Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia


   Infocentre

Published: 14 August 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Energy
Environment
Research policySeventh Framework Programme
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Austria  |  Czech Republic  |  Germany  |  Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Slovenia  |  Switzerland
Add to PDF "basket"

How EU engineers are creating stability in the renewable energy market

A group of EU-funded engineers from across the continent has created a system to help stabilise electricity grids across Europe and ensure a steady energy supply for decades to come.

Picture of solar palenls and windmill

© Eyematrix - fotolia.com

Generating electricity and distributing it to households, businesses and public services is an increasingly complicated business. In 2004, just over 8 % of energy consumed in the EU came from renewable sources. That figure has now doubled, and the share of renewables is as high as 36 % in Latvia and 35 % in Sweden. The shift from fossil fuels is great news for the environment, but presents major challenges when it comes to ensuring a steady energy supply.

Electricity can only be stored in relatively small quantities. That means most of the electricity generated has to be used at that moment in time. With reliable but dirty coal, network operators can plan in advance how much electricity will need to be produced on a particular day. But renewables, such as wind and solar power, are unpredictable – you cannot control how brightly the sun will shine.

This means energy operators need to rely on a greater number of renewable power plants to make sure the network is covered. They need to accurately calculate the risk involved, so they can quickly respond to unexpected turns in the weather.

Liberalising the energy market

Other factors have also created instability in the network. After a number of nationalised energy companies were privatised in the late 1990s, the supply of energy became much more responsive to market forces. If a large nuclear plant in France goes offline, for example, the real-time energy price shoots up, and any power plant – from a large coal-fired station in Poland to a community-run wind turbine in Germany – can sell its energy to the market. Supply problems arise when the system does not respond quickly enough, and the requisite resources are not available.

The integration of more countries, such as Turkey, into the European energy market has created further complications, as all these territories need to measure the amount of risk in the market using the same standards.

Planning for the best

To deal with these uncertainties, the team of engineers working on the EU-funded UMBRELLA project has created a ‘toolbox’ of complex algorithms that help energy network operators better assess their options when it comes to predicting how much energy they will need to supply the next day, and where it will come from.

“The toolbox provides a much more advanced way for coping with uncertainties in planning, such as power cuts and fluctuations in demand,” explains project leader Helmut Paeschke.

The algorithms, or small software programs, also enable energy operators to give the risk involved with decisions about energy supply a numerical value. Previously, they could determine only whether a particular decision would be ‘secure’ or ‘insecure’. The numerical scale will also make it easier for regulators to draw up common standards for energy networks across Europe.

Although the initial project is now over, Paeschke’s team is continuing to create software that will enable the toolbox to be exported beyond Europe’s borders.

“Our methodologies can be applied to any energy transmission system in the world,” he says.

Project details

  • Project acronym: UMBRELLA
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria
  • Project N°: 282775
  • Total costs: € 5 302 764
  • EU contribution: € 3 863 811
  • Duration: January 2012 to December 2015

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details


  Top   Research Information Center
 
Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia