Countless hours of research, planning and development have gone into ensuring Germany’s transition to a low-carbon energy supply runs smoothly, but what happens in the event of a power blackout? The protocol to date has been for power plants to shut down temporarily and for backup diesel generators to take over. But a new approach, which is under development in Bavaria, is to use renewable energy sources to continue the electricity supply in emergencies.
The award-winning project, which began in 2015 and is now entering its second phase, is called LINDA (standing for “Local Island Grid Supply and Accelerated Grid Reconstruction with Decentralised Generation Plants in the Event of Large-scale Power Outages”). Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, it brings the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Munich Technical University together with electricity producers and gird operators from Bavaria including LEW Verteilnetz (LVN), LEW Wasserkraft für die Obere Donau Kraftwerke AG (ODK).
LINDA 2.0 is split into two sub-projects that will be running in parallel until 2024. The first looks at how renewable energy plants – such as hydropower and photovoltaics – could continue to supply power to a local “island” grid in a decentralised way in the event of a power failure. The operators will also fit the emergency diesel generator set with an additional battery that can store surplus electricity and release it when necessary. The aim is to greatly reduce the amount of diesel used and therefore improve the CO2 balance. Moreover, such a hybrid genset could potentially supply a greater number of households than a conventional one.
The second sub-project is focused on automating the fallback power supply so that it is possible to kick into emergency mode remotely, without the need for having staff on site. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is funding LINDA 2.0 under the Energy Systems Research programme.