E.ON is part of the IELECTRIX (Indian and European Local Energy CommuniTies for Renewable Integration and the Energy Transition) project, funded by the European Union with €7.9 million: 14 project partners from nine EU countries and the Indian energy utility TATA Power will together develop mobile storage as a fast and cost-effective solution to local distribution network challenges.
The changing energy world means that electricity is fed into the grid from numerous decentralized generation plants and that electricity generation is becoming increasingly volatile. E.ON is already investing around €1.6 billion per year across Europe to make its grids fit for the energy revolution – and the figure is rising. However, network expansion not only costs money, it also takes time. In networks with a high share of renewable energies, planning the necessary grid expansion can take years until implementation.
That's why, as part of IELECTRIX, E.ON is working with consortium leader ENEDIS and other partners to develop mobile, targeted, and flexibly deployable storage systems. By using storage facilities, excess green electricity can be stored and made available again as required. The mobile storage facilities can avoid grid bottlenecks in the distribution grid at short notice and reduce the shutdown of decentralized energy generation plants. The time until the necessary expansion of the distribution network can be bridged by using mobile storage, and the flexibility in the network can be increased. Once the network has been successfully expanded, the storage facility is moved to the next location. Mobile storage facilities will be used temporarily throughout Europe, especially where the amount of green electricity fed into the grid increases significantly in a short period of time – often in rural regions.
Thomas König, E.ON board member responsible for the grid business, says: "IELECTRIX is intended to advance the energy system transformation far beyond Germany – namely throughout Europe – and contribute to making it affordable. We'll do that if the expansion of renewables and the expansion of grids go hand in hand. By using mobile storage facilities, we can avoid bottlenecks and bridge the time until the necessary grid expansion takes place. This will enable us to avoid the shutdown of green energy generation plants and thus reduce the costs for our customers."
In addition to developing technical solutions, a concept is also on the agenda that will enable customers to make their own contribution to energy system transformation and benefit from it. For example, those who produce electricity themselves within a Citizen Energy Community and share it with their neighbors should also benefit. So far, there is no European business model for such regional energy systems. With the help of new, yet to be created EU regulations, a pan-European market for mobile storage is to be established in order to balance production and consumption in the grid locally.
E.ON Hungary and E.DIS Netz are also participating in the project. IELECTRIX is part of the EU's largest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The project started on May 1st, 2019 and will run for three and a half years.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 824392.