mySMARTLife sets Examples for Innovative Energy Usage

One of the objectives of the EU funded mySMARTLife project is to reduce the CO2 emissions of cities and to make the demonstration cities more environmentally friendly. In the following article, we want to shine a light on how smart control and batteries provide flexibility for electrical grids in the Lighthouse City Helsinki.

But before we delve into the issues raised and solutions offered in Helsinki, let’s take a quick look at the other two Lighthouse Cities Hamburg and Nantes.

In Hamburg, one of the outstanding energy projects is the smart heating islands. It includes a combined heat and power production (CHP) unit that serves heating power for a cultural centre, a hotel and 50 housing units. In addition, there will be photovoltaic production on the roof of the hotel that is going to be used in the hotel and the cultural centre.

Nantes also pursues plans to develop several photovoltaic plants. One project consists in the installment of a photovoltaic plant on the roof of a car park to enable self-consumption for the electrical needs of its common areas and soft mobility. It will be combined with innovative batteries storage and smart power management systems for a continuous renewable energy supply, less electric load and an optimised energy usage.

Over to Helsinki, where battery energy storage systems are a convenient solution for short-term energy storage. They help consumption and generation meet in an environment, where ever more variable renewable generation enters the electrical system.

Owing to the technical capability of battery energy storage systems, they can react swiftly enough to supply an accelerating elevator while shifting surplus solar energy to be consumed at night. This kind of flexible operation is beneficial as the storage technologies are still relatively costly. By operating the storage smartly, its capacity can be efficiently exploited.

One aim in mySMARTLife is to find strategies to improve the utilisation of battery energy storage systems. In Helsinki, two different storages are considered: one located in the office building Viikki Environmental House and another, a utility scale storage located in Suvilahti. 

Viikki’s lithium ion battery utilises LG’s chemistry, which provides 45 kWh energy capacity with 90 kW peak power for the building’s optimisation purposes. The optimised operation can reduce the electricity cost of the building by optimally matching local electricity demand with local photovoltaic generation. The battery energy storage system has also a capability to supply energy to building’s elevators and electric vehicle charging stations in real-time. In addition to the local exploitation, the battery can benefit the entire power system by participating in its frequency management. In mySMARTlife, it is of interest to analyse the battery’s operation and improve its control algorithms to enable even more optimal operation. 

Suvilahti accommodates a district level electrical battery storage with an energy capacity of 0.6 MWh and a rated power of 1.2 MW. Its capacity has been provided for frequency-controlled reserves so the battery reacts in seconds to power imbalances that occur in the Nordic power system. At the same time, the storage maintains local voltage level by providing reactive power compensation.

The work in mySMARTlife explores ways to use the Suvilahti storage with public electric vehicle charging in Helsinki. The number of electric vehicles is rapidly growing together with controllable charging load. The load is nonetheless expected to remain rather low during the next few years. This is where Suvilahti storage can supplement the flexibility from electric vehicles. With smart control of the battery, it can increase the amount and improve the predictability of the charging load flexibly and thus its value in reserve markets.

In sum, mySMARTLife cities are implementing technical innovations regarding energy usage as well as helping their residents reduce energy consumption. Stay in touch with mySMARTLife and have a regular look at our news section here or subscribe to our newsletter