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energy storage and sector coupling solutions in Austria

STRIDE – Improved energy planning through the Integration of Smart Grid concepts in the Danube Region

energy storage and sector coupling solutions in Austria

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The Austrian demo site showcasing a range of energy storage and sector coupling solutions will be launched this summer in the municipality of Stegersbach. Serving as a large competence centre for renewable energy, the demo lab will make it possible for Stegerbach’s 2,700 inhabitants, as well as those living in surrounding municipalities, to experiment with different solutions, replicating those which best correspond to their specific needs.

Based on a study recently published by The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), renewable energies will cover 50% of the electricity demand in Southern and Eastern Europe in 2030. With an increased utilisation of renewable energies, energy storage will become the key in the next phase of the energy transition in all Danube countries. Even in the most advanced regions, the adoption of innovative energy storage and sector coupling applications has only just gained momentum. As these challenges particularly affect medium-sized and smaller cities, appropriate storage solutions are required to ensure efficient energy consumption and increased energy security.

To make this clear and to bring the topic closer to interested people, the Austrian demo location of the municipality of Stegersbach will showcase a range of energy storage and sector coupling solutions. Embedded into the solar.one building, a larger competence centre for renewable energy, the demo lab will make it possible for Stegerbach’s 2700 inhabitants, as well as those of the surrounding municipalities, to experiment with different solutions, replicating those, which best correspond to their specific needs.

For the different energy storage and sector coupling solutions to be tested, specific equipment is required, such as a Li-Ion battery, a saltwater battery, two thermal heat storages (heat/cold), a heat exchanger system (heating, cooling)/ building core activation, equipment for mobile storage (EVs), monitoring equipment and a load & flexibility management system.

With this equipment, electricity generated with photovoltaic panels will be stored (via Li-Ion and saltwater batteries) while heat will be captured in thermal heat storages. The electricity will be used for sector coupling for e-mobility (e.g., charging e-vehicles), whereas power2heat will be coupled, utilising the activated building core (heat exchanger system). The building will also be equipped with monitoring equipment (for temperature and presence monitoring), as well as a load and flexibility management software, to ensure all processes run smoothly and are coordinated.

In typical photovoltaic systems, surplus solar energy is fed into the grid for a relatively low price and during times of limited sunshine, all (electric) energy must be supplied from the grid. With the solutions tested in the demo site, a lot more of the energy generated can be used on site, considerably increasing the self-consumption ratio. In addition, the sector coupling solutions (e.g., heat pumps, EV charging) also allow for the utilisation of electric energy in other sectors, like heating and mobility, which further increases the proportion of self-consumed energy.

While the PV system is not part of the demo site but of the whole competence centre, it is still important to note that the entire building – which can host up to 200 people – has a generational capacity of 200KW. This means that it can be entirely energy positive and depend solely on renewable energy sources. Since this amount of energy is sufficient to cover its own needs, the building could also potentially supply neighbouring building with excess PV power.

All in all, the competence centre and the demo site have the potential to inspire other municipalities and businesses in the region, displaying how different solutions can be applied in a real-life context. In fact, the nature of the site illustrates that energy storage and sector coupling solutions can be picked out and mixed in accordance with one’s own needs. While serving as a regional space for innovation, dialogue and exchange related to renewable energy and technology, this initiative will also benefit the local community and business who will enjoy greater employment and educational opportunities.

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