Increase flexibility and reduce dependency on fossil-based energy
Microgrids come in two main varieties: those connected to the main grid, and isolated microgrids. Integrating renewable energy is a priority for both types of microgrids. For microgrids connected to the main grid, greater flexibility is crucial, as it will enable local management of fluctuating renewable energy production, reduce energy spending, and help make communities more energy-independent. On a larger scale, flexibility can help main grids compensate for intermittent renewable energy supplies. The EU encourages distribution system operators to leverage the flexibility provided by prosumers (individuals and businesses that both produce and consume energy). Isolated microgrids are found in environments like islands and rural areas. Renewable energy has a major role to play in these grids, enabling them to deliver clean, affordable energy while reducing dependency on fossil-based energy. These microgrids also constitute a major societal challenge, one that will bring export opportunities for the technologies supported by the cluster.
Tenerrdis’ 2022 objectives
Tenerrdis has set the objective of becoming a leader on the economic, social, and industrial frameworks related to microgrids and, in the process, facilitating the expansion of renewable energy.
key challenges adressed by tenerrdis
Microgrids respond to a variety of challenges:
- Environmental, by supporting the massive introduction of renewable energy and by aggregating the flexibility provided by prosumers so that it can contribute to the rollout of renewables without compromising on the reliability of the grid.
- Local development policy, by bringing together all stakeholders to contribute to the design and implementation of system-level multi-energy projects. The stakeholders involved will drive advanced investigations of community energy-independence and the associated governance structures for these energy communities.
- Economic, and, in particular, export development. Energy distribution system operators around the world (weak grids, emerging countries, island grids) will gain business opportunities from development in this area. They will be able to maintain their economic optimization goals while minimizing their carbon footprint.
INCENTIVE-BASED PUBLIC POLICIES
The EU encourages distribution system operators to leverage the flexibility offered by prosumers. This flexibility can help operators limit or postpone capital expenditures—which ultimately come out of taxpayers’ pockets.
At the national level, microgrids have been identified by the National Council for Industry’s working groups on New Energy Systems as a foundational issue. The working group on microgrids has established the objective of developing exportable microgrid-type solutions, evidence of the international relevance of this Strategic Focus Area.
At the regional level, one of the pillars of the region’s energy strategy is to support communities in their efforts to reduce energy consumption, implement renewable energy, and initiate local energy harvesting projects. Several electricity-related authorities are investigating the renewal of their contracts with grid operators. The region is working closely with energy agency Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energie Environnement, which has close relationships with local communities and which is involved in several EU microgrid projects.
Collaborative R&D project GreenLys, which was set up to build a city-scaled smart-grid demonstrator, is just one example of the issues inherent to microgrids. The more recent GREAT (GREnoble Alps Together) project takes advantage of the sharing economy to promote the ecological, energy, and digital transitions at the local level.