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QUIRINUS project: Preventing critical situations in the power grid

Everyday life and an efficient economy are unthinkable without a stable electricity supply. With the extension of renewable energy sources, distribution networks in future will often reach the limits of their capabilities. It will become more difficult for them to match electricity supply and demand. Critical network conditions can result, leading to supply bottlenecks and power cuts. The QUIRINUS joint project aims to enable distribution system operators with their generation, consumption and storage facilities to guarantee the stability and reliability of the electricity supply and to make possible the efficient use of renewable energies.

Everyday life and an efficient economy are unthinkable without a stable electricity supply. With the extension of renewable energy sources, distribution networks in future will often reach the limits of their capabilities. It will become more difficult for them to match electricity supply and demand. Critical network conditions can result, leading to supply bottlenecks and power cuts. The QUIRINUS joint project aims to enable distribution system operators with their generation, consumption and storage facilitOver the next three years, QUIRINUS is developing solutions intended to provide a stable and sustainable electricity supply. Eight businesses and two universities have joined the project on the initiative of SME Management GmbH from the Rhine-Erft District. The project is based in Heppendorf in the Innovationsregion Rheinisches Revier (IRR – Rhineland Innovation Region) between Aachen and Cologne. The IRR has traditionally been predominantly industrial and commercial in character – and the share of renewable energy sources here is only around 3 per cent.ies to guarantee the stability and reliability of the electricity supply and to make possible the efficient use of renewable energies.

Engine for progress:

  • Providing system services from the virtual power station
  • Avoiding critical situations in the power grid
  • Improved integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid
  • Regional balancing of power generation and consumption

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Photo: digitalnature GmbH

Prototype of the control centre for the virtual power station. From here, critical situations in the power network will be avoided by implementing a real time-based management of the increasingly decentralised generation and storage facilities as well as flexibly controllable consumer installations.



Until now, a few large power stations have been feeding the power they generated at central locations into the electricity grids. With the expansion of renewable energy sources, which is also demanded by the German Federal Government, this system is radically changing: in the place of high constant feed-in amounts at a small number of places, now power, widely varying over time, is fed into the grid from many decentralised points. But the distribution networks are not yet adapted for that. In order to avoid critical conditions in the grid and so guarantee security of supply even with increasing shares of renewably generated electricity, in future both power producers and consumers must adopt appropriate systemically relevant functions and services.

Virtual power station connects decentralised installations

Many of the associated technical and management-related challenges are still widely unknown. This issue is being tackled by the QUIRINUS project partners and they are testing a ‘systemically relevant, distribution grid-ready virtual power station’ (vkw++) for the Rhineland. This connects all available decentralised power generation installations, power storage facilities and flexibly controllable electricity consumers over an information and communication network so as to enable real time-based management. The data collected from the individual installations are bundled at a central location and used to control the balance of electricity supply and demand and ensure the stability of the grid. For example, research will be carried out to establish from real-time system interventions how renewable energy installations can contribute to maintaining the grid voltage and what output parameters they must make available for this purpose.

Controlling electricity flows in real time

A control centre will be established In Heppendorf. There, for the first time, the energy flows from each installation and the distribution network will be visualised and managed. This allows energy surpluses or bottlenecks in the grid to be spotted early and suitable stabilising measures to be introduced.
QUIRINUS contributes to the successful energy transition by making the existing distribution network fit for the further expansion of renewable energy sources. This means not only that the green electricity share in the grid can further increase with security of supply safeguarded, but also, through the smart linking of the installations, that eco-electricity in the region will be more efficiently used and there will be less need to extend the distribution network.
 


Photo: digitalbynature GmbH

"With the QUIRINUS Project, we have taken on the task of actively engaging in the energy transition and the future of power distribution. The special thing about the project is the unique kind of collaboration of three distribution network operators and RWE Power as well as partners from business and research. This means that the essential part of the energy supply business in energy-rich NRW is involved. Within the framework of the project, we are jointly working out functioning solutions for the future!"
René Schmitz, Project Leader, Regionetz GmbH
 




Partners and sponsors


Partners:
  • regionetz GmbH
  • INFRAWEST GmbH
  • Leitungspartner GmbH
  • 2G Energy AG
  • Fachhochschule Aachen
  • Solar-Institut Jülich
  • ewi Energy Research & Scenarios (ER&S)
  • SAE IT-systems GmbH & Co.KG
  • RWE Power AG
  • STORNETIC GmbH
Sponsors:
  • Landesregierung NRW
  • EFRE NRW

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