Microgrids become increasingly independent of the grid when there is communal storage and increased local self-consumption/peer-to-peer trading.
Components & enablers
The most important enablers for local energy markets are:
- A well-functioning ICT solution (marketplace)
- Removing regulatory barriers
- Energy data from DSO/smart metering
- A unified approach – currently, local energy markets are piecemeal projects (i.e. not coordinated), even within the same country
State of the art in application and research
The EMPOWER project built and developed a microgrid in Hvaler, Norway. The “energy community” consisted of residential prosumers, a municipal recycling facility and office buildings. The large communal battery and local generation and consumption provided by the local energy market platform made the microgrid able to be self-sufficient for up to 20 hours. The system operator could disconnect the microgrid in case of a major system or grid event without incurring large expenses or consequences for the customers in the microgrid.
The pilot in Hvaler was successful, but the required battery technology and instalments were too expensive for large-scale testing or deployment. Further research could look into a system consisting of several similar cells, able to be increasingly independent of the grid. Due to very large production from PVs in the period when the microgrid was disconnected, PV production had to be curtailed.
Flexens has identified the opportunity to develop and build a full society scale energy system based on renewables on Åland – an island with ideal wind and solar conditions, an ambitious climate- and energy strategy as well as a population dedicated to sustainability.
The LEMENE smart grid is an energy self-sufficient grid will mainly operate as part of the public electrical grid, but it can also operate as a supporting reserve system, or as an independent off-grid, on demand. It includes a variety of smart technologies that will respond to changing electrical demand, enabled by automation solutions adapted to the microgrid. This is a unique implementation in the world on such a large scale. Also, an important part of the project is to secure energy availability as renewable energy production varies.
Technology Readiness Level
A successful pilot was conducted in Hvaler, Norway, by EMPOWER. The technology is not yet mature for full- scale deployment.
Still, there are hundreds of different TRL-level microgrid examples in Europe.
Current focus of R&D and research gaps
 EMPOWER. Communications with Bernt Bremdal at Smart Innovation Norway, email@example.com.
 Flexens. [Link]
 LEMENE. [Link]