Why develop an industrial microgrid for SMEs?

Three SMEs, situated in an industrial park near Mery (Belgium), next to a river, operate two major power resources. This infrastructure is the basis of the Merygrid project, in which CE+T Power is participating together with researchers from the University of Liège, local industry and Nethys (local DSO). The goal is to create a micro-grid to interconnect the loads, production resources and energy storage of these three SMEs.

Satellite image of the Merygrid project.

The Business Case

Three SMEs located in an industrial park, next to a river, exploit two renewable energy resources:

  1. Hydropower : two river turbines capable of producing up to 200 kVA;
  2. Photovoltaics : PV panels with a peak power of 60 kWp.

These SMEs’ machines – such as industrial ovens and sawmills – sometimes require peak power, which greatly affects their energy bill. Moreover, SMEs have problems with power quality by creating power disturbances on the grid, as power distributors impose financial penalties for such disturbances.

What is a microgrid?

According to Mr. Damien Ernst, Professor and Researcher at the University of Liège, “A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (i.e. generation or storage) within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single, controllable entity with respect to the main grid.”

The objective is then to interconnect the loads of three SMEs, power resources (hydroelectricity and photovoltaïcs) and a storage system through a local power grid.

Industrial microgrids: a solution for the future?

It’s important to be clear; an industrial microgrid is not intended to disconnect companies from the grid.

But thanks to the CE+T Power solutions, which incorporate AC/AC, AC/DC and DC/AC converters in a single module with full bidirectionality on each converter, we can easily create a microgrid that allows new features. By integrating our modules into a complete system (with an EMS to control energy flow, batteries, power resources, loads and the microgrid), it is possible to decide when to consume energy from the grid and when from the power resources, when to store it in batteries and when to discharge the battery to power the loads or to return energy to the grid. On the one hand, these functions allow companies to :

  1. Increase Power Quality (using active filtering functions),
  2. Increase power backup if a grid failure or outage occurs,
  3. Reduce the energy cost (consuming when it’s cheaper),
  4. Eliminate peak consumption demands and their load on the grid,
  5. Sell the extra energy produced by green power resources (by agreement),
  6. Increase equipment lifetime.

On the other hand, it allows power producers, distributors (DSO) and transporters (TSO) to:

  1. Reduce the power required during peak hours (and thus reduce the need for energy transmission),
  2. Obtain new power resources to supply consumers (even if there is no sun or wind, thanks to energy storage),
  3. Reduce the size of the necessary power infrastructure.

Interested in microgrids?
Send an email to Jean-Pierre Chisogne, Managing Director at CE+T Energrid.

And follow CE+T Energrid on Linkedin: Linkedin