The future energy system will to a higher level than today be based on fluctuating energy. Consequently, focus is on the development of smart energy solutions to ensure an optimal usage of energy.
Transition of the energy system to a more sustainable energy towards 2050 means an important expansion based on wind power and solar energy. These are types of energy that are fluctuating and therefore far more volatile than conventional energy sources, which is a challenge to the present energy system. The challenges consist partly in maintaining the actual supply security, partly in ensuring stability of energy supply.Consequently, there is a need for solutions across the energy systems that contribute to ensuring an efficient and stable usage of big amounts of fluctuating energy in the total energy system. The smart energy system is still incipient, so it is hard to say exactly what it will be like.
A smart energy system: a more integrated and flexible energy system
A central contribution to the solution is to establish a much wider interoperability and integration among various energy infrastructures such as electricity, heating and gas. Also, the transport sector and fields of supply such as waste and water/waste water will be included in more cohesive solutions.Various energy forms will in the future be used for a wider range of sectors - for example residual heat from the industry can be used in heat supply. In the same way, waste and waste water might become a resource of the energy system.By integrating to a higher degree the supply systems, energy can flow in various ways depending on market price indications. It creates flexibility when one energy source can be replaced by another one at more appropriate times (e.g. when there is no wind). By considering previous isolated energy forms in a new way, it will be possible to ensure an optimum economical and environmental solution, where production and consumption interact to a higher degree.
New role of the end users
A smart energy system will also call for a closer interaction between the energy system and the end users (energy consumers including companies) than we know it today to ensure optimum usage of energy in the entire supply sector. The end users will function like a kind of "flexibility mechanism" and thereby to a higher extent become active elements of the energy system. This happens e.g. when companies and consumers choose to use electricity, when the price is low. There will, however, be a need for more and new business models that support the flexible energy consumption. This gives possibilities for companies that can deliver demanded product packages and services. The digitisation and bigger amounts of data on the energy consumers' behaviour and patterns can contribute to supporting this option.
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Platform for Smart Energy
In 2015 the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate sets up, together with Branchefællesskabet for Intelligent Energi a Platform for Smart Energy. The platform brings together the most important players in the field and a wide representation across supply sectors, including technology suppliers, energy companies, knowledge-based institutions and trade associations.
The target of the platform was to point to solutions and barriers of the construction of a smart energy system. Furthermore, the Platform should identify possible needs for more important projects (so-called lighthouse projects) i.a. in preparation for export promotion.
The Platform has worked out a barrier and solution catalogue for smart energy that was handed over to the Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate.
Supplementary to the work performed by the Platform, the Ministry has provided a consultancy report with barriers and solutions as to smart energy. Both catalogues will be included in the Ministry's further work on smart energy.
Pool for Smart Energy
The pool for Smart Energy was established in connection with the implementation of the Energy Reserve in 2015, and DKK 9 million have been allocated for the period 2016-2018. The goal is to improve the exploitation of the increasing amounts of fluctuating, renewable energy. The pool will primarily support business-ready solutions across supply sectors. At first, focus will be on maturation and scoping of lighthouse projects. Exact criteria for allotment of the means will be established.