Connecting Decentralized Energy Resources (DER) to the network wasn’t a topic in the past. However, Europe´s 100% renewable dream has made it a must for both E.ON customers and grid planners. In the future, not only the connection, but also smart steering of millions of DERs will be vital for the transition into the renewable world.
envelio, a spin-off from RWTH Aachen University, has proved to have a solution to speed up the transition process and solve some of the current grid challenges. Founded in 2017, envelio has developed the Intelligent Grid Platform (IGP) to support distribution system operators (DSOs) in their future challenges and the mass integration of flexibility and decentralized energy resources into the power grid. Their IGP is a modular digital and flexible DSO assistance system with three main application areas: data quality, grid planning and grid operation.
Earlier this month envelio has kicked off their first pilot with E.ON in two regions in Hungary. The pilot is ran in close collaboration with the E.ON Észak-dunántúli Áramhálózati Zrt. in Hungary and the E.ON SE DES innovation team. “With the Hungarian new feed-in tariff system, renewable generation installations from 50 kW to 500 kW are no longer a subject to a public tendering procedure,” says Demijan Panic, Lead of Energy Networks Optimization at E.ON DES team. “The has led to a very large uptake in renewable generation connection requests in Hungary, which has slowed down decentralized energy resources planning, evaluation and enabling processes.”
The Hungarian DSOs currently use monthly estimations to calculate in which areas connections are possible based on a worst-case scenario that might not always give a complete view of the free capacity in the network. They have to evaluate all possible grid expansions measures that can enable the connection of additional units. This is a cumbersome task with a highly repetitive character due to the multitude of similar requests.
envelio´s advanced optimization algorithms and solution methods based on artificial intelligence provide a unique advantage in process speed and scalability. “With the Intelligent Grid Platform, we automate the entire process for connection requests," explains Tobias Falke from envelio. "This includes establishing customer interfaces, performing detailed technical evaluations and identifying suitable grid expansion measures in case of bottlenecks. As a result, the entire process can be handled in a couple of minutes per new grid participant.”
envelio has previously set pilots with German DSOs Westnetz (innogy group) and E.DIS (E.ON group). These two customers have also been converted to long-term customer employing a full grid roll-out of the IGP. The full roll-out comprises grid sizes with more than 65,000 MV/LV stations (Westnetz) and more than 20,000 MV/LV stations (E.DIS), respectively. With Iberdrola and ENEL, some of the largest European DSOs are the first international pilot customers for the IGP.
The startup started working with E.ON after winning E.ON corporate challenge on Energy Networks in April 2018, that was organised by the :agile accelerator and Decentralised Energy Solutions innovation team. The innovative character of the product has also been proven by a series of awards, including the Handelsblatt Energy Awards, the Digital Innovation Competition by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Climate-KIC Top 30 cleantech startups in Europe.