishment and the operation of a joint training center as well as the strengthening of one selected Egyptian public vocational training institute. The program was designed in line with Egypt’s objectives outlined in “Egypt Vision 2030” to promote long-term economic growth, create new jobs and increase the competiveness of Egyptian industries.

Occupational training and the development of local skills are crucial to boosting local growth and increasing hiring prospects in the power industry and other sectors of the economy. For instance, in the energy sector alone, more than 20,000 workers and technicians are engaged at Siemens’ three power plant sites during implementation.

The new training center will serve as a sustainable vocational and industry-specific training provider that enriches the country’s technical talent pool. When completed, the approximately 2,000 square meter facility, which will be built in the Ain Sokhna area, will serve to train 5,500 selected technicians and engineers over four years. Career starters will be trained in advanced skills such as operation, maintenance, and repair in the energy sector; in addition to vast range of cross-industrial electrical and mechanical trades; automation and control, mechatronics as well as other areas that are important for the Egyptian economy.

Located at the New Suez Canal Development Zone, the facility will offer the latest technology, simulating ‘real-life’ conditions, using a variety of training courses and different approaches to prepare technicians and engineers throughout the region with specific skills that will be needed in their careers.

Siemens and GIZ will also strengthen one public vocational training institute, following the example of the German vocational education system to meet future professional and business demands. Successful graduates will be offered the opportunity to join the BMZ-Siemens training center and later on have the chance to join the expanding industry sectors in Egypt.

The construction of the training center is scheduled to begin in 2017, with the facility scheduled to open in 2018. Siemens is one of Germany’s largest private educational institutions with training programs for 9,000 apprentices and university students.

The construction works for Siemens’ megaproject in Egypt are enormous. More than 1,600,000 tons of material – including 960,000 tons of concrete and 48,000 tons of rebar steel – will be processed until completion. At Beni Suef, massive excavation works were necessary to prepare the site, leading to the removal of around 1,750,000 m3 of rocks. This is equivalent to the volume of the smaller Giza pyramid. When completed, each of the three power plants, located at Beni Suef, New Capital and Burullus, is set to become the biggest gas-fired combined-cycle power station in the world. Altogether, the three power plants will have a combined capacity of 14.4 GW.

To increase the capacity of the transmission network nationwide, Siemens has successfully put the first three substations into operation that will transmit the electricity generated by the three power plants to Egypt’s power grid. The three substations, Etay El-Baroud, Maghagha and Kafr El Zayat, were ready for operation within ten months from signing the contracts, to match the implementation timeframe of the power plants. In December 2016, Siemens and El Sewedy Electric T&D, signed a contract with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) for the design, engineering, supply and installation of six substations, located in the cities of Maghagha, Etay El-Baroud, Banha, Wadi El-Natroun, Assiut and Kafr El Zayat. The remaining substations will be completed and connected to the grid by the end of December 2017.

Siemens’ megaproject in Egypt also comprises 9-year service and maintenance agreements for the three power plants to help ensure the long-term reliability, availability and optimal performance of the units. The service and maintenance operations will be supported by Siemens digital services products and offerings, tapping into the company’s advanced data analytics.

Financing was also an important source of support for the megaproject: The financing package for the Siemens part of the contracts was structured by Siemens Financial Services (SFS). It also included a tailored guarantee concept. The financing of major parts of Siemens’ and its local partners’ scope, for the three power plants, was provided by a consortium of international and regional banks. The credit facilities are largely covered by Export Credit Agencies.

Source: Siemens

ABB has announced a modular and scalable “plug and play” microgrid solution to address the globally growing demand for flexible technology in the developing market for distributed power generation. The cost-efficient, containerized solution is relevant for mature and emerging countries, for rural and urban applications, and will help maximize the use of renewable energy sources while reducing dependence on fossil fuels used by generator sets.

ABB’s innovative technology with the PowerStore Battery and the dedicated Microgrid Plus control system as well as cloud-based remote service can not only provide power access to remote areas, but also secure cost-efficient uninterrupted power supply to communities and industries during both planned and unplanned power outages from the main grid supply.

 

All the equipment required to run the microgrid – ABB’s power converter and dedicated control system, Microgrid Plus, as well as battery storage – has been integrated into a container for faster, easier and safer deployment. The customer can choose to configure the microgrid to integrate energy from solar, wind, main grid or diesel generator supply, based on the application and local conditions.

ABB’s modular microgrid is compact and has four pre-designed variants in the range of 50 kW to 4,600 kW, to meet varying customer needs. The standard integrated functionalities include grid-connected and off-grid operation with seamless transition. It is a containerized solution designed for easy transpor-tation, fast installation and commissioning onsite. Operations and maintenance is enabled via a cloud-based remote service system, another example of ABB’s clear positioning as a pioneering technology leader driving the energy and fourth industrial revolutions.

Source: ABB

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The range of Eiffage Energía’s activities outside Spain started when it began the process of internationalisation of its business lines in 2008, with the construction in Amareleja (Portugal) of the most innovative, ever growing, photovoltaic solar plant so far.

Currently, Eiffage has subsidiaries in Mexico and Chile and its presence on the European continent is still unstoppable. Now, it has also just completed its first project in a new continent: Africais now on the map of its activities, a milestone within its electrical infrastructure works demonstrating the company’s good health.

Thus, Eiffage Energía has successfully tackled its first job on African soil in an overseas department belonging to France and located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar: Reunion Island: There it has carried out the expansion of the electricity transmission network of the island through a 66 kV double circuit Simplex line and approximately 44 km of extension.

The implementation of the work entrusted to the company Électricité De France (EDF), was divided into three sections of line that will connect the substation of Saint-Paul and the factory Gol in Saint Louis . The third of these sections, which comprises the Saint-Leu terminal and the factory Gol in Saint Louis, was finally isla-reunion-2awarded to Eiffage Energie Transport et Distribution, its commissioning taking place last Saturday 28 May. Meanwhile, Eiffage Travaux Publics, another of the subsidiaries of the Eiffage Group, has been responsible for all the necessary civil works in the project.

Eiffage Energía’s participation in the expansion of Reunion Island’s electricity network has been the assembling and hoisting with cranes of 45 supports, and by helicopter, the laying of optic fibre and conductors in a total of 12.58 km, for which it has counted on the specialised work and experience of a team of 25 people.

 

Source: Eiffage Energia

Consultants at Ecofys have recently carried out a study for EURIMA, the European Association of Insulation Manufacturers, to assess the role that energy efficient buildings can play in Europe’s future power system, as these buildings have the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency on the supply side.

The heating sector is currently expecting electrification due to the growth in electric heat pumps to supply heating (and cooling) to the EU’s building stock. This will require significant investments in electricity production capacities and a consequent strengthening of the grid. These investments could be reduced through energy efficiency measures that lead to a decrease in the energy demand of buildings. As such highly efficient buildings offer benefits to the power systems in two ways:

By reducing energy demand: this translates into a reduction of the system peak and a corresponding reduction in generation and grid infrastructure investments. Furthermore, it leads to a reduction in the amount of energy that needs to be generated and transmitted and ultimately to a reduction of the system’s operational costs and associated losses.

By providing the grid with increased flexibility: the flexibility of heat demand refers to the ability of heat pumps to change their operation without affecting temperature comfort levels inside the building. Typically, highly efficient buildings have a higher capacity to change heating operation over time, as a well-insulated building envelope can maintain the desired stable room temperature over a longer period, even when the heating system is turned off. This increased flexibility can translate into a reduction in the peak demand and to a reduction in system losses by reducing marginal losses.

The study reveals (comparing the situation in 2050 with a high efficiency scenario to that of a low efficiency scenario) that a highly energy efficient building stock, via a reduction in the peak loads of electric heat pumps and the ability to change heating demand over time (as highly efficient building envelopes can keep the desired room temperature stable for a longer period when the energy supply is interrupted), has the capacity to significantly reduce the necessary peak capacities and avoid distribution losses.

The reduction in peak load from the reduced electricity demand for electric heat pumps due to energy efficient buildings is 57 GW. This matches the current total electricity production capacity (renewable and non-renewable) of Austria and the Netherlands combined. The impact of energy efficiency on the flexibility of the power systems leads to an additional reduction in peak load of the EU’s power system of around 12 GW. This is a lower limit of impact, as in practice grid operators have to balance demand and supply not at EU level but at national/regional boundary level (with less options to balance), which translates into higher peak load savings from the gained flexibilities.

Moreover, the huge fluctuation of the growing share of renewable electricity production will further increase the need for flexibility on the demand side. In financial terms, the total CAPEX savings in 2050 could amount to €73bn (impact of the reduced electricity demand for electric heat pumps by high efficiency buildings) plus an additional €16bn (impact of the increased flexibility of running heat pumps in highly efficient buildings) resulting in a total CAPEX reduction of €89bn in 2050 (and up to €153bn if more national/regional limits are taken into account).

As a consequence, highly energy efficient buildings (both new and deep retrofit buildings) not only generate benefits at building level itself but can also deliver benefits at electricity system level, thus supporting a robust future energy system.

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