The renewable energy related goals set out by the German government are challenging: the share of renewable energy in relation to the gross energy consumption in Germany is to exceed 50% by 2030. Innovative concepts and grid orientated integration of renewable energy sources is required to achieve that goal.
In particular the installation of new wind power and photovoltaic capacity is a driving factor in the transformation of the energy supply system. Usually such plants are connected to the distribution grid and they pose new challenges to established systems, usually leading to high upgrade costs. This fact necessitates the investigation of novel grid structures and operating procedures. At the same time, we need competitive solutions for renewable energy systems that an economically viable without government incentives.
IREN2 accepts these challenges and investigates possible solutions.
In particular we propose two solution approaches that allow the integration of renewable energy sources in distribution grids. On the one hand we propose micro-grids with islanding capabilities to allow a coupling of certain grid regions. The micro-grid gives operational security in the presence of a fault in the parent network layers. On the other hand, we propose the concept of topological power plants. Topological power plants describe grid sections, whose generator and consumer loads can be controlled as whole, mimicking a conventional power plant. As a topological power plant, a grid section can add to the overall system stability in the distribution grid and resume responsibility from conventional power plants.
IREN2 has three main goals:
1. Regulation conform integration of operational strategies and energy markets
2. Demonstrate the feasibility of micro-grids as island grids
3. Use of micro-grids as topological power plants
Within the project, these grid structures will be investigated from an economical and technological point of view. The investigation in respect to economic criteria will focus on cost-effective extension variants as well as the analysis of operational strategies. The technical part of the investigation will focus on grid stability and protection concepts.
Test and validation will be conducted in a distribution grid section in the Allgäu. This region features a high penetration with renewable energy sources and, due to the predecessor project IREN2, is already equipped with sensory and measurement devices as well as novel equipment, e.g. Lithion-Ion battery storage. The share of renewable energy sources in this region is well above the goal set by the federal government of Germany for 2020. It therefore provides an ideal test-bed for novel energy concepts.