Storage systems play a vital role in balancing out fluctuating electricity feed-in derived from renewable sources. Coordinating these battery systems – be they located in a bakery, an auto manufacturer or a sewage plant – to ensure that the highest share of renewables is used in Germany’s regional grid supply requires powerful software solutions. Two recently-completed research projects funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy highlight the central role digital solutions must play in controlling these systems.
The combined field-study/simulation model was adopted in the project “Wind-Solar-Heat Pump Quarter". Here the Institute for Solar Energy Research Hameln (ISFH) investigated how the share of renewables from wind and solar in two residential quarters in Lower Saxony and Bavaria (known as the “Zuse Community”) could be increased using thermal and electrical storage in combination with heat pumps. "The results showed that with well-chosen operational management, it is possible to achieve a very high degree of regional coverage with renewable energies that exceeds the 80 percent mark," says Dr Tobias Ohrdes, head of the ISFH working group Electrical Energy Systems.
Within the scope of the ENERA research project, the OFFIS IT institute demonstrated how decentralised systems owned by independents can “self-organise” the way they feed electricity in using “software agents”. "Such software agents can make decisions autonomously and they can also be controlled very well," explains Dr Martin Tröschel, OFFIS co-group leader for “Distributed Artificial Intelligence” in a . The agents decided when the battery units would release the charged energy – for example, during load peaks to smooth out supply – and they achieved this successfully in a field test.