Back to the Future Grid News of the Month


The future of the grid entails so many aspects that it is already hard to keep an eye on all the mayor trends, let alone all the news headlines surrounding them. That's why we keep track of them for you and select five monthly must-reads.

By: Leoncio Montemayor & Thomas Boersma


2019, the year of the second-life EV battery

By: Marian Willuhn
On: PV-Magazine
Date: October 26, 2018

Engie has launched a new grid-connected storage project in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The installation will use second-life EV batteries to provide grid balancing services to TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. With 150kW/90kWh of capacity in the first phase of the project, the size of the system is not what makes this project remarkable. It’s the potential of this set-up that warrants the attention.

“This is just the start of a sequence of much bigger system roll-outs – 2019 is looking extremely promising indeed.” - Connected Energy’s CEO Matthew Lumsden

With the rising value streams of energy storage and the electrification of the automotive industry, second-life battery applications hold tremendous potential. As the calculation in the article shows: a 100 MW plant of 7,000 Nissan Leaf batteries could generate annual revenue of $6.7 million, which translates to $965 per battery per year. For the expected remaining life cycle of five years, each battery would yield $4,825, wrote the authors.

Read the full article on: PV-Magazine

Buzzwords linked up in Belgium: Floating solar + trackers + bi-facial + Active Cooling

By: Emiliano Bellini
On: PV-Magazine
Date: October 22, 2018

Floating Solar has seen rapid development in Asia in the last decade. Although European examples have been floating around for several years, they’ve traditionally been fairly modest in terms of size. However, in September, a 17MW floating solar plant was announced for France, which will be realized by Ciel & Terre, Akuo Energy and Trina Solar.

More recently, the Belgian government vowed €2 million in financial support for a floating solar plant by Floating PV NV. The plan is to realize a floating solar array on five hectares of a lake created by sand extraction, owned by raw material provider Sibelco. The system will make use of the latest technologies, including solar tracking, bifacial modules and active cooling.

The investment is part of a €6 million program to support floating PV. One of the prerequisites for the projects is for them to not interfere with the other purposes of the waters. “We are going to place solar modules where there is just water, not on natural reserves or water surfaces that offer recreational opportunities,” said Bart Tommelein, the Energy Minister of the Belgian region of Flanders.

Read the full article on: PV-Magazine

Proof-of-energy? Blockchain makes it possible in Singapore

By: Ana Berman
On: Cointelegraph
Date: October 29, 2018

Energy blockchain projects in Asia are starting to take off (check out our top 10 projects). This week, SP Group, Singapore’s biggest utility, announced the launch of a renewable energy credit (REC) marketplace. This marketplace will utilize blockchain technology in order to track the origin of the energy sources and attribute the credits through smart contracts. This marketplace will make it easier for businesses to comply with their environmental targets. Vendors will be able to sell their credits to a vast pool of buyers, such as global real estate developer CDL and multinational banking corporation DBS Bank. Blockchain, as a disintermediation tool, will reduce many of the third-party fees that traditional REC marketplaces have. This is an interesting development materializing at the onset of Singapore’s official deregulation on November 1st.

Read the full article on: Cointelegraph

The real future grid

By: Jason Deign
On: Greentech Media
Date: October 30, 2018

Cost-effective integration of renewables in the grid is one of the main challenges related to the energy transition. System operators make significant investments in R&D of various solutions, such as smart charging of electric vehicles, battery energy storage, and local energy systems, all in order to prevent costly reinforcements to the grid.

Faraday Grid, however, claims to have found a solution that can be implemented within the grid, that will allow the grid to handle up to 60 percent renewables without becoming unstable. These Faraday Exchangers have been tested in simulations and will now enter the first test phase. UKPN announced to start testing the new transformer concept. Initial tests will be off-network and primarily focused on the safe and reliable operation of the Faraday Exchanger. If the Faraday Exchanger proves to deliver on its promise, this could be one of the unforeseen breakthroughs of 2019, so this is definitely something that’s worth keeping an eye on.

Read the full article on: Greentech Media

Microgrids to the rescue

By: Andrew Burger
On: Microgrid Knowledge
Date: October 12, 2018

Duke Energy is proposing a microgrid in the town of Hot Springs, North Carolina as part of their Western Carolinas Modernization Project. This modernization project actually involves the closing of a 50-year-old coal-fired power plant and with this, the integration of renewable resources like this microgrid which will involve solar panels and more than $500 million in investments in energy storage over its 15-year lifecycle. This microgrid will be connected to the main grid, so it will also be able to provide ancillary services to the grid, improving the business case of the microgrid.

This piece of news represents a change in thinking of traditional utilities on how they can provide energy to their customers. Duke Energy mentioned that repairing the feeder line in the Great Smoky Mountains would require expensive equipment upgrades. This, in combination with a lack of right-of-way options, has led Duke Energy to consider the microgrid as a cheaper, cleaner and better solution.

Grid-connected microgrids are a solution that we’ve seen in the US for a longer time, but predominantly for resiliency purposes. However, by now the costs of emerging technologies are at a point where they are a cost-effective option for transmission and distribution planners that are considering making upgrades to the system. That means these microgrids are something that could very well pop-up in Europe as well.

Read the full article on: Microgrid Knowledge