Demand-side management must become a significant element of the European energy market if the EU’s ambition to build a low-carbon economy is to be realized. The latest survey of European smart grid projects by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) points out the importance of this requirement. Smart Grid Projects in Europe: Lessons Learned and Current Developments (2012 update), a follow-up to a similar study carried out in 2011, notes that a majority of the 281 projects covered focus on “distributed ICT architectures for coordinating distributed resources and providing demand and supply flexibility.”
One of the latest projects to join the roster of demand-side management pilots is the Danish city of Kalundborg. The fact that Denmark already obtains 30% of its electricity from wind power – and targets 50% by 2020 – is making such projects an increasingly urgent requirement for the country.
Kalundborg has a population of around 16,000 within a local kommune (or municipality) of the same name extending to 50,000 people. Its relatively small size belies the fact that it is the second-largest industrial region in Denmark after Copenhagen. It is also notable for its long established cross-industry program, Kalundborg Symbiosis. This program has evolved over several decades as an integrated system for waste recycling within the local industrial system. Residual products from one industry, such as steam, dust, gases, heat, slurry, or any other waste products, are physically exchanged between enterprises, thereby reducing energy consumption, production costs, and environmental damage.
Smart City Kalundborg is a 3-year smart grid pilot with a budget of $18 million. Launched in November 2012, the project is led by Danish utility SEAS-NVE, Dansk Energi (Danish Energy Association), Spirae, and the municipality of Kalundborg. Other participants in the project include ABB, CleanCharge, Clever, Danfoss, Gaia Solar, DONG Energy, Gridmanager, and Schneider Electric. Smart City Kalundborg will look at the integration of energy management across power, water, heating, transport, and building systems. This entire system will be based on an open, intelligent platform called the Energy Services Hub. The Hub will enable diverse participants to make specific energy resources available to the system via a publish-and-subscribe model. An individual enterprise, water utility, or demand aggregator, for example, could use the platform to offer a specified demand response capacity to grid operators looking to manage fluctuations in power supply or reduce the need for network reinforcement.
The technical and market challenges to delivering such a system at a city scale are significant, of course. However, the biggest question may be who is in the best position to operate such an Energy Services Hub. One solution would be a joint venture between a municipality, one or more utilities, and a platform operator, but other models are possible.
Smart City Kalundborg is an innovative approach to deepening the connection between smart grids and smart cities. While Kalundborg has much in common with other market-focused demand management projects in Europe, it differs in its attempt to include a wider range of city operations, including water management, transportation, and district heating. Kalundborg Symbiosis has provided a synergistic network for the industrial system; Smart City Kalundborg project could provide a similar network for the local energy system.
Tags: Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Policy & Regulation, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Smart Industry Program
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